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Sunday, September 02, 2012

RNC Redux: Not Even The Chair

So, as the last of the delegates hustle to the airport, and the last of the red, white and blue balloons are popped and discarded, and before the 2012 Republican National Convention fades into our memory, let us relive its most exciting moments. Okay, exciting from a liberal point of view, which in our estimation includes a number of gaffes and embarrassing moments for the GOP. Such as:


The RNC obviously thought that if they can get a Hollywood icon to speak at their to-do that it would make them look oh so hip. The problem is that this Hollywood icon was hip…in the 70s! For those playing along at home, that’s 40 years ago! Just to put things in perspective, 40 years ago the vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, was still in diapers. Mitt Romney was, if you believe his up from poverty narrative, still subsisting on tomato soup!

Eastwood apparently was supposed to warm up the crowd; instead he ad-libbed three minutes beyond his time, and posed a faux debate between himself and President Barack Obama (which, I should add, was brilliantly played by an empty wooden chair). For 10 minutes or so, octogenarian thespian Eastwood doddered on and argued Barack’s un-accomplishments with an empty chair, to the wild amusement of the multitudes thronged on the convention floor.

Liberals barely cracked a smile; indeed, the panel on MSNBC (Maddow, Sharpton, Schultz, et al) was dumbstruck. I myself was bewildered and bemused, but I believe we should forgive. Forgive the crowd on the floor for eating up Eastwood’s performance, for they certainly consider the rabid rhetoric spewing from Fox News high art! 

And we should forgive Eastwood, for he doesn’t have a reputation in light comedy. He is the iconic rebel against the system, even when he played characters that were part of the system. You want proof? Name a Clint Eastwood comedy! That’s right, I can think of only one: the urban redneck comedy Any Which Way But Loose, when he played straight man to an orangutan, and was upstaged by the foul-mouthed, hard-cussing Ruth Gordon!

Of course, he wouldn’t be able to leave the stage without saying his greatest tagline, Go ahead, make my day. The old, old trouper obliged. Actually I think it’s quite fortunate he didn’t dig deep down into his soul, draw out his inner Dirty Harry, and blast the gun to splinters with a Magnum. The convention crowd would have gone wild at that symbolism, but I fear the Secret Service would have pulled Eastwood aside afterwards and had a little chat with him on the obvious intention of his finale.


Paul Ryan’s acceptance speech, the day before the empty chair episode, has been debated back and forth about playing loose with the facts. One of the howlers was an anecdote about candidate Obama speaking at a Janesville, WI (Ryan’s hometown) auto plant. At that time, Obama said that with government help this plant will be here for a hundred years. Obviously, the government didn’t help; Ryan noted that the plant was closed within a year. The trouble with his telling of the story was that he implied that the plant closed because of Obama’s policies. Ryan didn’t mention George W. Bush’s name once, who was President when the plant's closing was announced (June 2008) and when it was closed later that year (December 2008).

Obviously, this story was a gift to the fact checkers working in journalism and the blogisphere, but how was it a gift to the Democrats? Remember a few months ago, when Democrats and their allies tried to draw a line of responsibility between the failure of some companies owned by Bain Capital and Mitt Romney? The trouble was timing: the companies failed years after Romney left Bain. The argument that his influence on Bain’s corporate culture could stretch beyond the time that he was actually working there was seen as weak. Never mind that Bain made millions when workers lost their jobs, conservatives argued that you couldn’t pin these failings on Romney. In a just world, Bain should not have profited at all on the misery of others.

Enter Paul Ryan, who reframed the argument so that yes, we can blame a public figure — politician or private business owner — for a company failing when they were not themselves in control of the factors which led to the failing. I say, let’s revisit Romney’s Bain record and resurrect the sound bites, so that voters have a more complete picture of his business accomplishments. This is only fair; surely the Romney campaign will counter balance these stories with those of Romney’s successes.

So thank you, Paul Ryan…you made my day. Speaking of comedic performances on the campaign trail…


I know this happened a few weeks before the convention, and the story itself lost its momentum after Senate candidate Todd Akin opened his yap about legitimate rape, but it is also worth acknowledging. Romney commented to a rally crowd that no one asked to see his birth certificate, which somehow became a litmus test for politicians to run for public office in this country since Obama was elected in 2008. Surely it’s a sore subject with the Obama administration; indeed, it seems like they spent the better part of his first two years in office proving the doubters wrong about his place of birth. Liberals howled at Romney’s comment. Romney defended himself, saying he was only joking, injecting some humor into the campaign.

Okay, we’ll take it at face value that he was only joking. Ha, ha, funny man!

Clearly, this shows he has the same comedic skills as Clint Eastwood, and even then Eastwood had to rely on a prop to get his punch lines across. Romney, you won’t survive as a comedian. My advice: don’t give up your day job…which is…which is…hey, what the hell is your day job? 

Who’s been supporting your sorry ass while you gallivanted around the country and campaigning for the Oval Office for the last…wait, let me, two, three…SIX YEARS?!!! Were any of your periods of chronic unemployment during this time financed by us, the American taxpayer?

I believe that this might be something into which the empty chairs in Congress should look.

(Thank you for reading! Mr. Eastwood, you look tired! Please have a seat.)


Blogger Bob said...

I also find it ironic that the GOP's special surprise speaker, Clint-o, is very vocally pro-choice and pro-marriage equality, which does not jibe at all with the GOP platform of Rich White Men Only.

September 2, 2012 at 12:27 PM  

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