I have to admit, I must be one of the, like, five people on this planet who found Clint Eastwood’s schtick yesterday to be kind of amusing. And that even though I completely disagree with him politically. Obviously, even the Republicans and the Romney campaign are busy running away from that incident like it was a bad sewage spill, so I’m in a tiny minority on this.
I think the reason why I enjoyed the empty chair conversation is precisely the same reason that everyone else considers it a mistake–the fact that it was off the cuff, unscripted. The conventions–and politics in general–have become such a tightly controlled, artificial show. This is probably why the parts of the Republican convention which got a positive reception–Ann Romney’s speech, the Romney promotional video–left me cold. These were the moments which went exactly according to script. Wasn’t there a time when conventions included brawls and fisticuffs on the convention floor? If only we could go back to those days. It would make for a lot better TV watching, at least.
Granted, debating an imaginary opponent will always make you look silly. After all, you can put any words in their mouth…which Clint certainly did. It’s easy to berate an invisible Obama. As a supporter of the President, I can imagine he would have much more relevant responses if he were there in person. I still thought the rambling conversation was pretty funny. As far as the implied swearing, well, I can see why people would find it offensive. I know the President doesn’t swear in public…but then again, I’m of the opinion that politicians, and the rest of us, would be a lot healthier if we would swear a little more often.
Maybe the problem is that a personality like Clint’s doesn’t fit into a setting like the convention, and maybe the people who invited him to participate should have known this. The audience seemed to enjoy it, but these are the same people who enjoy being told that Medicare will be privatized, so the fact that I liked the same speech they did might just mean that I’m living in Crazytown too.
Whatever the case, I’m secretly hoping that at next week’s Democratic convention they will have Joy Behar or Oprah giving a stern chiding to an invisible Mitt in an empty chair. Unfortunately, the Obama campaign is smarter than that.