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On Clint Eastwood
The National Review ^ | September 1, 2012 | Jonah Goldberg

Posted on 09/01/2012 5:18:57 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

I was traveling in a sleep-deprived state much of the day yesterday, so I haven’t had a chance to chime in here on the issue of Clint Eastwood’s speech act. I did write about it in the Goldberg File (after the bit about boob glitter and all that). Allow myself to . . . repeat myself, to paraphrase Austin Powers:

Moreover, I think all of the people attacking Eastwood are doing Mitt Romney an enormous favor. The clips I’ve seen on the news aren’t incoherent, rambling, or even weird, as some of the talking heads are saying. By my lights they’re charming or funny. Chris Rock said on Twitter this morning something to the effect of “Clint Eastwood on phone with Obama this morning: Everything went as planned sir.”

I like Chris Rock, but his grasp of politics is ludicrous. Eastwood’s speech is going to be water-cooler talk all day today. If people don’t like what he said, they won’t hold Eastwood’s comments against Mitt Romney. If they like what he said, that’s bad for Obama. And lots of people who haven’t focused on the election will now hear about how Clinton Eastwood — a compelling American badass — thinks it’s time for Obama to go. I understand people who want to say Eastwood’s act wasn’t good for Eastwood or all that useful for Romney. But I’m baffled by the claim that there’s an upside for Obama in what Eastwood said.

But let them attack him. If the Democrats want to berate an American icon for being too old, let them (just please do it loud enough so they can hear you in South Florida). If you want to bleat about how it was inappropriate for an actor, please ask Alec Baldwin or George Clooney to make that case.

But after noodling it and debating it with a bunch of people, let me add some further thoughts. I still enjoyed it — for most of the reasons Mark Steyn lays out — and still think it was a net positive for Romney (or at least a net negative for Obama). Also, I should say I’ve received a remarkable amount of feedback from people polling their families, friends and coworkers. Admittedly, it’s a anecdotal sort of filter, but the gist of nearly all of them is “My wife/brother/coworker/friend isn’t very political/voted for Obama and he watched it and loved it.” I think when you watch it live with a certain set of expectations, the surprises are a lot more dramatic than when you watch it on YouTube. In other words, it gets better and funnier with time.

I do love how the press corps has been whining for decades about how these conventions are too scripted, too planned, too inauthentic and inorganic. And the moment we have a genuine TV moment they’re all shocked and horrified. I suspect that the smug condescension wouldn’t be nearly so raw and nasty if the target had been Romney and the act had been performed in Charlotte. But I don’t think partisanship explains it all. There’s a tendency for the political press to get so cozy with the political pros that they start to think alike. Breaking out of the groupthink about how things are done can produce a sharp negative reaction (particularly when you’re watching it live and have some deeply-set expectations about what is smart or even possible). That doesn’t mean, necessarily, that the groupthink is wrong. As conservatives in particular should appreciate, sometimes “the way we’ve always done it” is actually the right way.

Which brings me to a concession to the critics. If Eastwood wanted to do something like this, this wasn’t the best way to do it. Going way long in the precious last hour of primetime was unfair to the Romney campaign. Not working out the sound issues in advance (because he kept turning his head sideways away from the mic, the audience inside the arena often couldn’t hear his clipped lines) was a mistake. There may have been a more artful way to make the same point as the blue-ish material. And so on.

It’s one thing to celebrate Eastwood for being less than slick; it’s another to say the act couldn’t use a little more professional polish. Put it this way, if Eastwood had come in with a a tight, rehearsed and slightly shorter hard-hitting routine, the criticisms would be more muted and none of the people defending and celebrating Eastwood today would be saying “You know, that was great, but it really could have been improved with more rambling and worse sound.”

I still think putting liberals and professional Democrats in the position of attacking Clint Eastwood instead of Mitt Romney is an unambiguous win. I think the controversy and buzz is useful because it’s pulling in the less politically engaged to hear sharp criticisms of Obama. Those who don’t like those criticisms will not hold them against Romney and those who find them persuasive . . . will find them persuasive and that’s a good thing for Romney. Also, the simple fact that Clint Eastwood felt comfortable riffing about how Obama’s got to go, has to help others get over that psychological barrier — which was a big theme of the whole convention — is a significant cultural breakthrough. This wasn’t a game changer, as they say, but it did put points on the board — and not for Obama.


TOPICS: Florida; Campaign News; Parties; Polls
KEYWORDS: clinteastwood; eastwood; obama; romney
If it wasn't a game changer I guess I don't know what one looks like. It was very much like the sailboard commercial featuring John Kerry or Michael Dukakis in the tank.
1 posted on 09/01/2012 5:19:00 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The Empty Chair will be an iconic political metaphor for years to come.

The libs are attacking it because they more than anyone realize the power of mockery.

Eastwood is a multi-winning Oscar director. He knew exactly what he was doing.


