He was booked as a surprise guest speaker at the republican national convention, but dirty Harry made few people’s day; the 82 year olds monolog to a chair, meant to symbolize president Obama, was called everything from rambling to borderline vulgar. Going twice over his allotted speaking time limit, he had Paul Ryan yawning, fidgeting and checking his watch and Ann Romney post speech wishing they had traded him for Romney family home movies; while Hollywood’s, public figures’ reactions ranged from is he crazy, is he edging toward senility to loving the metaphor, thinking he was great, that the things said in humor were exactly what needed to be said. From a political standpoint it was the mistake no one wanted to own up to, none of the planners wanted to admit to inviting him; many worried he out did Mitt Romney, made a better , more likeable presence than the one who was supposed to be man of the hour, man of the night. Love it or hate it, whatever can be said of Eastwood’s 11 minutes on stage, at least he wasn’t the candidate. Neither are such events strangers to colorful appearances, embarrassing moments, memorable guests, found in the can you believe it reel on the news. Recent years have seen of course Sara Palin becoming a household name, the man from the 2010 rent is too damned high party complete with handlebar mustache and clothing circa 1870 something and this year featured a delegate speaking to a camera on the convention floor who looked like he was literally a living version of Yosemite Sam, hat, mustache and all, or maybe he just mistook the convention for a big Halloween party.
Too easy to forget is this is an actor who for one night tried his hand at a monologue, who for one night tried his hand at standup comedy, tried to be funny; it’s obvious he was telling jokes, using satire, parody to say something, as opposed to candidates who end up being funny, or the wrong kind of funny with their gaffes, their misstatements, showcasing appalling ignorance. Neither was he a current or recent political office holder; his only such office position was Mayor of a town the average person would have to Google to know where it was back in the days when his hair still had color. He was a celebrity guest speaker meant to lend his brand of support to the candidate, the party, not so unlike the liberal Hollywood set’s very vocal support of Obama; it wasn’t intended or required to be serious, stoic, even informative. That was the job of the candidates vying for votes come November; that was the job of fellow office holders either having served alongside Romney or Ryan or desiring to, who honestly believe in what they will do for this country. True Eastwood is not a known comedian but he has always possessed an unmistakable style that he lent to what he was doing at the convention. Similarly the accusations by spectators who loved the speech condemning those of the opposing party for supposedly denigrating Eastwood based on his age; more likely any “denigration” was a dis to convention planners when the only remotely conservative celebrity they could find willing to attend is Clint Eastwood. Hitting even closer to the mark, he was the only disenfranchised democrat, liberal, independent willing to speak at the gathering of the grand old party; further, you have to question the wisdom of planners who let anyone on stage, but especially an 82 year old, not having done a dry run of his speech, not having any idea what it contained, one person stated to news media they didn’t even know the chair was part of his act until it was sitting there just before he went on. Keep in mind also reading from a teleprompter is wholly different from running lines on a movie or TV show set where you can do it again or even an improv setting; could it have been his first time reading from one?
Top one liners included, when someone doesn’t do the job we got-a let ‘em go, repeatedly his act made it seem as if “empty chair Obama” told Eastwood or by proxy Romney to shut up, at least twice during the speech Eastwood stated: I can’t say that he, meaning Romney, can’t do that to himself, another time Eastwood smoothly told the Obama representation he couldn’t do that to himself. Here is where the speech gets its label as crude, lewd, vulgar; however, all of what was presented was innuendo completely missed by the younger members of the audience. Nothing at no time had to be bleeped otherwise edited for TV or primetime hours; additionally it was done with far greater respect than things said to and about Obama by lawmakers charged to work with him, by candidates running for various offices wishing to work in the Whitehouse, by media outlets like Fox news who have a responsibility to report news and at least appear to do so accurately. It is a by far more respectful than tea party posters depicting Obama as Hitler, Obama as a monkey; further unlike news personnel or lawmakers, workers in Washington held to a higher standard, he, being a private citizen, has just as much right as those tea party sign holders to speak against the president if he so chooses. Not to mention it was obvious from the outset his appearance was an act, a performance; he openly declared who the chair was supposed to represent, again belying claims of potential craziness or senility. Simultaneously addressing accusations of rambling, he paused many times for effect and the “rambling” looked all the more a component of the performing aspect of his 11 minute stage show; sadly no one recognized it for what it was. Part of the above reaction to the seems to stem from both ordinary citizens along with public figures thinking his response should have been as sober and contemplative as everyone else’s befitting the times, but this actor has always played rolls that exuded an air of no nonsense, in interviews exhibited the same characteristics. He simply blended the two to ignite a soporific audience and daresay using humor made the message more articulate, accomplished more in getting the conservative point across than any of the conservative speakers there or across the country since the tea party took hold. Secondly being in your 80’s your voice changes his has always been gravely now increasingly with age, so when he meant to say target date and it came out grate the majority are of the mind to cut him some slack. And he quickly corrected himself before he even finished the sentence demonstrating what a true misspeak actually is, unlike so many of the bizarre statements, brain freezes showcasing drastic errors in judgment, thinking not simply a mangling of words or an inability to communicate your concept, called a misspeak by people running for office looking to excuse their folly. Thirdly he seems at minimum proficient in his facts regardless of whether you agree with him on the issues; again unlike conservatives such as Todd Akin who in his 60’s still hasn’t mastered the rudimentary elements of where babies come from. And again he wasn’t the candidate.
