You know the wheels have come off the GOP wagon when the Republicans feel compelled to accuse Clint Eastwood of being a shill for the president, but that is precisely what has transpired. Eastwood, who is nobody's Democrat by any stretch of the imagination, starred in a stirring Super Bowl commercial for Chrysler about the resurgence of Detroit's auto industry that was, in essence, a gravel-voiced pep talk for all of America. Speaking personally, the commercial made me want to run full-tilt through a stone wall...and then buy a Chrysler, which is quite a confession, as I pride myself on being utterly immune to advertising.
Reaction from the Republican Right was both swift and hilarious. Apparently, and according to the GOP, Dirty Harry is a dirty liberal hippy socialist communist who hates America and is in the pocket of our birthplace-questionable president...but the GOP found itself struggling to be coherent in its critique.
Take, as the prime example, the words of Karl Rove, who appeared on Fox News to denounce the ad. "I was frankly offended by it," said Rove. "I'm a huge fan of Clint Eastwood, I thought it was an extremely well-done ad, but it is a sign of what happens when you have Chicago-style politics, and the president of the United States and his political minions are, in essence, using our tax dollars to buy corporate advertising, and the, and the, and the best wishes of the management, which is benefitted by getting a bunch of our money that they'll never pay back."
Far be it from me to belabor a point, but these threads are worth plucking apart a bit.
"...when you have Chicago-style politics..." The Right has been deploying this particular slice of invective against Mr. Obama since the '08 campaign, to little effect. It might have had some impact, Mr. Rove, if your party hadn't spent the last three decades rampaging through the infrastructure of public education in all its forms; had you not done so, the people you're trying to convince might actually get the reference you're throwing out...but then again, by gutting public education in America, you might have spared yourself from grief, as under-educated voters won't say to you, "Um, the 'Mayor Daley' who cracked heads and enforced total obedience in Chicago has been gone for 40 years, you dimwit."
"... using our tax dollars to buy corporate advertising..." Heh. Sounds like the entire "Defense" industry to me...remember when NBC and MSNBC became full-on shills for the Iraq war? I do.
"...the best wishes of the management..." So, you're telling me the GOP isn't on the side of management all of a sudden? I'll be sure to alert the Chamber of Commerce that you're on the side of the 99% now. I'm sure they'll enjoy the news.
"...which is benefitted by getting a bunch of our money that they'll never pay back..." Oh for the luvva crumbcake, Karl, the president you whored for gave us the TARP bailout to the tune of $700 billion, and the airline bailout...and oh yeah, wasn't another cerebrally-impaired Bush offspring centrally implicated in the S&L bailout that exploded the 1990 recession, which helped lead to the un-re-electability of Bush Sr. way back when?
You crack me up, Karl. Some of us remember.
P.S., the Detroit bailout worked, which is what pisses you off...that, and the fact that you and your ilk can't admit it when you're wrong. Detroit lives, you hate it, and all your tantrum will accomplish is to paint Michigan a bright, vivid Blue in November of 2012. Congratulations, genius.
For the record, here is Clint Eastwood's take on the Super Bowl ad: "I am certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama. 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 OK. I am not supporting any politician at this time. Chrysler to their credit didn't even have cars in the ad. Anything they gave me for it went for charity. If any Obama or any other politician wants to run with the spirit of that ad, go for it."
I have said this so many times that I have lost count, and it has been proven correct yet again: the greatest strength enjoyed by the Republican Right is their complete, total, and utter lack of shame. They will say anything - literally anything - to gain the rhetorical advantage, even when it flies in the face of twelve dozen statements on the record or forty years of established party doctrine. If it's a blade that can be slipped beneath the fifth rib of a Democrat, according to the Atwater Code, deploy it with lethal intent, and never mind the shame.
Except it's not a strength this time, is it?
The word you're looking for is "Derp."