2 posted on 09/01/2012 5:24:07 PM PDT by nhwingut (Sarah Palin 12... No One Else)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Photobucket

Clint is "the man".

3 posted on 09/01/2012 5:24:09 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Had enough of the freaks running the show yet?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“But I’m baffled by the claim that there’s an upside for Obama in what Eastwood said.”

Me too. Clint hit him right between the eyes. And if those that are too dense to see the symbolism of him talking to an empty chair, they are probably ALREADY in Zero’s base...


4 posted on 09/01/2012 5:25:11 PM PDT by jessduntno ("Racism is not dead...it is on life support - kept alive by politicians..." - Thomas Sowell)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

It was a game changer.


5 posted on 09/01/2012 5:25:53 PM PDT by skeeter
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

On the other hand, if it’s too tight, rehearsed, and planned, his speech would have been like any other speech. Precisely because of the loose, improv, and a bit rambling that the speech is memorable.


6 posted on 09/01/2012 5:26:43 PM PDT by paudio (Post-racial society: When we can legitimately hire and fire a Black man without feeling guilty.)
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To: nhwingut
I now have an empty chair (doll house furniture) sitting in the back window of my car.

I suggest creating a postcard with an empty chair and sending it to the whitehouse....mark it "occupant"

7 posted on 09/01/2012 5:33:49 PM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I dare say if you put a Romney sign in your front yard along with a chair. You’re going to get your car keyed. Or slashed tires.


8 posted on 09/01/2012 5:36:07 PM PDT by cruise_missile
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To: nhwingut
attacking it because they more than anyone realize the power of mockery.

Gotta love the Alinsky tactic of ridicule being going full circle.....and seeing that the "Thin-skinned-0ne" wasn't at all pleased with it.

This is a win-win.

9 posted on 09/01/2012 5:48:43 PM PDT by ErnBatavia (0bamao sucks....Romney sucks a little bit less - but that's about it.)
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To: cruise_missile
if you put a Romney sign in your front yard along with a chair. You’re going to get your car keyed. Or slashed tires.

Another of Alinsky's tactics.....

10 posted on 09/01/2012 5:50:26 PM PDT by ErnBatavia (0bamao sucks....Romney sucks a little bit less - but that's about it.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I have a saying. The young and old are protected by me. Everyone in the middle is fair game .I love Clint and thought his delivery was excellent!


11 posted on 09/01/2012 6:02:16 PM PDT by lucky american (The Democrats will follow the big "D"even if it means going over a cliff.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

It was as simple as a cold beer on a hot day after hard work..not fancy in fact a little sloppy..but in the end it hit the spot like nothing else


12 posted on 09/01/2012 6:09:19 PM PDT by tophat9000 (American is Barack Oaken)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I got an email from a friend who watched it again on YouTube and saw the brillance and symbolism etc.

This thing will have legs for quite sometime.

Now what we are not counting on and what may happen is if Clint hit the hastings with Romney-Ryan, Oh that could really get under O-Ba-Mao's skin...

13 posted on 09/01/2012 6:09:27 PM PDT by taildragger (( Palin / Mulally 2012 ))
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Eastwood said what every one of us wanted to but were too polite. Either Eastwood was a wacko crank (bad on him and Obama) or a perceptive genius (worse on Obama).


14 posted on 09/01/2012 6:11:15 PM PDT by Mike Darancette (CREDO QUIA ABSURDUM)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Thank you Mr. Eastwood

.

15 posted on 09/01/2012 6:12:39 PM PDT by Elle Bee
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To: paudio

I agree, the rambling is what made it possible for him to get away with what he said. The soft-spoken stammering was necessary and brilliant.


16 posted on 09/01/2012 6:20:40 PM PDT by 9YearLurker
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I haven’t seen anybody recognize this as a takeoff on Jimmy Stewart’s ‘Harvey’ routine.

Perhaps it would considered racist to refer to Obama as a ‘Pooka’.


17 posted on 09/01/2012 6:39:35 PM PDT by jim999
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To: 9YearLurker

” the rambling is what made it possible for him to get away with what he said. The soft-spoken stammering was necessary and brilliant.”

Exactly . Some dumbdumbs don’t understsand this yet . They guy is old , but he’s still sharp as a tack . He knew EXACTLY what he was doing . An American hero .


18 posted on 09/01/2012 6:58:00 PM PDT by sushiman
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Clint Eastwood's convention speech was a brilliant combination of Jimmy Stewart in “Harvey” and Clint in “Gran Torino”. The Democrats can't grasp what hit them. This was Clint greatest performance.
19 posted on 09/01/2012 7:05:17 PM PDT by Senator_Blutarski
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To: ErnBatavia

Yeah....

I wonder how The Regime likes getting gored by their own ox?


20 posted on 09/01/2012 7:16:17 PM PDT by Emperor Palpatine (I need a good stiff drink. How 'bout you?)
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To: sushiman

Personally I think its better than that.