Still Mr. Eastwood had some pretty weighty things to say and left everyone within hearing distance with some pretty heavy misconceptions said in humor or not; and since people tend to take things said in jest seriously, particularly about politics, highlights of increasing substance included stating some people might have been disappointed president Obama didn’t close Gitmo, taking a jab at the person or persons who suggested trying accused terrorists in downtown New York city elaborating he, the president, finally said no to that; to be clear the initiative was to try terror suspects in civilian court vs. a military one, not by some public mob holding baseball bats. Perhaps this was simply a laughable way to summarize the issue. Mr. make my day got very serious when comparing Obama’s presidential win the candles, the crying beheld that night to the crying he does over the 23 million unemployed Americans continuing by blatantly calling out the Obama Whitehouse for not doing enough to rectify the situation, claiming their focus was elsewhere. Curious is what the Hollywood veteran thinks a Romney Ryan ticket is going to do for the jobless rate nationwide considering the sheer amount of cuts they want to enforce on government alone, the pure fact candidate Romney followed the controversial Eastwood speech talking about 12 million jobs he pledged to create; too bad that’s the projected number of jobs to be generated between now and 2016 independent of any jobs plan, administrative action. Good way to hedge your bets, but not what the American people need; it’s not going to close the jobs gap. Just like how are you going to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow, give people the skills of the future when one of the first things cut is job training, retraining, when you advocate giving control of education back to the states vs. nation standards so everyone is competing on the same level both here and across the globe? As to the focus of the Obama administration, yes their first big achievement was passing healthcare reform, something Romney was quick to point out attempting to prove misplaced priorities, yet it relates to jobs and, in multiple cases, often is as equally important as getting America back to work. Why, because the new mandates meant, and still mean, people won’t be dropped from insurance if they get sick translating into less cases of people being one hospital stay from bankruptcy, home foreclosure, because coverage for people, family members with preexisting conditions means the minimum wage job or 2 of them individuals obtained to replace their old one will go further not having to pay out of pocket for all medical expenses, dido for college students on their parents plan until 26, their medial job goes farther, they can devote more to student loans or take out less of then in the first place. When the 2014 mandate all employers must offer insurance takes effect it means people who had no access to insurance suddenly do, a twofold win making the lowest wage earners income go farther and solidifying their chances at receiving preventative care. Sounds like the right priority, remembering the number of full time employers who don’t now offer insurance.
Next in the performance lineup were comments about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; punch line, our president opposed the war in Iraq but the one in Afghanistan he was ok with. We didn’t ask the Russians how that went [audience laughs]. But the mission in Afghanistan had nothing to do with the Russians no matter how unsuccessful it is now viewed or how unsuccessful the Russians were; the mission in Afghanistan was actually about going after the masterminds of 9-11 concurrently freeing people from an brutal and oppressive theocracy. Obviously you want to be successful in endeavors that cost lives, yet the choice was try in order to bring justice to slaughtered Americans or let the perpetrator go free sending the message it’s open season on the United States. From a humanitarian standpoint, we were what supposed to leave them holding a war torn country, no way to rebuild, no idea how to create a free government, as it is people their worry about what happens when the U.S. leaves? Iraq on the other hand, despite the misdirection, propaganda and let’s charge Bush 43 with war crimes club, was not about bad information linking the country or its leader to 9-11; instead it was about being proactive and removing a threat before it could become the next 9-11. Mentally unstable dictators do not good countries make; we had no idea if the execution of the 9-11 plot would embolden other extremist baring hate for America to try similar or worse things, so we went after a threat. Regardless of the supposed changes in then president Bush’s reasons for toppling the dictatorship, stopping rape rooms, victims tossed into mass graves and torture dens is never wrong, certainly not just because people from the richest country in the world suddenly decided they don’t wanna pay for it. Confronting the issue surrounding a target date for brining troops home, no we can’t just bring them home tomorrow morning, A- because it takes time to organize that type of mass exodus, B- again are we supposed to leave these people in war torn shambles, unable to rebuild, we’re supposed to let it once more become a terrorist breeding ground, solve one problem and leave room for a dozen more?
