Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Reason #128: Government Motors

You know shit is off the rails when Newt Gingrich and I are on the same side of an issue.

He, along with a fair chunk of other prominent GOPers, including the chairman of Michigan's Republican party, have come out in favor of the Clint Eastwood "Halftime in America" Super Bowl ad, despite others claiming it amounted to Detroit paying the Obama administration back for its bailout of the auto industry.

Both supporters and opponents are calling the ad a Rorshach Test of one's own political leanings, which would explain the fact that Clint Eastwood himself is a well-known conservative and actually served as a Republican mayor back in the 80's. But even if it were a dyed-in-the-wool pro-Obama spot, doesn't he kind of deserve it?

I mean, the ad is absolutely propaganda, and sappy propaganda at that--no matter which way it nudges people. But Obama made a hard call with the auto bailout, especially for someone who'd just taken office, and as much as Tea Partiers derided him for it at the time, and as much as liberals like me felt uneasy about it at the time...the stupid thing worked.

The car companies paid us back - with interest, even. You can debate the philosophical issue of the federal government essentially buying a private car company with taxpayer money, and even I can't say exactly where I'd fall in that debate, but you can't debate the strategy's success. And if said car companies want to spend millions of dollars gloating about their rebirth during the Super Bowl, isn't that what capitalism is for?

Republicans trying to criticise Obama keep bumping into this fascinating problem wherein they have to root against America - or at least minimize its recent successes. And maybe you have to make the case that we're still screwed in order to present a compelling case for change, but if it means constantly sneering at what few things we still have to be proud it worth it?

(Side Note: for the next four weeks, I am conducting a survey of visitors to this blog. Whether you're a regular reader or this is your first time, I'd love to hear from you - just follow this link. This notice will accompany every post this month, with Saturday, March 3rd being the final day to participate. Thanks for reading!)

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