Remember, this comes after that Clint Eastwood Super Bowl ad for the Chrysler comeback two years which similarly stirred conservative outrage.
But the response to yesterday's ad points directly to immigration reform and the broader challenge of taking the GOP out of at least perceived opposition to the various new and rising ethnic communities pressing for their full place in American life: mainly Hispanics (judged by electoral significance) but Asian-Americans, South Asian-Americans, Arab-Americans and everybody who's arrived here in the last half century.
Republicans have been able to bottle up immigration reform in the House for the last year despite strong public support, reasonably strong Republican support and the determined judgment of Republican political professionals that the party at least needs to get this issue off the table before it can get about building a strong constituency among these various groups for the decades to come.
The key though is that the people who control the House aren't necessarily vulnerable to those trends. Much attention has been given to the GOP's very successful 2010 gerrymandering. But that's actually only part of the story. Republicans were able to hold on to a fairly substantial House majority in 2012 while getting just over a million fewer votes than the Democrats. Part of that was redistricting. But at least as much was the increasing geographical organization of partisan affiliation. Put simply, Democrats are increasingly concentrated in urban and urban/suburban districts. That means Democrats frequently "waste" votes in the districts they win while losing many districts by relatively close margins. In other words, the country's demography and geography, not just redistricting, give Republicans a substantial advantage in controlling the House. Democratic voters aren't distributed in the most effective way.
So the House is the GOP's anchor. But anchor can mean different things: the sure thing that keeps them in the game, as it has since 2010, or the dead weight that pulls them more and more out of touch with the new currents shaping America.
This Super Bowl thing, as goofy as it sounds, is a good example of a real and deep problem.
I saw this quip last night on Twitter ...
Who's delivering the Republican response to the Super Bowl?
— Simon Owens (@simonowens) February 3, 2014
If you're running against the Super Bowl, you're losing.