By Michael Baker
The always insightful Roger Ebert has something to say about Clint Eastwood’s RNC appearance, and it’s well worth reading. For all the coverage and commentary of the actor’s odd ad-libbed speech, this is the first analysis I’ve seen that examines it as less than purely political. Ebert understands that at least part of Eastwood’s motivation was to try to entertain an audience.
As a professed long-time fan and personal acquaintance of Eastwood’s, Ebert is in no position to grapple with the actor/director’s political motives. Rather, he views him as someone who wanted to support his candidate by giving the crowd a good show. That’s probably an accurate assessment. It certainly explains why giving Eastwood talking points was the Romney campaign’s second biggest mistake. The first biggest is that they allowed him to go out there and wing it. The third biggest is that they gave him that empty chair.
I also appreciate Ebert’s thoughts on why Eastwood’s big joke about Obama came off as awkward – whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, can you really imagine Obama telling Romney to “go fuck himself”? Maybe, but not in those words.