August 31, 2012

The Brilliance of Clint's Empty Chair

Justin Katz

Politicos and policy wonks have been parsing every major speech offered at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, each with his or her own lens.  (The exception is MSNBC, which apparently declined to parse several speeches by ethnic minorities.)  Some have commented on the gender-war content of Ann Romney's statements; some have focused on the deep policy focus of Vice-Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan.

But the most transformative moment — in its way, the most redolent of the Tea Party revolution — was Clint Eastwood's conversation with an empty chair in which President Obama was not sitting.

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I only watched a clip of his remarks, it has to be remembered that Dirty Harry is now well into his 80's.

While listening to talk radio this morning I heard a woman call in and object to Mr. Eastwood using the "F-bomb". I didn't see that, did I miss something?

Posted by: Warrington Faust at August 31, 2012 1:25 PM

Heh. FOX Radio's John Gibson was talking about this earlier this afternoon.

I thought Eastwood's comments were inappropriate but pretty funny.

(Warrington: for the record, no, Eastwood did not swear at all in his remarks.)

Posted by: Monique at August 31, 2012 3:47 PM

I watched it and, at the time, found it weird and certainly out of sync with all other aspect of the convention.

But it seems to have been effective.

Look, the guy's a veteran actor and Academy Award winning director. Let's just say he has a clue about how to convey a message on screen . . . and he knows how to plant something in the viewer's mind with a kind of subtlety not found in cookie-cutter political speeches.

Whatever liberal Hollywood types might say about the performance, my guess is that they had often done similar "dialogues" with "absent" characters in acting exercises, and they understood what it was all about.

Eastwood conveyed -- in his own powerful but understated way -- that the incumbent President is an "empty suit" or, perhaps more aptly, like the title character in the "Emperor's New Clothes."

With all the scripting and pre-packaging of national conventions these days, do you really think that the Romney folks sent Eastwood out there without thinking through what he planned to do?

No way.

Let's see how many speakers in Charlotte make some direct or oblique reference to Clint's performance.

Posted by: brassband at September 1, 2012 8:02 AM

Two Points:(1)an empty chair befits an empty suit(2)Clint on his worst day still sounds brilliant compared to Governor Gump-it oughta be a quite a display by that nincompoop at the DNC

Posted by: joe bernstein at September 1, 2012 12:24 PM

What was most effective about the empty chair is it got the people to talk. People have not stopped talking about "Eastwooding" or the empty chair.
I have not heard anything about the Republican platform, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan....but people keep talking about Clint. Even this blog covered this issue before anything else about the convention.
So in that way, it guess it was very successful.

Posted by: Jim at September 1, 2012 2:57 PM
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