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Eastwooding: Gigantic Oops

One of hundreds of “Eastwooding” images in which various dogs, cats, and humans interact with empty chairs

I’m trying to think who I would most like not to be in the Romney campaign today.  The guy who told Clint Eastwood: “Nah, go ahead, wing it.”   Or the campaign aid who cornered Eastwood in the green room.  “I know this sounds nuts, Clint, but what if we put you on stage with an empty chair?”

Most human beings with a computer and an internet connection are aware by now that beloved actor, Clint Eastwood, laid a bit of an egg on the closing night of the Republican convention with a sometimes incoherent, rambling, unscripted monologue-type-thing with an empty chair as a prop that contained an invisible Barack Obama.

Certainly a unique event in the annals of political convention history, it may well go down as one of the greatest blunders in modern political stagecraft.  In his introduction to Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio delivered a strong speech that added greatly to his rising-star status.  Romney gave what many say was the best speech he’d ever delivered.

But all anybody is talking about is the back-fire of Eastwood’s bizarre appearance.  The explosion in social media has been massive and mocking.  It is truly the stuff of cultural legend, likely to become as lasting an image as Ted Kennedy turning his back on Jimmy Carter in 1980.  An unfortunate iconic image.

The convention planners must have been completely horrified.  The event lasted just over 14 minutes, but they had to have started getting worried about 4 minutes in.  The crowd seemed to like it but the staging of conventions is not meant for the few thousand in attendance.  It’s the television, radio, and digital audience that matters, as well as the consensus media coverage that follows.  On those screens and speakers, it came off awkward and weird and it created a firestorm of instant, universal opinion- from CBS News to the New York Daily News to Entertainment Tonight- the Mother of All Distractions- obscuring the nominee’s moment in the spotlight.

Even worse, Eastwood’s appearance supplanted a moving, well-produced film biography of the nominee that ended up not being shown by the television networks to the prime-time audience.   Those films are important.  Many credit the one produced for Bill Clinton at the 1992 Democratic convention, “A Place Called Hope,” as an important factor in the eventual turn-around that elected him to the White House.

Mitt Romney deserved better than the events that transpired on closing night.  Somebody screwed up big time.

  1. August 31, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    I genuinely feel bad for Clint Eastwood after that bumbling experience. His legacy, if nothing else, deserved better.

  2. Andy Field
    August 31, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Great…Robert…..Eastwooding!

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