The Eastwood commercial flap was only the beginning. For sure and certain, the Culture War Right was given the sharp and searing red-ass by Planned Parenthood and its supporters recently, after the Komen Foundation decided to commit very public suicide by cutting funds for cancer screening performed by Planned Parenthood because...gasp...they perform abortions. I can only imagine how Planned Parenthood seemed like a duck on the pond to the anti-choice Right, as represented by Komen, and for the suddenly-former agitator-in-chief Karen Handel...after all, a whopping 3% of the services Planned Parenthood provides are actually abortion-related, while the other 97% of those services focus on things like basic gynecological health, said focus having saved untold thousands of women's lives, including three friends of mine - no bullshit, *saved their lives* by finding the precursors to cervical cancer and then dealing with it...because that's what Planned Parenthood does.
Moral: mess with Planned Parenthood at your extreme peril. I would lay down in front of a train for Planned Parenthood, and if push ever came to shove, I would be far, far from alone on the tracks.
Oh, and pssssst...memo to the folks engaged in opposition research for the other GOP presidential campaigns: Mitt Romney *hearts* Planned Parenthood. I hope to see this particular factoid deployed at the next debate.
No, really, it'll be funny.
Not to be outdone by "Chicago-style politics," cancer-screening controversies or the likes of Clint Eastwood, the Bonehead Right has chosen a particularly fertile hill upon which to plant its flag: birth control. Despite all polling to the contrary, the Culture War Right has seized upon the contraception aspects within President Obama's health care reform as a platform from which they can denounce the godless, sperm-blocking masses.
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops - a bastion of morality and there-are-no-child-rapists-here-as-far-as-you-know propriety - agrees with the idea that contraception is a bad thing. To wit:
Catholic bishops and their GOP allies have been in an uproar ever since the Obama administration announced new rules that require employers, including most religiously-affiliated institutions, to cover contraception in their health plans with no cost-sharing. Republican candidates have accused Obama of waging a "war against religious freedom." Rick Santorum went so far as to say Obama has put America on "the path" of beheading devout citizens.
The less shrill voices have implored Obama to "compromise" by broadening the religious exemption to let religiously-affiliated hospitals refuse women contraception. But the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has made it clear they're not interested in compromise. According to a report in USA Today, they aren't just demanding a broader religious exemption from the new contraception coverage rule - they want contraception coverage removed from the Affordable Care Act altogether.
In short, Catholic bishops are saying that federal laws shouldn't apply to anyone who claims to have a religious objection to them. Houses of worship and other religious nonprofits are already completely exempt from the rule. It is only when religious institutions choose to go into business as hospitals and serve the general public that they are bound by the same laws as everyone else. Yet the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has promised a legal challenge.
President Barack Obama's decision to require most employers to cover birth control and insurers to offer it at no cost has created a firestorm of controversy. But the central mandate-that most employers have to cover preventative care for women-has been law for over a decade. This point has been completely lost in the current controversy, as Republican presidential candidates and social conservatives claim that Obama has launched a war on religious liberty and the Catholic Church.
In December 2000, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that companies that provided prescription drugs to their employees but didn't provide birth control were in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prevents discrimination on the basis of sex. That opinion, which the George W. Bush administration did nothing to alter or withdraw when it took office the next month, is still in effect today - and because it relies on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, it applies to all employers with 15 or more employees. Employers that don't offer prescription coverage or don't offer insurance at all are exempt, because they treat men and women equally-but under the EEOC's interpretation of the law, you can't offer other preventative care coverage without offering birth control coverage, too.
In other words: Shut the F-k up.
This is, to be sure, a thick and knotted forest of gibberish and nonsense we must hack through in order to find our way to daylight. The daylight is there, however, without a shred of doubt. The Right would love, love, love to careen our national discussion away from a conversation on the economy they have plundered and the jobs they have destroyed, and steer it instead toward a discussion of snowflake babies, unrequited semen, and the importance of being earnest. The events of the last week have given them a wide window to do so, save for the fact that the American people have no interest in their opinions regarding the matters at hand.
Jobs? Fail. Choice? Fail. Contraception? Fail.
For the first time in living memory, the Culture War battlefield is tilting hard against the Right. This we call "evolution."
I suppose it was inevitable. In "Unforgiven," it was Clint Eastwood who said, "We all got it coming, kid."