First off, here’s the video of the speech:
…and I recommend that you watch it if you haven’t, already. Executive summary: it was successful, but at the same time highly surreal.
Clint Eastwood reportedly did the speech without a script; in fact, it wasn’t a speech at all: as the Romney campaign noted, it was ‘improv.’ And it was improv that was very disrespectful of the President… by the Media’s standards, which are thankfully not the same standard as the American people’s. Eastwood visibly doesn’t particularly care whether the Left is upset about him or not, and he’s also comfortably aware that there’s dang little that the Left can do to him at this point. He’s an American movie icon with two Oscars and over five decades’ worth of work behind him; he’s also probably rather more liked than most Presidents, including our current one. I do not recommend… no, wait. I do recommend that the Left freak out about this. Loudly. Viciously. Denigrate Clint Eastwood as loudly and as viciously as they like. Profanity would be a definite plus, here.
Because I believe that getting that kind of response was Clint Eastwood’s intent, frankly.
Still, it got hairy at times. Speaking as somebody who has done the odd bit of speaking without notes and extemporaneously… well, that’s why most people don’t dare do improv at such a high-risk venue. The term ‘surfing on the edge of the catastrophe curve’ comes to mind; and while Eastwood pulled it off, it was still what Wellington called a ‘close-run thing.’ Or, as Jim Geraghty put it:
…every time [Eastwood] came up to the edge of the cliff, and you thought the segment would be an absolute train-wreck . . . he pulled back with some great line: “I thought maybe it was just because somebody had the stupid idea of trying terrorists in downtown New York City.” “Politicians are employees of ours.” “Of course we all now Biden is the intellect of the Democratic party.”And if the aim of this convention is to persuade Obama voters of 2008 that it’s okay to vote for Romney in 2012, then maybe nothing said last night will be more powerful than Eastwood’s gravelly, “When somebody does not do the job, you’ve got to let them go.”
So it worked. But I would not recommend that the GOP make it a habit, mind you.
Moe Lane (crosspost)