The Washington Post

Why do Rove and conservatives root against the United States?

As is his way, Clint Eastwood grabbed the nation by the lapels. This time through a powerful commercial for Chrysler aired during the Super Bowl. He delivered a message that should have every red-blooded American cheering as if they had seats on the 50-yard line.

“How do we come from behind? How do we come together and win? Detroit is showing us it can be done,” rasped Eastwood.  “And what’s true about them is true about all of us. This country can’t be knocked down with one punch. We get right back up again. And when we do, the world is going to hear the roar of our engines. Yeah, it’s half-time, America. And our second half is about to begin.”

What’s not to like? An American icon touts the resurgence of an American icon and the nascent comeback of one of this nation’s iconic cities (not to mention what it means about the country itself). After all this nation has been through, an optimistic, “Hell yeah, America!” message that reminds us of who we are and what we’re capable of is exactly what’s needed now. While it’s unfortunate today that even a car commercial can be politicized, the reaction of some Republicans is just ridiculous. None more ridiculous than Karl Rove.

Yesterday on Fox News, Rove called the Chrysler commercial “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-wishes of the management which is benefited by getting a bunch of our money that they’ll never pay back.” Charles Blow at the New York Times does an excellent job of shining sunlight on the entirety of Rove’s rant and rewrite of history.

But I have questions for Rove and those who would follow his lead. Why are you rooting against Detroit? Talking down the fighting spirit of that city, which has endured wave after wave of hardship, is wrong. And why are you rooting against this country? That seems a logical query for someone who politicized patriotism in the past decade.

Rove’s reaction took me back to Oct. 2, 2009 — the day Chicago lost its bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Specifically, I’m reminded of the reaction of Tea Party conservatives at a gathering of Americans for Prosperity upon hearing the news.  

The president of the United States went to Copenhagen to personally pitch his hometown and his nation for the Olympics. He failed. But for people who wear their patriotism on their sleeves to cheer that failure is un-American. At least, that’s what they’d say if a Democrat dared do the same thing.

Do I really believe conservatives hate Detroit, Chicago or their country? No. But rooting against all three is sure a funny way of showing love.

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.


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