w/ Video – Clint Eastwood: His performance art for Republicans delivered a hard, simple truth
Video of Eastwood’s speech below the fold via Politico.
Professional pundits judging Clint Eastwood’s performance at the 2012 Republican convention are bound to be disappointed. It was no more intended for them, than was it a political speech. Directed at the very audience no current politician could draw to the television set Thursday night – the average Joe or Jane who doesn’t eat, sleep and drink politics – Eastwood engaged them at the level on which they are accustomed to being engaged by Eastwood, with him performing, not presiding, preaching, or pontificating in any formal sense.
It’s the subtle picture Clint Eastwood drew for them in his performance they’re more likely to take away – perhaps without even knowing it – than any particular words he spoke.
Eastwood invoked 2008, portraying Obama just as he was seen then, on the night of his election. Candles were lit, chants went up and hope painted a halo on a young, inexperienced politician who hadn’t yet proved himself as much of anything other than a good campaigner. Said Eastwood, that’s the best you’ve felt about Obama since he was elected. And we know that’s true, so many of those “average” people having already said as much to pollster after pollster. In that, Eastwood’s picture would ring more true for them than would political rhetoric of almost any kind, no matter who was doing the delivery.
And that’s when Clint Eastwood reduced Obama, doing it in a manner only the most partisan would find offensive. He placed Obama on what may as well have been a bar stool, not only beside but also beneath him. And, yes, Eastwood proceeded to talk down to him, not as a combative politician, but as a man, an elder, might. He joked with him, some of it even meant to be a bit blue, just as any two men might talk to one another if they found themselves in that very real situation. First, Eastwood reduced Obama … and that’s when he turned back to his audience.
Reminding them of their stewardship of America as citizens and voters, he made a simple case – “if someone’s not doing the job, … you’ve got to let them go.” The man not doing the job at that point wasn’t the Obama standing up on a back-lit podium, larger than life, above it all and beyond their reach. He was just another one of them sitting on a bar stool somewhere who has not been getting it done.
In a way only an actor – and an old and long established one could do at that, Eastwood all but put his arm around Obama and said, sorry, kid, but things haven’t worked out. Nothing personal but, you’re fired. I have to find someone else. That’s the hard, simple truth Eastwood attempted to convey to viewers, not that Obama’s economic policies aren’t as market-based as he, or they, might like.
How effectively that picture reached the mind’s eye of the so called soft voter can be debated, though it’s probably better for rumination by a critic, than a political analyst. But if Clint Eastwood’s long, successful run at the box office is any measure, I wouldn’t underestimate it’s value before the real reviews come in in November. In short, Clint Eastwood cleared the way for Mitt Romney to step up and put himself forward after him, just as any one might were they applying for a job. How well that was accomplished by Romney Thursday night in Tampa is ripe fodder for the political analysts. But they’ll never be able to accurately assess Eastwood’s performance, as it was more his usual form of stage he performed on Thursday night, than was it purely political, the only one to which they’re accustomed.