I can honestly say that we've never laughed as hard at Daily Kos HQ as we did tonight.
We didn't laugh as hard during Herman Cain's press conference where he led with the attorney providing the legalistic definition of sexual harassment. And that was really funny. Nor did we laugh as hard during Rick Perry's "oops" debate moment, when he forgot which third government agency he would cut. We didn't even laugh as hard every time Marcus Bachmann came up, no matter the context.
None of those things could touch Clint Eastwood's RNC moment. And to think, I was orginally bummed when I found out the mystery guest wouldn't be a zombie Reagan hologram!
It was so defining a moment, in fact, that Beltway politicians were still tweeting about it well into Sen. Marco Rubio's speech. Sure, some 2016 hopeful was on the stage, but OMG did you see that chair thing!
But this wasn't just funny. It was instructive of the quality of Mitt Romney's campaign. Just think of everything that had to happen to deliver us tonight's disaster:
- Republicans started buzzing about their "secret guest" on Monday, if not earlier. That means they had four days to help Clint write a speech and, you know, vet it. They didn't.
- They then spent four days building up the hype about their super duper awesome secret guest. A joke that it would be a zombie Reagan hologram soon got a life of its own, and rumors abounded that yes, it would be Reagan! But no matter what, Clint Eastwood was never going to live up to the hype. He's cool, but this is a political convention, not a Comedy Central roast. There was palpable letdown when he was announced.
- Did they read Clint Eastwood's latest hits? Pro-gay marriage, pro-choice, cut and ad celebrating the auto bailout for the Super Bowl, and someone quoted as saying he didn't believe in the modern Republican Party. So if nothing else, it provided snark fodder all day.
- Here's the big one -- the campaign obviously spent big bucks putting together a super effective and beautifully done biographical mini-documentary on Romney's early years. The guy has had a terrible job selling his personal story because he's got none. Some video director moved heaven and earth to make the guy seem almost compelling -- a great introduction to people who haven't been tuned in to the race until now. And ... they run it before the networks cut in. Sure, the folks at Fox and CSPAN saw it, but they already know whether they like Romney or not.
- No one felt compelled to lend Clint a comb?
- Bumping their pretty bio piece for Clint might have worked if the campaign knew what they were getting. He's a big star, a Hollywood legend. Convention ratings have been downright atrocious for this convention (40+ million saw Sarah Palin speak, 22 million saw Paul Ryan). Clearly, schedulers hoped that having a big time celebrity lead the coverage would keep people watching. But conventions are scripted for a reason. Or put another way, people aren't allowed to ad-lib because if they do ... well, you know.
At first, people tried to work out why the old mumbly guy was hearing voices in his head. But it wasn't his head, it was, uh the chair, which wasn't much better. But wait, this could turn out genuinely funny. It was, after all, Clinton Fucking Eastwood! So for about three minutes, it was debatable how things might turn out. But then it was no longer debatable, as minute after interminable minute passed no coherent point or end in sight and people remembered that Clint Fucking Eastwood isn't supposed to be funny! I mean, actual quote:
Do you just - you know - I know - people were wondering - you don’t - handle that OK.
So of course, we were rolling in laughter. And Team Romney spent the time during Mitt Romney's speech
sending out statements trying to spin their way out of their self-induced Clint Eastwood mess.
Maybe Clint had seriously given up on the GOP and this was all a scheme to undermine Mitt Romney's candidacy. If so, brilliant work! Much better than the lame Code Pink disruptions. Or maybe this was a clever ploy to make conservatives hate Hollywood even more.
But nope. It was merely rank incompetence.
Expect some bump in the polling. Candidates always get one after their conventions. But it won't be the 11 points Romney's campaign was hoping for. And it certainly won't survive next week's Democratic festivities in Charlotte.
As for Mitt Romney's speech, beats the heck out of me. I was too busy laughing at empty chair jokes to pay attention.
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