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Given the various recent quotes I'd read attributed to Clint Eastwood, which suggested he was emphatically not in support of various key planks of the GOP platform (e.g., automotive industry bailout, marriage equality, etc., etc.) and the overall tone and direction of the current party, I was a bit surprised and dismayed to learn a few days ago that he was to be the much-hyped secret speaker at the climax night of the GOP convention.

But after I heard this morning of his "bizarre", "strange", "weird", "Theater Of The Absurd" prime-time performance, I began to get suspicious. Really, really suspicious...

I had never felt impressed by Eastwood's early acting roles as enigmatic tough-guy, but my opinion of him began to shift when I saw his directorial work, beginning with the Academy Award-winning "Mystic River", with its highly compelling depiction of a man tormented by his childhood-era abduction by sexual criminals. My admiration grew as I viewed his subsequent directorial works, among them empathetic portrayals of: women protagonists in demanding unconventional cultural roles ("Million-Dollar Baby" and "Changeling"); the soldiers on BOTH sides of the battle of Iwo Jima (the twin movies "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Letters From Iwo Jima"); and Nelson Mandela's high-profile struggle to heal the post-apartheid cultural divide of South Africa ("Invictus").

But the Clint Eastwood movie that sprang to mind this morning was his 2008 work "Gran Torino", which Eastwood starred in as well as produced and directed. He portrays Walt, a recently-widowed retired Ford assembly-line worker who learns midway through the plot that he has a terminal lung disease, a fact he keeps secret. In the dramatic climax of the film, Walt confronts the group of gangbangers who shot up his next-door neighbor's house (wounding the son) and gang-raped the daughter. Unarmed, he nonetheless cleverly tricks the gangbangers into shooting him down in a very public setting with numerous witnesses, thus in his own unique way securing justice for his neighbors.

For the last several years, Clint Eastwood has cultivated a broad-based reputation as someone who feels so secure in his artistic legacy that he has no fear to do whatever he chooses.

Today, I find myself wondering: Did Clint Eastwood, legendary Hollywood actor, producer, and director, bungle a well-intentioned attempt to support the GOP, rambling ad-lib for an excruciating 12 minutes? Or did he in fact pull off a daring and well-rehearsed prank? Were the convention's planners so blind-sided by Eastwood's star power that they failed to recognize where his real loyalties are? How much (or little) did it take for him to win their trust?

We may never know. Or, we find out some time after November 6th.

Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 9:47 AM PT: It's been an esp busy last several days for me personally, so I just found out this morning that another diarist beat me to publication of the same theory by nearly 15 hours:


Did Clint Eastwood pull a "Gran Torino" on the GOP?

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| 383 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I doubt it (8+ / 0-)

    He said a lot of nasty things about Pres. Obama.

    The Republican Party is now the sworn enemy of the United States of America.

    Listen to All Over The Place - we play all kinds of music!

    by TheGreatLeapForward on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 12:45:58 PM PDT

    •  And no one is talking about them. (5+ / 0-)

      Instead the topic for today is, "WTF was up with Clint?"

      Romney/Lyin' - 2012

      by kitebro on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 12:54:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That reaction is not predictable though (0+ / 0-)

        That's the hindsight look.

        •  He stole the show didn't he... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          That's the goal of any actor.  Some are great and can pull it off and some aren't and flop.  Clint's a great actor.

          This was a political convention and everybody there is a politician, trying to gain advantage by being the best ass kisser to the top guy.   They never even thought of anyone being any different.

          Clint Eastwood is an actor with balls!  For an actor to get ahead, they've got to steal the show.  Which he did.

          If they wanted someone to talk all flowery about how wonderful Mitt is then they should have gotten a TV infomercial salesperson, like raygun (remember 20 mule team Borax?).  They know they've got to kiss ass to keep their gigs.

          I screwed up with a careless uprate so I'm a "No Rate" pariah. When I give a comment "+1 n/t", please consider that a recommend. (That's my workaround to participate here). DK haiku, one complete thought in a title field. Roar louder!

          by Josiah Bartlett on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 05:14:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  So? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bulldawg, rosarugosa, desert rain

      If you're trying to infiltrate German High Comand (think WWII spy movie) you don't do in speaking Russian. He was speaking their language, to throw them off.

