The chair was the best part of the day
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 31, 2012
Clint Eastwood is one of those guys that I have a love/hate thing with. I love his work, I love what he does. Sometimes I even love what he says. But his political beliefs? No. And even then, there are his stated political beliefs, which sometimes coincide with my small-L-libertarian beliefs, as in – just leave people the hell alone. Then, there are those moments when people say ‘he’s a republican!’ because yes, he is to the right, but that doesn’t mean he believes what you believe. I have to think that’s what happened last night. There’s so much of the RNC platform that Eastwood has, previously, not supported. Even his speech, as incoherent as it was, didn’t fit with RNC platforms. I’m beginning to wonder if anyone really thought this all the way through.
What I’m left with is a terrible feeling of sadness.
I’d like to really mock him for what he said, for what he did. If it was some other guy, I wouldn’t even batt an eye at it. But it’s this guy. And what happened was just undignified. It shouldn’t have been allowed to happen. The guys plotting out this shambles sent him out there without preparation, just sent him out there to wing it, and maybe that could have been okay. Except for the fact that it wasn’t. I have a feeling that this bit was supposed to be the “Trump/Obama Impersonator” bit and, for whatever reason, it got pulled. Eastwood is no Trump.
Clint Eastwood deserved better.
Shorter Question Everything
One of the things I liked about ‘Gran Torino’ was that, by the end, the old guy changes. These old guys aren’t going to change, ever.
It also brought to mind Eastwood’s Gran Torino. It didn’t receive any Oscar love, but in 2008 Eastwood fielded a lot of praise for playing Archie Bunker with a muscle car and rifle. Critics and audiences couldn’t help but love a character that says to a black street gang “What are you spooks up to?” or tells a southeast Asian character “You’re wrong, eggroll, I know exactly what I’m talking about.” It was cinematic gold to hear jokes like “A Mexican, a Jew, and a colored guy go into a bar. The bartender looks up and says, ‘Get the fuck out of here.’” Hilarious stuff, right?
It perfectly encapsulates conservative thinking on race. Bigotry isn’t much more than a quirk, like drinking warm beer or being a bad tipper. In the film, Eastwood’s not a bad guy, just a lonely old war veteran further disgruntled by the deterioration of his neighborhood from a white suburban enclave to an ethnic gang wasteland. Don’t let the pandering and tokenism of a few minority eloquent minority speakers fool you: this is the mindstate of the Republican party today. Mitt Romney, who won the nomination in part because he was supposed to be the adult in the room, has played right into it with his lies about welfare and birther jokes. But he’s not a bad guy, he’s just trying to protect the America we all love. Never mind it’s an America some of us have never known.
It’s not a huge leap from “get off my lawn” to “we own this country” to “take our country back.” Someone in this equation is an intruder, claiming something they have no legitimate claim to, and for that they must pay. If Mitt Romney wins the presidency, the rest of us are stuck cleaning his Gran Torino.
• Hardball: Was Clint Eastwood speech political comedy?
• Maddow’s take on the Eastwood speech: left speechless
Political conventions occasionally produce memorable moments that endure. The Chicago riots in 1968, Cuomo’s “Tale of Two Cities” speech in 1984, Al kissing Tipper in 2000, Obama’s “audacity of hope” in 2004 — these are memories that quickly entered the political history books, reminding us why conventions still matter.
Last night, we saw another such moment, when Clint Eastwood decided to argue with an empty chair.
Chances are you’ve at least heard about Eastwood’s “speech,” but for those who missed it, trust me when I tell you it’s worth your time. As Rachel explained on the air once it was over, “That was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen at a political convention in my entire life, and it will be the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen if I live to be 100.”
Apparently, the Romney campaign thought it would be a good idea to send an 82-year-old man onto the stage without prepared remarks. Eastwood was an odd choice anyway — he’s pro-choice and supports gay rights — but I can appreciate the fact that the man enjoys an iconic status. He was the “surprise” guest, and convention organizers scrapped a compelling Romney bio film, just so Americans could see the Hollywood star’s remarks.
• Jamelle Bouie: This is a perfect representation of the campaign: an old white man arguing with an imaginary Barack Obama.
This is a perfect representation of the campaign: an old white man arguing with an imaginary Barack Obama.
— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) August 31, 2012
• Oh my God. Clint Eastwood is introducing Romney. And he’s kind of looking a bit senile. Wow, seriously awkward. Eastwood is talking to an empty chair. It’s more than a bit odd. Turn it on. You seriously have to tune into Twitter. He just said that lawyers shouldn’t be president. Romney is a lawyer. “I never thought it was a good idea for attorneys to be president anyway.”
• “Clint, my hero, is coming across as sad and pathetic,” tweeted film critic Roger Ebert as Eastwood ad-libbed Thursday night to an audience of millions – and one empty chair – on stage at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. “He didn’t need to do this to himself. It’s unworthy of him.”
