An Empty Chair, Dirty Harry, and Moses

Artist — Joe Heller

I watched what little bit of Clint Eastwood’s RNC improv that I could. I was incredibly embarrassed for the man. As Obama says, a good actor & a great director. But also kind of a weird choice to be introducing Mitt Romney who has such a gap between him and his “base.” Eastwood is pro-choice, pro-gay marriage… basically, he is a fiscal conservative (kind of Republican) & a social progressive (kind of Libertarian) like many of my independent voting friends who lean to the right.

Yes, he had been a mayor of his home city in California so he is a politician as well as an actor. But mayors of small cities, even very wealthy ones, are not really true-to-type politicos of their parties. A mayor will take whatever government hand out is coming to a city (even Republicans) and/or support whatever demands made by corporations to move their offices/facilities to a city (even Democrats).

So why Clint Eastwood? Certainly the Romney team was put on quick-denial alert as soon as the speech was done.

Maybe the RNC organizing committee was trying to do an NRA/Charlton Heston thing… grab some good sh!te from an “icon.” But Heston had a clearly written script. Also, I don’t think Heston–the Man for All Seasons, the Omega Man,  Ben Hur, the Voice of God from the Burning Bush… you know, Moses–is quite the same kind of icon as Eastwood—the Gran Torino War Vet; the Million Dollar Baby boxing coach; the Man with No Name**; you know, Dirty Harry.

Heston is an icon from an age of upward mobility, of an America collectively leading the “free world” toward the promised land of what was rapidly evolving into globalized corporate capitalism. Eastwood is an icon from a time of downward mobility, of an individualistic America reeling from trying to live in the real land of globalized corporate capitalism.

There had been a possibility that the Gipper himself might make a hologram appearance—these turned out to be true, but then two things got in the way: GOP activists thought that a Holo-Reagan would easily upstage Romney while the creatives behind making the hologram wanted to avoid appearing partisan. Turns out, the hologram has been created to highlight an act of Congress that would help with small business start-ups. The speech HoloReagan would have given was one he made about small businesses in America.

So the mystery guest everybody was talking about might have been Reagan and then poor Clint Eastwood was asked to step in. More than likely, this is because of the way his films and most memorable characters are often viewed by many of the working class who feel the great pressures put upon them by current circumstances in the Society of Control.

I am just speculating good folks of the ether. It just was really embarrassing. And I simply don’t know how Romney will gain more than the slightest uptick in poll ratings after Paul Ryan’s fully blatant mendacity and Clint Eastwood’s almost mental blathering.

**Folks interested in a film critic’s take might enjoy Roger Ebert’s The Man with His Name blog entry.

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