If it’s halftime in America, we’d all better brace ourselves for plenty of flushing and farting.
As a veteran of more than 200 Pittsburgh Steeler home games, that’s what halftime means to me. It doesn’t mean hoped for comebacks. The Steelers are usually favored and protecting a lead.
This may come as a surprise to women, but the men’s rooms in Heinz Field where the Steelers play don’t have individual porcelain urinals, but have instead those stainless steel troughs that stretch for about 50 feet of knee-high wall space. That means those standing at the low end of the slope can expect a communal splashing that ought to have them racing to the nearest laundromat the second the final whistle blows.
The lack of privacy is unsettling to some dainty men. I try and help by telling them the custom at Heinz Field is to put your arms around the strangers to your right and left and offer friendly encouragement.
Anyone who dabbles in public musings knows it’s unwise to say anything nice about President Obama or hint just maybe he made a gutsy call on things like killing bin Laden.
You can count on the conservative backlash to be fierce.
That’s what one of our greatest Americans is finding out.
I’m talking about Clint Eastwood.
Even though he’s never fought for our country, solved a national crisis or found a cure for something itchy, I do consider him one of our greatest Americans.
He’s for more than 50 years made great movies that entertain and help define America. He’s perfectly cool.
Unlike me, he’s never voted for a Democrat presidential candidate and looks at every issue from a conservative point of view.
I have many friends like that. We’d never let politics get in the way of our friendship.
They think about politics, but they aren’t political. There’s a big difference. They are tolerant of my liberal opinions and are open-minded in a political discussion.
And we all love Clint.
They saw the same now-controversial ad featuring Eastwood -- and if his voice gets any more gravelly it ought to be quarried -- saying of Detroit, “They almost lost everything. But we all pulled together. Now Motor City is fighting again.”
None of them reported thinking, “Son of a bitch! The outlaw Josie Wales is shilling for that Muslim tourist in the White House. That’s it. My next pickup is gonna be built in Japan!”
No, they thought, “Cool! Clint’s talking about American auto workers, guys who are as red neck and blue collar as me. Man, I’m glad we’re still making cars in Detroit. USA! USA!”
They saw no political intent. They discerned no pro-Obama messages.
They are not Karl Rove.
“I was, frankly, offended by it,” he told Fox News. Yes, to a conservative an American icon saying something obvious and positive about an American success that happened because of Obama is offensive.
Picking a fight with Clint Eastwood is the clearest sign the national GOP is completely unhinged. They are mired in a dismal primary season being contested by candidates who each have something disqualifying about their record or personality. And that’s disqualifying just to fellow conservatives. With the economy strengthening and adding jobs and foreign policy off the table, they fear they are facing an historic electoral debacle.
Those fears are justified.
Attacking Clint Eastwood might work on Fox News, but it won’t work in an America where anyone with any sense is happy they’re making money and better vehicles in Motor City.
Most Americans are smart enough to recognize when a good thing is a good thing.
Eastwood, who is on record as being opposed to bailouts, has already come out and said the ad is not meant to boost Obama and is intended “to be a message about job growth and the spirit of America,” something he thinks all politicians should embrace.
It’s halftime in America. What are you going to do?
For me, I’ll continue to try and avoid the partisan squabbles that so agitate the petty minds of people like Karl Rove.
Instead, I’ll put my arms around those to the left and the right of me and I will encourage them.