Eastwood, Palin and the Long Goodbye
Tropical Storm Isaac put a damper on the first day of the Republican National Convention. But nothing hit Tampa by surprise quite as much as what happened on the last day.
Tuesday, it was announced that a special mystery guest speaker would appear before Mitt Romney on the final night of the convention. The most famous of the small tribe of Hollywood Republicans, Clint Eastwood took the stage. Dirty Harry looked a little more like Crazy Uncle Harry as he stood on the podium. But he’s 82, after all, and it happens to the best of them.
The difference is that as soon as he got rolling, he sounded like Crazy Uncle Harry. What ensued was a jaw-dropping, babbling, semi-ad libbed series of words, and a one-sided conversation with an invisible and foul-mouthed President Obama sitting in a chair by his side. “What?” he asked the chair. ”What do you want me to tell Romney? I can’t tell him to do that. He can’t do that to himself. You’re crazy,” he said. “You’re absolutely crazy.”
“Yeah. I’M crazy…” thought the chair.
Remember the days when the Republican Party was all about “respecting the office?” The first time I heard that phrase was from my grandmother – one of the old “cloth coat Republicans” when being a Republican meant being a respectable citizen who balanced your checkbook. Jimmy Carter had just been elected, and I was 10. Somehow, having a president who had been a peanut farmer was appealing to me. He seemed to be like the old thoughtful gentlemen agrarian souls who founded our nation. I liked him.
She didn’t. But after the election she explained to me that “Even if you don’t agree with the president, everyone always respects the office of the president,” she explained. “Most Americans voted for him, even though not everyone did.” If my grandmother had a problem with an elected official (which she did often), she’d let them know about it personally with a hand-written letter. “I had a bone to pick with him, and I gave him a piece of my mind,” she’d say. But it was between her and them and it was nobody else’s business.
I’m not saying I’ve never said a bad thing about a president. And I’m not saying that we should sit politely by and not question acts which violate our core beliefs. But to watch the actual Republican National Convention, and to see my imaginary president placed in a chair with obscenities put in his mouth was a bit much.
As most of the viewership sat speechless, Romney’s clean-up crew went to work and released a statement almost immediately after Eastwood left the stage:
“Judging an American icon like Clint Eastwood through a typical political lens doesn’t work,” the statement read. “His ad libbing was a break from all the political speeches, and the crowd enjoyed it. He rightly pointed out that 23 million Americans out of work or underemployed is a national disgrace and it’s time for a change.”
I guess they needed a break, right at the end. And as long as the crowd enjoyed it, that’s what really counts. Right? I mean, think of Sarah Palin and the whole “palling around with terrorists” thing. The crowd LOVED it! Success! *high five*
Speaking of Palin, the master of the presidential smack-down, she was nowhere to be seen. Not invited to speak at the convention, she also had appearances at Fox cancelled. Never one to take anything lying down, or let a perceived slight go by, Fox became the latest entity to be on the receiving end of a finger waggle by the ex-half-term governor who is rapidly becoming more chip, than shoulder.
Her weapon of choice? Facebook. This one required way more than the 140 characters allowed on Twitter.
I’m sorry Fox cancelled all my scheduled interviews tonight because I sure wanted to take the opportunity on the air to highlight Senator John McCain’s positive contributions to America, to honor him, and to reflect on what a biased media unfairly put him through four years ago tonight. Granted, our honored and esteemed war hero has gone through much more than the liberal media can ever do to him in their efforts to harm this patriot. I look forward to hearing his words to his fellow Americans tonight more than any of the other convention speeches. God bless John McCain. Thank you for everything. And happy birthday, my friend.
- Sarah Palin
It reminds me of Palin’s reaction in 2008 when she was told that no, she would not be the first vice presidential nominee in history to deliver a concession speech on election night. But golly gee, she just wanted to pay tribute to John McCain, she said.
Roger Ailes, commander of the Fox empire had said at one point that he hired Palin because she was “hot and got ratings.” The latter is becoming no longer true, and the former is only a matter of time. Ailes may be cutting his losses, as he becomes the latest to regret his association with the acid-tongued narcissist.
The rumor is that Palin may be given her walking papers by Fox. Her contract end date is looming. She did what she was told, said what she was told to say, and now they’re done. Your money is on the dresser, and don’t be here in the morning.
In the movie Game Change, McCain operative Steve Schmidt leaned over to the aide who had found Palin on Google, and asked, “Still think she’s fit for office?” Palin was on the stage, waving to the crowd still fuming that she hadn’t been allowed to take the microphone. The aide responds, “Who cares? In 48 hours no one will even remember who she is.”
It’s been a long, long 48 hours. But four years after Palin took the stage and wowed the nation while Alaskans sat in shock, gaping at their TVs and thinking “But, she didn’t say thanks but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere,” Palin may finally, at long last, be crossing that bridge.