Chrysler’s ad, “Halftime in America” starring Clint Eastwood, stood out among this year’s Super Bowl lineup.
Beautifully filmed and powerfully written, it stars one of Hollywood’s most-famous (and, truth be told, most-liberal) Republicans. And its big-tent, we’re-all-in-this-together tone can’t be missed.
Chrysler traded the attitude of last year’s Eminem ad for the political, something I’ve never seen from a car company before. Watching it, I couldn't help but think that the spot was swinging big at Mitt Romney, a native son of Michigan. His father, Gov. George Romney, who is buried in the town next to mine, was an auto industry executive at American Motors Corp. Was Chrysler’s ad inspired in part by Mitt’s opposition to the federal bailout of the auto industry, Michigan's backbone?
As Romney leads the pack to become the GOP’s presidential nominee in November, he struggles to overcome a series of gaffes, and connect with regular folks — like the ones in Chrysler’s ad. Romney now must battle the Chrysler ad’s populist message, which came through loud and clear: We prop each other up and bail each other out when times get tough; we’re Americans, and Americans don’t let Americans fail flat-out.
But fail is precisely what Romney said he would have let the auto industry do.
Time shows us that bailing out the carmakers was the right thing to do. As well as protecting an important industry, it showed respect and compassion for millions of U.S. auto workers who would have found themselves gasping for breath had the industry gone bankrupt, like Romney would have preferred.
"We all rallied around what was right and acted as one because that’s what we do," Clint Eastwood says in the ad. "We find a way through tough times and if we can’t find a way then we make one. All that matters now is what’s ahead.
“Detroit's showing that it can be done, and what's true about them is true about all of us. This country can't be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again, and when we do, the world's gonna hear the roar of our engines.”
While Chrysler’s ad gives voice to Detroit’s mettle, it also champions the thought that there are times when it takes a government to raise an industry.