Clint Eastwood spoke to an empty chair, pretending it was President Obama, in a rambling, odd, sometimes funny, sometimes implicitly profane speech that added some eccentric spontenaity to the Republican Convention. “Mr. President, how do you handle the promises that you made?” Eastwood asked the chair. “You don’t know? OK.” Pause. “What do you mean, ‘Shut up?’ … You’re absolutely crazy… I’m not gonna shut up, it’s my turn.”
Then came the go-f-yourself moment of the convention. As Eastwood imagined the President telling him to shut up, he also imagined the President asking the actor to tell Romney something. “He can’t do that to himself!” Eastwood said with mock surprise. Later, he implied that Obama was telling Eastwood himself to “do something I can’t do to myself.”
Eastwood reserved special scorn for Vice President Joe Biden, whom he termed with sarcasm, “the intellect of the [Democratic] party… a grin with a body behind it.”
The actor seemed to be working without notes, which accounted, perhaps, for his rambling criticisms of Obama’s economic policies, his Afghanistan strategy, and his methods for dealing with terrorists.
“When somebody does not do the job, we’ve gotta let him go,” said Eastwood in conclusion, but not before he relented to the crowd’s demands that he recite his most famous movie line. “I’ll start it, you finish it: Go ahead… ” “Make my day!” the crowd roared.
The Romney campaign felt moved to release an official statement after Eastwood’s speech, which reads in part: “Judging an American icon like Clint Eastwood through a typical political lens doesn’t work. His ad libbing was a break from all the political speeches, and the crowd enjoyed it.” No argument there.
But how peculiar was all that? I’m still kinda looking forward to that baseball movie he’s made with Amy Adams…