The footage of Eastwood rambling and mumbling to his "Harvey"—President Obama—will be played to audiences a hundred years from now as the Most Bizarre Convention Moment Ever. The people of the future will know nothing about Dirty Harry or Josey Wales or Million Dollar Baby. They will know about the night a crazy old man hijacked a national party's most important gathering so he could literally tell the president to go do something to himself (i.e. fuck himself). In those few moments (and these days, it only takes a few moments—see Anthony Weiner), he completely upended and redefined how he'll be remembered by younger and future generations....Who won't watch the video now? Most people didn't watch the convention and therefore didn't see the speech in its context, within which it was anomalous. Eastwood wasn't speechifying to the huge crowd from a teleprompted script. He was seemingly speaking straight from his head — you know, the illusion actors know how to create. It had an intimacy and riskiness that you just don't expect from a convention stage. That's what made it so much fun for people who are rooting for Romney, but it also the invited ridicule from those who want Obama to win.
Accepting that invitation is taking the bait. And look what is happening. Millions of folks who didn't bother watching the convention are watching Eastwood's performance out of the context within which it was anomalous. They're watching viral video.
You expect viral video to be surprising and weird in some way. And the intimacy and riskiness of the performance is cool in the context of a little window on your computer. You listen to exactly what Clint says as you hang in there waiting for it to be as crazy as the Obama promoters are claiming. And you have whatever love for Clint Eastwood you happen to bring to this little project of watching a viral video. And there is a lot of love out there. These people are throwing hate at a guy you have loved, so, okay, let's see what's so terrible.
Should Obama supporters be spreading this viral video? Should they want the moderate undecideds of the country sitting at their computers attending to lines like:
But — you know about — I remember three and a half years ago, when Mr. Obama won the election. And though I was not a big supporter, I was watching that night when he was having that thing and they were talking about hope and change and they were talking about, yes we can, and it was dark outdoors, and it was nice, and people were lighting candles.Imagine some uncommitted voter clicks on the embedded video, predisposed to laugh at the crazy old man, and then — alone at the computer — encounters the beloved elder talking about things that have made him cry. They might not laugh. They might be drawn in by Eastwood's performance. They might not take direction from people like Moore who've instructed them to mock. That uncommitted voter might prefer the direction of the far greater director, Clint Eastwood.
They were saying, I just thought, this was great. Everybody is trying, Oprah was crying.
I was even crying. And then finally — and I haven’t cried that hard since I found out that there is 23 million unemployed people in this country.
Now that is something to cry for because that is a disgrace, a national disgrace, and we haven’t done enough, obviously — this administration hasn’t done enough to cure that. Whatever interest they have is not strong enough, and I think possibly now it may be time for somebody else to come along and solve the problem.
I thought of a new slogan: Putting the Mitt in uncommitted.