      But anyone who understands politics knows, the only people who go for that sort of thing are the true believers. Romney doesn't need to play to them, they'd vote for a can of soup rather than see Obama get another term. You have to win over the uncommitted voters.

      Everything Eastwood did undermined any possibility of that. His criticism of Obama won't turn anyone off of Obama who hasn't made up their mind, while his bizarre speech upstaged Romney badly and made the Romney campaign look very foolish.

      Who knows, but I certainly haven't ruled it out. Maybe he's just a crazy old man. But I just find it hard to believe a guy who has recently done such good work would screw up something as badly as he did last night.

      Ask yourself, how could he possibly not have known he was blowing it? I mean 12 minutes of pure fail... that's an eternity in show business. Just bizarre.

      You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

      by Eric Stratton on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 03:42:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  He was never Pro-Obama but he is also not (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BachFan, Quicklund, Bulldawg, rosarugosa

    Pro-wingnut, unless yeah his films over the past 20 years are a lie. If that prank served anyone, it was Ron Paul.

    If I knew it was going to be that kind of party, I'd have stuck my ---- in the mashed potatoes! - Paul's Boutique

    by DoctorWho on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 12:54:34 PM PDT

  •  no it wasn't a prank (4+ / 0-)

    I think he played angry white man for the GOP so that all the angry white guys will stick with the party that brung 'em all that anger.  He was rude and disrespectful in language, he pushed the memes that Obama didn't keep his promises,  that it was ok to like him and vote against him, because deep down 2008 was an aberration, people got caught up in the moment, but now they're back.

    Mostly he sounded too much like a guy after a six pack sitting in the living room arguing with the tv.  That's what his prop should have been, a tv with a video and no sound and he should have sat in the chair.    But it was a guy the right wing crazies could identify with.

    Let's face it, we could all visualize him standing around with a sign in his hands that said:

         Keep your government hands off my Medicare!

  •  I still haven't seen last night's appearane (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZappoDave, kalihikane

    which I'd have to see for myself before I can judge.

  •  Clint who™? n/t (5+ / 0-)

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 01:09:17 PM PDT

  •  Please remember he donated $25,000 to the RNC (4+ / 0-)

    Thats being just a bit TOO much into the role.

    (romney)/RYAN 2012 - I could never eat as much as I'd like to vomit.

    by Fordmandalay on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 01:16:38 PM PDT

    •  Yes, but the PR is worth millions, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      desert rain, rosarugosa

      and he has a movie coming out soon. What's more, who wouldn't happily pay money they can afford in order to protect their nation and family from monsters?

      "The Democrats are the lesser evil and that has to count for something. Good and evil aren't binary states. All of us are both good and evil. Being less evil is the trajectory of morality." --SC

      by tb92 on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 04:10:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My chair keeps arguing with me (5+ / 0-)

    But as I look at its wood, I keep thinking that if it weren't for a tree, it wouldn't have been Clint Eastwood last night.  It would have been Sonny Bono.

    "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

    by KateCrashes on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 01:23:32 PM PDT

  •  Did he PRE-admit as much (6+ / 0-)

    He said that his role in Gran Torino would be the last one he would play, and then he acted in additional parts.

    But maybe last night was the curtain call for Gran Torino.

    They expected Dirty Harry.  They received Dirty Harry with raucous cheers.

    And when the dust cleared, and the media/interwebs went "WTF," he exposed the entire crowd there as a bunch of thugs who would applaud anything mean-spirited.

    He made sure he had enough witnesses, and then he sacrificed himself.

    For those of you who prefer Bartlett to Obama, re-watch the West Wing. For those who prefer Clinton, re-watch old news videos.

    by Ptolemy on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 01:26:28 PM PDT

  •  Possible .. (6+ / 0-)

    apparently he didn't tell them what he was going to do, just asked for the chair.

