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Clint’s speech: bad and ugly for Mitt

The music couldn’t have been more fitting when Clint Eastwood walked on the Republican National Convention stage to a rendition of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’s theme.

Eastwood’s speech, though, was more bad than ugly and far more ugly than good.

In 12 rambling minutes, Eastwood both wowed and puzzled. His more lucid and plain-spoken points were lost amid a meandering and muttering monologue involving suggestive crudities and an imaginary President Barack Obama in an empty chair.

But the bizarre performance art Thursday at a national convention reflected less poorly on Eastwood (aging actors are supposed to be eccentric), than on Republican Mitt Romney’s campaign.

Indeed, if Romney wins the presidency this fall, it could be in spite of his campaign, not because of it.

Consider: on the most-important night of Romney’s political life, his campaign allowed an aging actor to participate in a highly scripted primetime event with no script. Actors love scripts. If they don’t have them, they can wind up talking to chairs.

And when Eastwood said he wanted to bring a chair onstage, why did no one simply say “no” or “why” or “have you had your Thorazine this morning?”

But Eastwood went up there, unplugged and unchecked with a piece of furniture.

The mockery followed within moments when someone launched a fake Twitter handle, “Invisible Obama,” which attracted nearly 67,000 followers in less than four days.

The president got in on the act, Tweeting a photo of him sitting with his advisors in a leather chair with “The President” embossed in bronze plate. “This seat’s taken,” the picture said.

A new internet meme was also born: “Eastwooding,” in which people photograph themselves next to an empty chair. And, four days on, pundits were still talking about Eastwood’s speech as a mistake.

This won’t kill Romney’s campaign. He gave a solid speech Thursday when he was nominated. He remains essentially tied neck-and-neck with Obama in crucial swing states like Florida.

But speeches matter and have an effect. That’s why the campaign scheduled Eastwood in primetime, at 10 p.m. After the threat of Hurricane Isaac dampened the mood and delayed the convention, Eastwood’s hot air was not much help.

Eastwood’s speech was so odd that, when Florida Sen. Marco Rubio followed him, he seemed to joke about what Eastwood was drinking when he took a sip from a water bottle at the podium.

“I think I just drank Clint Eastwood’s water,” Rubio smiled.

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Comments

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Wicked Tuna

That was the genius of Romney's media advisor, Stuart Stevens, on display with the Eastwood piece. It looked more like a public service announcement about how to recognize Alzheimer's in senior citizens.

whasup

"plain-spoken points were lost"

Non-sense, Marc. You know what Eastwood's plain spoken points were. You just don't like them and don't want to repeat them ... because they were so powerful.

BTW, the tactical value of this Clint's bit of biting humor, aside from providing some comic relief from the political speechifying, was to trick all the Obamabots into tweeting and writing about Eastwood, rather than Romney.

And like the lemmings they are, they rushed right off that cliff.

west coast guy

Right. The Republican convention is just over after nominating Romney, and the whole country is talking about Eastwood. Just what the Republicans want? I don't think so.

'witz

There are plenty of reasons to vote against Romney, but nobody will do that solely or even partially because of Eastwood's speech, which will be mostly forgotten by November.

whasup

Well, the whole country isn't talking about Eastwood. Mainly a bunch of twitters and bloggers and political insiders and media bobble-heads are. It's stupid to confuse that with the "whole country"--which does not dwell in the political-media-internet soap bubbles.

But to the extent ordinary voters are paying attention to Eastwood, it's probably because they need some comic relief from Obama's sorry economy and jobs desert. And the underlying theme it reminds voters of are things like firing the politicians who work for us when they're doing a sorry job.

community organizer

Republican party should be called only old white people allowed.

Thomas Weaver

For an 82 year old, he had it right: When the guy doesn't do his job, you gotta cut him loose.

Rubio had it right too: Possibly a good father, likeable fellow, bad president.

This cracker says: 23 million out of work, 16 trillion in debt, no budget in 3 years, passed a health care bill which according to Nancy Pelosi needed to be passed before we find out what is in it - would lead most Americans with any kind of mind to try someone else and let's see what he does. Surely can't do any worse than this one.

Joshu Jones

"Indeed, if Romney wins the presidency this fall, it could be in spite of his campaign, not because of it."

Romney's a draft-dodging, tax cheating, job destroying liar. He's the most un-American un-Presidential candidate we've had in my lifetime. If he wins in November it will be because of Citizens United-spawned propaganda and voter suppression, plain and simple.

joe arrigo

I like Eastwood, and his movies. His performance at the convention didn't do live up to his stature. Romney's performance over the past few months has been disastrous, his stature in shambles because of his ease with telling lies. How can anyone trust this man? How could you believe anything he would tell us as president?

Don Chula

Clint was the best. the Herald cant wait to become state controlled. To celebrate empty chair day, AMC has a Clint marathon.

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