Barack Obama, Mitt Romney — September 1, 2012 at 9:10 am

The GOP’s Enduring Clint Eastwood Problem


The unforgiven

Last night Bill Maher defended Clint Eastwood’s performance at the Republican National Convention. “He killed,” Maher said, pointing out that we’re always saying how scripted and dull conventions are. Here was an unscripted, unpredictable moment where a man and a chair brought great mirth to the convention goers.

Maher knows firsthand that making strangers laugh is nearly as difficult as making Mitt Romney seem anatomically correct. But he’s overestimating how difficult it is to get Republicans to laugh at President Obama. Hit a few keywords they’ve all been trained to accept as punch lines – teleprompter, golf, Biden – and the laughs follow. The fact that Clint is a huge star from liberal Hollywood who growls only made it easier.

The GOP did a huge favor for the President by making Eastwood the star of Mitt Romney’s biggest night. The right’s only hope is scaring up enough young people, women and minorities to make their huge advantages with married white people mean anything. Clint Eastwood sums up why that’s looking as unlikely as Christine O’Donnell ever being elected to anything.

Eastwood was mostly incoherent on the issues, messing up facts, blaming the President for things Bush and the Republicans did. Eastwood himself is pro-choice, pro-marriage equality. Why he opposes the president seems entirely tied to a personal grudge, an economy the GOP broke and won’t help fix and antipathy toward how other people feel about Obama.

Here’s why Clint Eastwood is a huge problem for the GOP: They meant to create a parody of Obama. Instead they created a parody of a Romney voter.

Thank you, Mr. Eastwood. You haven’t been this good since you directed Mystic River.