    When he formerly endorsed Romney only a couple weeks ago and then was asked about it - he jokingly acted as if he had forgotten he's endorsed anyone, then went on to give a sentence or two of why he supports Romney etc, but that would support your theory.

    That he's an actor and director, and went out there with that hair whooped up in the back would support the theory too. That was tooo .... bad looking to be real.

    Either way - it was some weird stuff.


  •  Idea raised during the live blog. (0+ / 0-)

    But I did so tongue-in-cheek. It's something that looks plausible in hindsight. But in foresight ... it rings of a crazy plan quite unlikely to work.

  •  Hmmm (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    desert rain

    I seem to recall a lot of plots like this from past spaghetti westerns; you don't know whose side he's really on.  (I suspect what it really means is that he's just not very good at electioneering.  But you never know...)

    Anyhow, the whole thing makes for great fun and really distracted from Romney's convention.  So sit back and fire up the popcorn machine.

  •  Honestly, it was impossible to tell. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GDbot, DRo, Miss Jones, chimene

    He looked old and feeble, and I don't think anyone wants to see Clint that way.

    He seemed to really struggle to find the right words, and that part seemed genuine and made you think he's just old and losing it a bit and can't remember the words he wants at that moment.

    Romney's people said he was supposed to be on for 5 minutes, but went for 11, making Mitt get on stage late, although I can't imagine they meant to have Mitt not start until 10:30 p.m., either, so other things must have run long. Mitt didn't start until 10:36 p.m.

    You just kept watching Clint and thinking... is this a joke? is he serious? is he ill? did he forget some medication? did he take too much of something? Honestly. I'm not making fun of him here. All those questions kept going through my head and I know a lot of people's.

    I'd say only Clint knows for sure what he was trying to do.

  •  I think he was drunk or other wise self-medicated (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    white blitz, Bulldawg

    and all his ugly fell out where everyone could see it.

  •  I'm with you (5+ / 0-)

    I just can't jive the director Clint Eastwood that shows such humanity in his art with the Clint Eastwood that would support Romney/Ryan.  You know the end of the speech when they call on him to do the "go ahead make my day" thing I thought I caught actual disdain in his face for the people he was looking at.  Maybe I'm just wishing he was only playing them, but my gut last night watching it live was that he was punking them and showing them just how absurd they are.  I mean did he even say one thing positive about Romney or Ryan?  And if you think about it, he used the invisible Obama to help tell Romney to go f himself???

    "Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others." St. Augustine

    by wsbuffalo on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 03:14:45 PM PDT

  •  exactly what happened in Tampa (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wsbuffalo, desert rain, rosarugosa
    In the dramatic climax of the film, Walt confronts the group of gangbangers who shot up his next-door neighbor's house (wounding the son) and gang-raped the daughter. Unarmed, he nonetheless cleverly tricks the gangbangers into shooting him down in a very public setting with numerous witnesses, thus in his own unique way securing justice for his neighbors.

    Don't roof rack me bro', Now the brown's comin' down; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Ensanguining the skies...Falls the remorseful day".政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 03:36:38 PM PDT

  •  Eastwood Stars as the Last Angry White Man (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and anticipates his posthumous rehabilitation when Mitt has him "retroactively" baptized into the Church of the LDS.

    Talk about your right wing unintended consequences.

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 03:59:39 PM PDT

  •  republican Mayor of Carmel, California (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Don't forget he was the republican Mayor of Carmel, California for several years.

    I believe he was also a big supporter of Sonny Bono, congressman from Palm Springs, whose wife "inherited" the seat and retains it today.

  •  I never thought of Clint as a deep thinker (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    desert rain

    But last night's speech was kind of like a Spike Lee joint; you are never exactly sure who the message is aimed at.

    Everyone is crying out for peace; no one's crying out for justice...

    by mojave mike on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 04:46:43 PM PDT

  •  Listen to the speech again... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    desert rain

    He said "quote on quote a stellar businessman" he said this about Romney. I am leaning toward Clinton punked the GOP.

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