Changing topics, Eastwood nonchalantly insulted attorneys occupying the Whitehouse putting forth the sarcastic idea it was time for a businessman to be there, portraying it as silly for anyone with any other former profession to hold the highest office; although why Mr. Hollywood thinks Romney or Ryan foot the bill remains a mystery. Understanding Romney’s background is not in small business, known as the engine of our economy, but in corporate America coming from a rich family able to parlay that into every opportunity imaginable, developing a company designed to facilitate business restructuring better known as business destruction, deriving income from capital gains, real-estate investments, speaking fees rather than real work. You can say successful people in show business are loud, proud and over paid, what you can’t say about them is that they didn’t work; they all pay their dues in the business modeling underwear, doing low budget films, commercials. Depending on where exactly they got their start, they may well be on a TV series putting in 16 hour days; we all comprehend it would be absurd to suggest Clint Eastwood didn’t work to get to the place occupies he in movie history, still holding star status. Likewise you cannot say they don’t give up something for the status they hold, forfeiting their privacy to provide us viewing pleasure to fill our hours. Mr. Romney contrastingly represents a party supports tax breaks for people making more than the celebrity elite; while the celebrity in the room projected at minimum sympathy for everyday people, he supports deregulating business, biggest benefit going to mega corporations not mom and pop stores, not first time business owners or people trying to get a concept off the ground, not the midsize business lost in the fray. His running mate went a step further than all that at one time trying to give social security over to Wall Street; his plans for Medicare frighten every current recipient or anyone who will be in the near future. Now we all realize any celebrity speaking where this one was is probably not going to be using Medicare or social security, yet others do. We don’t need any more tax breaks for the uber wealthy, corporate welfare before poor people welfare; we don’t need any more seniors freezing in their homes, choosing between medication and food, eating dog/cat food because they can afford nothing else. Perhaps we do need a businessman in the oval office, but not Mitt Romney.
At some point during the chorus of supposed “Obama shut ups and suggestions about what both Romney and Eastwood could do to themselves” the entertainer calls him as bad as Biden, that would be vice president Joe Biden, likewise calling Biden the intellect of the democratic party, implying Biden is stupid. This is both particularly unfair and extremely ironic when faced with the abject stupidity of the neo republican, tea party nitwits likeMichele Bachmann who thinks the shot heard round the world was in New Hampshire, who got in hot water for implying people, society was better off during slavery owing to more 2 parent households, Sara Palin who proudly informed an entertainment program crew during her American bus tour Paul Reveres ride was to warn the British, to clarify not that that was the result but the intent, he mocks a suggestion to try charged terrorists in NYC but is either unaware or unperturbed, unconcerned about potential governor of said city, Carl Paladino who wanted to use vacant jails to teach persons on welfare proper hygiene they didn’t get in dysfunctional homes insinuating this, and this alone, will help them get jobs. Maybe he didn’t hear about the man running for office who made his dog chief of staff but we did, just as we heard about fictitious beheadings from Jan Brewer republican governor of Arizona trying to bolster support for her controversial immigration policy. To say nothing of the string of “family values” candidates who think birth control leads to unnatural things, who don’t understand condoms do prevent HIV and AIDS, that masturbation is normal not some evil to pass a law against, Todd Akin who thinks woman can somehow magically prevent pregnancy during rape and therefore should not be entitled to the option of an abortion even when the child is the result of sexual violence. Vice president Biden is no worse than any of these people and others who have caught conservative America’s eye over the last 2 years. However, no matter what dirty Harry said, who he thinks lacks the intelligence to be running for or holding office, he is not the candidate.
And at the end of the day we’re talking about some Hollywood old timer showing signs of being past his prime instead of talking about issues like the economy, instead of talking about how to get people back to work, how to keep people in their homes, giving young people who graduated college the opportunities we told them would be waiting for them. Instead of thinking about who has done more for the interests of the average person, who supports the core ideas of movements like occupy Wall Street, proper bank, investment, regulation, fairer taxation on the richest among us, we’re talking about Clint Eastwood. Examining the convention itself, even journalists, political commentators were more focused on Chris Christie’s self-aggrandizement than on the skewed version of the good he proclaims to have done for New Jersey, while going on and on about the truth; oh sure the latter was ticked off in bullet points, but barely. They couldn’t avoid talking about Paul Ryan’s distortion of the facts because that’s all he did, other than comments about fading Obama posters and his running mate’s i-pod playlist; unfortunately people present at the convention didn’t hear such analysis and viewers at home wouldn’t listen if they did. Mitt Romney spent more time telling his life story than rattling off his 5 points to get America back on the right track, yet a day later the news story predominately was Clint Eastwood’s kooky shenanigans and a single line about Romney’s favorability, likability factor, or lack thereof. But at least Clint Eastwood is just an actor not a political candidate.