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Chrysler’s Wisconsin Moment

4:19 PM, Feb 9, 2012 • By BEN SCHACHTER
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By now the Chrysler Super Bowl advertisement has become well known. And not surprisingly it’s gotten political. “Powerful spot,” said David Axelrod. “Extremely well-done,” said Karl Rove, adding:

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 best wished of the management which is benefited by getting a bunch of our money that they’ll never pay back.

Indeed, the political aspect runs deeper. As the Hollywood Reporter revealed, “two members of the creative team that produced the two-minute spot for ad agency Wieden+Kennedy donated their personal time in 2008 to make pro-Obama art.” 

Even so, one major component of the spot is being criticized by the far left.  The scene in question is a clip showing picketing in front of a statehouse. It is in fact taken from a video produced by Matt Wisniewski—a short documentary film that supports the Wisconsin protests against Republican Governor Scott Walker.

One might think that liberal bloggers would be thrilled to have one of the major protests of the year televised for the entire world to see. But they are not cheering it; they are criticizing it because certain details—union protest signs—were photo shopped out. The Nation and other blogs lament these edits.  They seem to think that without such slogans—such as, “Yes to children”—the message will be lost. 

Walker is being challenged by a recall election. The main instigators of this challenge are those who do not want to see the power of the unions diminished—even though policy has saved the state millions of dollars, enabling more teachers to be hired and a reduced deficit.

Despite the left’s complaints, the Chrysler spot romanticizes the protest. And the producers of “Halftime in America” did not stumble upon Wisniewski’s video by accident. By using this specific reference, Chrysler seems to be using the Wisconsin protest in hopes of reigniting action. While “Halftime in America” implicitly relates to November’s election, it explicitly supports Big Labor’s fight against state reforms that limit union power. 

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