I think Clint was just parodying Zero’s off-the-teleprompter speech patterns....with all the halts and pauses.


21 posted on 09/01/2012 7:20:04 PM PDT by Emperor Palpatine (I need a good stiff drink. How 'bout you?)
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To: Emperor Palpatine

As others have pointed out, it was a parody of the Jimmy Stewart movie “Harvey”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKECvqSVWPA


22 posted on 09/01/2012 7:22:21 PM PDT by kevao (Is your ocean any lower than it was four years ago?)
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To: nhwingut

I didn’t see the Eastwood speech, what happened with the empty chair?


23 posted on 09/01/2012 7:26:58 PM PDT by diamond6 (Check out: http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/home.php and learn about the faith.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Just a simple empty chair (cum TOTUS) is definitely a game changer. Best part, it so got under O’s skin, he had to tweet about it. Can’t tell me that’s not effective. All the bleating talking heads should be so effective!


24 posted on 09/01/2012 7:28:27 PM PDT by EDINVA
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To: EDINVA

We now have COTUS: Chair of the United States.

We even have JCOTUS. Jobs Council of the United States.


25 posted on 09/01/2012 7:35:30 PM PDT by combat_boots (The Lion of Judah cometh. Hallelujah. Gloria Patri, Filio et Spiritui Sancto.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

the problem,that no one is reproting, is that clint was using a teleprompter - which blacked out - so he was trying to remember the lines in order...

After all, he’s a busy man, he’s not running for office- so he didn’t memorize his speech.

Given that - he still pulled it off....


26 posted on 09/01/2012 7:46:41 PM PDT by maine-iac7 (Christian is as Christian does....)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Jonah, way too many words about a brilliant performance and the nonsensical reaction of "progressives."

The Dem "talking heads" and surrogates just can't bring themselves to acknowledge that the entire world "got" Eastwood's message loud and clear--and they have nowhere to hide.

Agree, too, with Applegateranch's comments on another thread about the genius of Eastwood's use of his object's own "egregious speech pattern," commonly referred to by pseudointellectual "progressives" as a sign of Obama's great intellect and deliberative style.

Now, however, with Eastwood's use of it, "progressives" (an entire set of "empty chairs" when it comes to understanding and defending the ideas of freedom), find such a "deliberate" and halting style denotes everything from senility to "doddering fool."

Another gem was his use of a former President's assessment of Romney's "stellar business performance" in this total unmasking of the great destroyer of business in America.

From Geraldo Rivera on FOX to Gloria Borger on CNN, the faux criticism and claims that Eastwood distracted from the Romney speech and Borger's claim that parts were "crass" are laughable when compared with much of the Dem performer language and inferences. No, he actually set up the public for a speech by a man who's been known for filling many seats of leadership.

This was a priceless and iconic performance which will live on, long after Eastwood is gone, and Obama is a distant memory in the rearview mirror of presidents.

27 posted on 09/01/2012 7:48:37 PM PDT by loveliberty2
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To: loveliberty2

Good comments.


28 posted on 09/01/2012 7:53:13 PM PDT by Dante3
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Brilliant strategy: make a speech that can't be reduced to a coherent sound bite without being forced to use one of the key talking points. Sheer genius!
29 posted on 09/01/2012 9:01:36 PM PDT by ArmstedFragg (hoaxy dopey changey)
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To: combat_boots

COTUS is the more useful.


30 posted on 09/01/2012 9:11:54 PM PDT by ArmstedFragg (hoaxy dopey changey)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
The clips I’ve seen on the news aren’t incoherent, rambling, or even weird, as some of the talking heads are saying...exactly - while there were portions of Clint's presentation which were a bit incoherent and vague, there were enough that came through crystal clear and unambiguous - like the empty chair, "if somebody's not doing the job you let 'em go" and "I haven't cried so much since I heard there were 23 million unemployed" - the libs heard them loud and clear, and that's why they're going ballistic.......
31 posted on 09/01/2012 9:18:35 PM PDT by Intolerant in NJ
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To: Emperor Palpatine

” I think Clint was just parodying Zero’s off-the-teleprompter speech patterns....with all the halts and pauses.”

Yes , that too . But a lot of folks didn’t seem to GET it .


32 posted on 09/01/2012 9:48:10 PM PDT by sushiman
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I had my doubts about the empty chair speech, but it obviously worked. The MSM is in a lather and Obama was goaded into a response.


33 posted on 09/01/2012 9:51:06 PM PDT by Redcloak (Mitt Romney: Puttin' the "Country club" back in "Republican".)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I was sad Sarah Palin was not invited as a prime-time speaker - not because I thought it would hurt her to stay outside; win or lose in November, she’ll be the leader of the internal opposition - but because she like no other can get under the skin of Barack Obama.....

AND THEN ALONG CAME CLINT EASTWOOD!!!!


34 posted on 09/02/2012 2:30:52 AM PDT by ScaniaBoy (Part of the Right Wing Research & Attack Machine)
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