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Whether Intentional Or Not Chrysler Endorses Obama

There is a bar scene in the film “Inglorious Bastards” where German soldiers play a celebrity guessing game of “Who Am I?” that references the overt racism of the King Kong film.  After discovering that the celebrity at stake traveled by boat from an exotic land to America one of the participants ventures ask, Am I the story of the Negro in America?  The response was no.  So the German soldier quickly follows up with the answer, Then, I am King Kong.

Producer, director, actor, and writer Quentin Tarantino said that this scene from the movie was a dissertation on the meaning underneath “King Kong.”  Mr. Tarantino said that it was very obvious that King Kong was a metaphor for the slave trade.  He went on to explain that he did not believe that the makers of the movie intended for it to be that way.  But the outcome is the same nevertheless, that’s the movie that they made whether they meant to make it or not.  King Kong is a metaphor for America’s fear of the black male.  Mr. Tarantino went on to say that when he saw Peter Jackson’s version of King Kong all the racial metaphors were in there and the racial subtext was there.  And Mr. Tarantino got a big kick of making it a German Gestapo Major to present that fact in the story.

Towards the end of the Super Bowl halftime break, actor, director, producer and writer Clint Eastwood starred in one of the biggest commercial hits of television, Chrysler’s two minute spot titled “It’s Halftime in America”.  The commercial, created by advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy, is a big hit because it garnered Chrysler a lot of free press with people trying to determine the exact meaning of the message intended.  The commercial has raised questions from cultural, demographic, and political perspectives.  A lot of people were wondering if the advertisement was a pitch for an automobile manufacturer or a political endorsement smack dab in the middle of a presidential election year.

Chrysler is the third largest domestic automaker and was faced liquidation a scant three years ago before it was bailed out with a multibillion dollar cash infusion from the Obama administration.  The company underwent a restructuring bankruptcy that left it Italy’s Fiat the majority owner.  Today, Chrysler reported its first full year of profit in seven years.  And for 2012 it is forecasting an operating profit that will be fifty percent higher than last year.  In all performance business performance measures, Chrysler is doing tremendously well.  At a time when a lot of people were ready to write Chrysler off, some people had enough faith to help the company get back on its feet.  Chrysler’s resurrection serves as a perfect analogy for America’s resurrection.

The commercial was filled with images of factory workers, middle class families, and aged manufacturing plants flashed across the screen, Mr. Eastwood narrated saying that America can’t be knocked out with one punch.  When America is down we get right back up again.  And when we do, the world needs to watch out.  It’s halftime America and our second half is about to begin and we will be even better than before.  Chrysler is back.  America is on the way back as well.

It is no secret that President Barack Obama used federal money to help Chrysler get its financial footing while conservatives did a lot of complaining about government interfering where it didn’t belong.  If Chrysler was going to go under then as a matter of principle the government should stay out of the affairs of business.  Otherwise, government is playing favorites and picking and choosing who will be successful and who will fail.  The fact that potentially millions of American manufacturing jobs within the automobile industry and the ancillary industries were on the line means nothing.  A principle is a principle and if we interfere we all lose.

Contrary to the protest, Mr. Obama went through with the government assistance for Chrysler as well as General Motors.  Both companies are stronger now than they’ve been in years.  Just yesterday, General Motors announced is most profitable year ever, less than three years after it received its loan and restructuring.  It’s back as well thanks to the Obama administration.  Whether or not Chrysler or General Motors would exist today without the intervention we will never know, thankfully.  The two got the help they needed and they are here.  Enough said.

After everything that’s been said and done, after the assistance to the automobile manufacturers became such a political football, Chrysler’s talk about how it was able to comeback sounds and looks a lot like an endorsement of the Obama administration whether it was intended or not.

Whether its creators intended to or not, Chrysler’s Super Bowl commercial looks like an endorsement of the people who can, arguably, be called saviors of the company.  If the government hadn’t stepped in, there’s little doubt that some deep pocketed investor was ready to swoop in and buy up the pieces as soon as the company collapsed.  There’s little doubt that they had plans to buy up valuable assets for pennies on the dollar to turn quick profits at other people’s expense.  The government stepping in dashed those plans and a lot of people probably weren’t happy about that.

But a lot of people are happy about Chrysler’s and General Motors’ demise being put off to another day.  And if people think that they are trying to give Mr. Obama credit for that, it simply can’t be helped.  It’s an unfortunate circumstance but it cannot be helped.  Kind of like the way King Kong can’t help but be a metaphor for racism in America.

Thursday, February 16, 2012 - Posted by | Life, Thoughts

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