Reporting Esme Murphy
For years, American political conventions have been criticized as too scripted, too predictable.
After Clint Eastwood’s rambling, off-color discourse with an empty chair, we know why.
Two days later, Eastwood’s speech — not Mitt Romney’s — remains the most talked about, tweeted, and debated appearance at the convention.
Romney’s speech, arguably the best he has ever given, remains shoved off center stage, by a performance more fitting for a late-night talk show. Even worse, the speeches that came before Eastwood, moving tributes of Romney’s personal kindness from members of his church in Massachusetts were lost in the analysis of why Eastwood was given the green light to speak in prime time.
It also overshadowed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who followed Eastwood. Rubio’s tribute to a father who worked as a hotel bartender so Rubio and his siblings could have a better life came in second to an empty chair. Even worse, Eastwood ran over his time slot, pushing the bulk of Romney’s speech past 11 p.m. in the Eastern Time Zone. An awful lot of those working moms the Republicans are trying so hard to lure away from President Obama may well have been in bed.
And what of the choice of Eastwood? He is an American original, whose gunslinger “Make my day” persona seems to embody the American ideal of singular rugged individualism.
And as was pointed out in a rocky, but revealing 60 Minutes profile several years back, he is also the father of seven children by five different women, only two of whom he was married too.
Clint Eastwood’s appearance was memorable all right. America political conventions may never go off script again.