Butler County Times Gazette
  • Kent Bush: Facts overpower intent of Chrysler ad

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  • When it comes to leaders of the free world, history only hits the highlights.
    Feel over function is the method of judging U.S. Presidents as time passes.
    Jimmy Carter has no chance in history because he served over an economy that saw Americans waiting in line to buy overpriced gasoline and interest rates that were so high, today’s credit card companies would be embarrassed.
    Bill Clinton actually enjoys that method. He oversaw a huge technology bubble that saw thousands of overnight millionaires thanks to the Silicon Valley. Because of a soaring economy, people are willing to wink at his personal scandals.
    George W. Bush got to grab a mop and clean up when that bubble burst. George W. also lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. when the nation suffered its worst attack since Pearl Harbor. He has only been out of office a few years and pundits are already trying to reshape his legacy to the Sheriff of the World without taking any of the blame for paving the road to the recent recession we have all enjoyed.
    Ronald Reagan benefits from that as much as anyone. If you don’t think Reagan is the greatest President – or perhaps greatest American – of all time, listen to Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity for five minutes and if they reference Reagan less than three times it means they were busy promoting one of their own books – which will also mention Reagan more than teenie bopper websites mention Justin Bieber.
    Everyone remembers Reagan tearing down the wall between East and West Germany and destroying communism.
    No one seems to remember more than a dozen Reaganites being arrested for defrauding the United States, lying to Congress or otherwise participating in or covering up the Iran-Contra Affair. Few remember the EPA scandal using Superfund grants to support GOP candidates and the HUD grant rigging scandal that resulted in another 16 arrests.
    No. Reagan is America’s favorite grandfather who communicated like no other.
    That’s why you could see the vein on Karl Rove’s forehead throbbing after Chrysler's "Halftime in America" commercial aired last Sunday.
    Rove was the mastermind behind Reagan’s “Morning in America” commercial made famous in Reagan’s re-election bid in 1984.
    It was wildly successful and Sunday’s car commercial hit some of the same notes.
    One line from “Morning in America” was “It's morning again in America. Today more men and women will go to work than ever before in our country's history.” A similar line found it’s way into “Halftime in America.”
    Clint Eastwood said, “It’s halftime in America, too. People are out of work and they’re hurting. They’re wondering what they are going to do to make a comeback.”
    Page 2 of 3 - The commercial went on to talk about Detroit and how the people there have seen hard times and are now climbing back because America won’t get knocked out with one punch. It was a very well written and filmed automobile advertisement that was designed to make people feel good about the U.S. auto manufacturers and America itself.
    Rove said he was offended by the ad and blamed President Barack Obama’s evil minions for “using our tax dollars to buy corporate advertising.
    Chrysler received almost $13 billion in bailout money from the federal government. Almost 90 percent of that will be paid back. The rest of the money may not be collected – or at least not anytime soon.
    But Chrysler is profitable now. They needed help unlike Ford Motors who used great products and incredible management to make it on their own.
    However, Chrylser is still there and employment in the automotive field is at its highest point in years and climbing.
    The reason the GOP mastermind is upset with the ad is not because it intentionally called for the re-election of Obama later this year. Rove is mad because the ad points at the success of the bailout and the idea of halftime in America which, while it was directed at football teams and automobile manufacturers, could see some overdrift into the Obama campaign in 2012.
    Detroit’s resurgence is an example of Obama’s policy working. To deny it is to tell a quarter of a million auto workers, “We aren’t willing to issue a loan to save your jobs.”
    That’s not a great message to auto workers or anyone who has a job.
    Eastwood himself said the message was about the cars and where they are made.
    “I am certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama,” said the conservative Republican. “It was meant to be a message about just about job growth and the spirit of America. I think all politicians will agree with it. I thought the spirit was okay.”
    Limbaugh has said for more than three years that he wants to see Obama fail. He doesn’t think the President’s policies are good for America.
    Unfortunately for the talking points, people in Detroit see some positives in at least one of those policies and they’re pretty happy this one didn’t fail.
    As Rick Santorum swept would-be, should-be, might-not-be front-runner Mitt Romney in three more primaries this week, it seems the Republican message is not getting through - unless that message includes a moon base in the next eight years.
    Chrylser pointed to their own resurgence that just so happened to be funded and supported by the Obama administration.
    The commercial was two minutes of inspiration that kindled American pride.
    Page 3 of 3 - No Republican wants to give Obama credit for anything positive.
    But reality does.
    Kent Bush is the Augusta Gazette Publisher, a columnist and blogger for the GateHouse Media Network.  He can be contacted at publisher@augustagazette.com.
    Kent Bush is the Augusta Gazette Publisher, a columnist and blogger for the GateHouse Media Network.  He can be contacted at publisher@augustagazette.com.
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