• Michael Moore on Clint Eastwood’s Delusional Speech at the Republican National Convention: The Hollywood legend growling at an empty chair will live on in infamy as the moment when a crazy old man hijacked a national party’s most important gathering to tell off the president.
• Clint Eastwood as I’d rather remember him: Halftime in America: OFFICIAL Chrysler Super Bowl 2012 Commercial
• A better Clint Eastwood: “These people who are making a big deal out of gay marriage? I don’t give a fuck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We’re making a big deal out of things we shouldn’t be making a deal out of.”
More on the RNC Convention:
• Turn it off: RNC ratings night two: Networks lose 17 million viewers compared to night two of 2008 RNC
• Ed Schultz: Did Mittens make a birther reference?
• Wow, this is from FOX: Deceiving – On the other hand, to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold.
• Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)’s speech was 1,733 words, only a handful of which were “Romney.” What did the senator have to say about his party’s presidential nominee? From the speech: “He’s a devoted husband, father and grandfather. A generous member of his community and church. Everywhere he’s been, he’s volunteered his time and talent to make things better for those around him.” That’s it; that was the entirely of Rubio’s praise of his party’s presidential nominee — at the national convention in which he was introducing Romney.
• As the parade of witnesses to the godliness, charity and grace of Mitt Romney at the Republican National Convention Thursday night reminded us, Romney was a leading bishop in the Mormon Church. If he wins in November, he would be the first high-ranking religious official to become president of the U.S. in modern times.
• The Tenthers, again – GOP Platform Declares Medicaid Unconstitutional: “We support the review and examination of all federal agencies to eliminate wasteful spending, operational inefficiencies, or abuse of power to determine whether they are performing functions that are better performed by the States. These functions, as appropriate, should be returned to the States in accordance with the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. We affirm that all legislation, rules, and regulations must conform and public servants must adhere to the U.S. Constitution, as originally intended by the Framers. . . . Scores of entrenched federal programs violate the constitutional mandates of federalism by taking money from the States, laundering it through various federal agencies, only to return to the States shrunken grants with mandates attached. We propose wherever feasible to leave resources where they originate: in the homes and neighborhoods of the taxpayers.”
• Although Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler (R) felt the need to question his state’s registered voters about their eligibility to vote, sending a letter earlier this month that asked about 4,000 Colorado residents to provide proof of citizenship, his office has confirmed that at least 88 percent of those voters are indeed U.S. citizens.
• A federal court on Thursday barred Texas from implementing a controversial voter identification law, saying the measure would likely curtail the ability of minorities to vote. A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., said the evidence showed the law’s impact would “fall most heavily on the poor and that a disproportionately high percentage of African-Americans and Hispanics in Texas live in poverty.”
• Mitt Romney’s Supreme Court: Too Extreme For Women
• Another Romney Abortion Flip-Flop: No Exceptions for Health of the Mother. On Monday, to CBS, he supported abortion in the case of the “health and life of the mother”. This is a flip from when he didn’t make exceptions at all. And I suppose it’s a flip from when he made all the exceptions decent people would make. Now he’s flipped back on the health issue. Who knows what it will be a week from now.
• The next Todd Akin, Pennsylvania Republican Tom Smith Senate Candidate Assumes Women Must Be ‘Talking About Shoes’. On the campaign trail, Smith suggested that the only thing two women might have to talk to one another about is shoe shopping. Approaching two women at a campaign stop, Smith called them ‘girls.’ Then it got worse:
SMITH: What are we talking about here, two girls together talking?
WOMAN: We’re talking about the power of petite women.
SMITH: My guess would’ve been you were talking about shoes.
Bits and pieces:
• The judge announced during a motion hearing in the case of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of releasing classified information to WikiLeaks, that the trial is tentatively scheduled for February 4 through March 15.
• President Obama will sign an executive order today aimed at providing assistance to veterans struggling with mental health and substance-abuse problems. The El Paso Times reports that “the order directs federal officials to increase the number of VA mental-health professionals, improve suicide prevention efforts, create joint ventures between the VA and local mental-health care providers and push research that will improve diagnosis and treatment of problems including post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.”
• Another person who started on 3rd base and think they got there on their own steam: Australian Gina Rinehart, who inherited her $30 billion fortune, said, “If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself — spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working”
• Bush Administration Praised Closure Of Auto Plant That Ryan Now Blames On Obama.
• Three serving soldiers who allegedly set up a militia group within the US army, which plotted to overthrow the government and assassinate President Obama, face the death penalty after they were arraigned on murder charges. The three accused – Isaac Aguigui, fellow private Christopher Salmon and sergeant Anthony Peden – are all on active duty at Fort Stewart in Georgia, home of the army’s 3rd infantry division. They are accused of having killed in execution style their former army comrade, Michael Roark, 19, and his 17-year-old girlfriend Tiffany York.