AP reported yesterday that Twitter was “instantly ablaze” with comments mocking Clint Eastwood’s bizarre presentation to the Republican convention that included an imaginary conversation with “President Obama” in an empty chair. The wire service said that a Twitter account called @InvisibleObama had 30,000 followers half a day later. But on Fox News, the pundits fell all over themselves praising Eastwood and, of course, attacking the left for good measure while they were at it. My vote for comment of the day goes to Laura Ingraham who called Eastwood “Don Rickles in American politics.”
AP also noted, “Backstage, stern-faced Romney aides winced at times as Eastwood’s remarks stretched on.”
CBS News reported,
As traffic on Twitter about the actor’s bizarre speech spiked, the Romney campaign rushed out a statement even as their candidate was delivering his acceptance speech.
“Judging an American icon like Clint Eastwood through a typical political lens doesn’t work,” the statement said. “His ad-libbing was a break from all the political speeches, and the crowd enjoyed it.”
Coincidentally, those same sentiments were echoed repeatedly on Fox the next day.
Of the shows we saw, going chronologically, let's start with Fox News contributor Janine Turner on America Live. She called Eastwood’s performance “fantastic!” and “very, very important.” She added, “He’s an actor! He’s gonna say things and do things a little bit quirky and different. But what he said is that we own our country and that politicians are our employees. That’s, that’s brilliant! It needed to be said.”
Guest host Alisyn Camerota initially questioned whether Eastwood had been “appropriate for the moment.” But later, she noted his age of 82 and then prompted asked, “Does he deserve a bit of a pass if his delivery was sometimes uncomfortable or awkward?”
Predictably, Turner thought so. “We should be applauding this. The liberals? They’re going to be ugly because they’re scared! Because Clint Eastwood walked on that stage and endorsed Mitt Romney!”
Next up: Mike Huckabee on Your World.
After playing a clip of MSNBC pundits panning Eastwood, host Neil Cavuto said, “Maybe we were at different conventions. This was a silly thing, it wasn’t meant to be this great cerebral moment.”
Huckabee called Eastwood “a great American” who “loves this country.” Nevertheless, even he seemed to struggle for words to describe the bizarre performance. “I thought it was, you know…” His voice trailed off. Then he added, “It was Clint Eastwood, for God’s sake.”
Cavuto argued that Eastwood’s teleprompter had “gone down” and he was forced to “wing it.” For the record, CBS News reported:
One Republican official told CBS News political director John Dickerson said Eastwood was not scripted because they didn’t want to “rein in his creativity.” But when asked after the speech, a senior Romney adviser rolled his eyes, and acknowledged “it was a distraction.” One they couldn’t turn off.
Finally, on The O’Reilly Factor, Geraldo Rivera had a vastly different take. He didn’t mince words as he called Eastwood’s speech “buffoonery” and said that it detracted from Romney’s “terrific… strong and humane” speech.
But before he got a chance to say a word, guest host Laura Ingraham preempted his criticisms with a positive spin: “I loved Clint Eastwood from beginning to end. Because it had everyone on edge. It was an unscripted moment in a buttoned-up convention… and it drove the left absolutely bonkers… I loved every minute of it.”
Rivera retorted, “If you’re going to do stand up comedy, you have to have good writing… I thought it was dreadful.”
Ingraham said Eastwood is a jazz pianist “so he’s up there improvising.” She called him a “warm up” for Marco Rubio. Then she added, “This is Don Rickles in American politics.”
The only problem, Foxies? America doesn’t see it the way you do.
The complete Eastwood speech is the first video below, followed by the three Fox News segments discussing it.
I’ve always seen Sabato presented as a political science professor and he comments on politics, polling, etc. I’ve never seen him on Fox talking about Italy. After all, America is so exceptional, they never have time to talk about any other country… except Mexico and Iran.
I see him as the foxies’ their go-to guy for a supposedly outsider’s opinion and he’s often called on to talk about the USA over here. He seems to have a dual role as an authority on Italy over there (perhaps because of his name) and on the USA over here. We have far better commentators on Italy, mostly because they actually live here and get their information from all possible sources. Sabato clearly got his from the establishment during the previous administration.
Anyway, I was surprised to read that Sabato had dissed the performances both of Eastwood and Romney, even though he then brushed both cases aside as irrelevant. He’s also not on the same page as Fox with regard to the % of people still undecided. IMO, yet more traces of rebellion in the ranks as the fox faithful increasingly realise how unfair and unbalanced (aka loony) their favourite channel can and has always been.
Bemused aka Pollyanna (=ever hopeful)
Can’t find the “like” button anywhere.
Will Prof. Sabato be less than welcome on Fox in the near future? Stay with us to find out (though we won’t even try to speculate on the fear-inducing effect that might have on your life).
I recall Sean had a temper tantrum after Eastwood’s “Halftime in America” Super Bowl ad; he and other wingnut noisemakers thought the lifelong Republican committed an act of betrayal by supporting the President — to the point where Eastwood had to issue a public denial afterwards.
What ya wanna bet Hannity will find Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair for more than 5 minutes over his allotted time “a display of thespian brilliance”?
Guess what, repubs — not only is that seat taken, it’s reserved another four years . . .
If Screech Owl Ingraham thinks that Eastwood was funny, she would laugh her skanky ass off at a Alzheimers treatment home.
As it turned out he was a better actor than the Americans had thought, and the benefits of participating in genuinely witty films have clearly worn off as the years passed. He was rather more vulgar than witty, but older folks in the audience clearly appreciated the vulgarity. Pitiful and hence not worthy of further note. Paraphrasing an old saying: “Let doddering old farts lie”.