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It's halftime in America, ya’ll. I mean it’s mid-afternoon in America. Wait, I better be careful so I don’t get accused of sinking into partisan squalor.

eastwood halftime

THIS JUST IN: The new health care bill is now seen as “an attack on religious freedom,” because it better guarantees women the choices over their individual bodies, so says House Speaker John Bonner (R-Mich).

I understand this because of experiences I had in high school. Growing up Jewish in the South at the height of the “Jesus Freak”* movement, I found myself fending off daily attacks on my religion from people who said they were concerned about my soul. I told them to leave me alone, respect my religion and respect my right to choose my OWN religion.

I complained to the principal and various teachers about the daily intimidation and provocations. That’s when they delivered the news: my attempt to stop the aggressive, daily proselytizing of the self-proclaimed “Jesus Freaks” was viewed as an attack on THEIR freedom of religion. Because THEIR religion necessarily involves going around trashing other peoples’ religions, to get them to join theirs.

My accusations of “cultural genocide” were not well received. By extension, the new health care bill that requires hospitals, I mean insurance companies, to provide a full spectrum of women’s health services is an attack on the religious freedom of those who demand the right to dictate to women what they may or may not do with their bodies.

That Clint Eastwood is such a political chameleon. All these years he’s been a good Republican, and now he shows up in the biggest Democratic campaign splash since Lyndon Johnson’s ad with that little girl and the daisies did in Barry Goldwater. Everybody knows that the American auto industry recovery is a purely Democratic cause. Republicans were willing to let the industry fail because it would have been a bad reflection on President Obama and killed off a ton of union jobs. They are willing to let more people lose their homes, cars and lifeline benefits, if it leads to Gingrich, Romney or Santorum in the White House.

Karl Rove’s articulated objections to the Chrysler ad, which is paraphrased as, “How dare anyone take the high road with a positive message unless is it also trashes Obama and promotes Republican ideals.”

Rove tried to argue that the Eastwood-Chrysler ad promotes Obama’s re-election because it promoted the bailout that Obama administered. (Oh wait, Bush Junior initiated that, but don’t bore me with details.)

Rove also argued that the loan “will never be paid back.” Wrong – it’s almost completely retired and on time! That was almost as funny as the part about “Obama using our tax dollars to buy corporate advertising.” This is no more a selfish or a partisan position than the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision, which has destroyed all vestiges of campaign finance reform and anti-graft legislation that are more than 100 years old.

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In 1984, Ronald Reagan shook the nation with a campaign ad that is considered to be one of the most important in history, declaring that it was “Morning in America.” He declared a new day was dawning because of his agenda of restoring racism, destroying environmental protections and the “social safety net.”

He also asked people if they were “better off than they were four years ago,” when most people were struggling as never before.

Why did it work? Because no one wanted to believe or admit that they were actually worse off than before. He appealed to one of those silly deadly sins and it worked: Pride. Ergo and to wit, that perceived improvement for people had to be a result of the Reagan Presidency, and they bought it.

Reagan got people to believe that everything was OK and it was all due to him. Karl Rove wants to bring that all back. But it never really left, because Republicans kept all those things alive during eight years of Bill Clinton’s presidency and now Obama’s.

The summary Republican view is that the nation’s economic recovery is NOT a good thing unless it occurs under a Republican administration. It would have been OK to let Chrysler fail, and then allow Ford and GM to suffer grave consequences, as a result of the global supply line also failing as a result.

Why? Because it theoretically would have led to a new Republican president, which is what THE PARTY needs, damn THE COUNTRY. Now that the economy is beginning to recover from eight years of Bush Junior’s deep destruction, any sign of hope pisses off Rove’s minions even more.

Can you get more partisan than calling out the economic recovery in a car ad, and expressing a sense of hope and optimism? Only if you’re talking about little girls, daisies, sunrise and ketchup.

scott prosterman

“Morning in America ” was “Ketchup Is a Vegetable.” That’s back, too, thanks to Republican acquiescence to the Big Food industries, which would have lost money on frozen pizzas, fries & other nutritional bombshells, had they been banished from school lunch programs. So it’s not about the health of children, but the health of the corporations that write the big checks. Now I get that Citizen’s United thing. They know who butters the other side of their bread and it isn’t Chrysler.

H. Scott Prosterman