On a More Serious Note, Eastwood Was Rambling and Confused
Clint Eastwood broke a cardinal rule of speech making: never ever ever upstage the person you have been asked to introduce.
Ostensibly Eastwood, 82, was to introduce Mitt Romney so that he could give his acceptance speech.
But in between his opening “Save some for Mitt” (in response to the ovation greeting him on stage) to his closing as choir leader (as the crowd chants “make my day”) lay a ramble of a speech.
Writing in Salon, Willa Paskin argues, “In 10 years, this is the speech we will remember.”
Why will we remember it?
The ramble, memorable because of the empty chair beside him?
The ramble, memorable because it had no coherency?
The ramble, memorable because of Twitter and #eastwooding?
Paskin succinctly describes the confused nature of the speech:
… Eastwood wasn’t actually hewing all that closely to Republican talking points. Eastwood thinks Obama shouldn’t close down Gitmo, not because it’s essential to national security, but because “we’ve spent so much money on that.” OK! Eastwood harshed on Obama for not “consulting the Russians” about getting involved in Afghanistan as though Obama started that war. He took shots at the president for driving around in a gas-guzzling jet when he’s supposed to be “ecological,” as though Republicans believe climate change is a real thing. He insulted Obama for being a lawyer, forgetting that Romney has a law degree too.
Eastwood did make one of the GOP talking points:
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. Whenever 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.
Here’s the unemployment rate, a better measure than absolute numbers because the population is always increasing. It’s not without faults, but it is the best we have:
Added: I’m certainly not going to say that with 23 million people out of work that we have reached full employment, so sorry. But the movement in employment data is in the right direction. And yes, I know personally that having two part-time jobs does not necessarily equal a full-time job. We don’t have good stats on underemployment (that I know of), some of which is related to the economy, some to spendthrifts (salaries in education) and some to the disruption of computer technology.
In the fourth quarter of 2008, the U.S. economy crashed at an 8.9% annual rate. At that pace, we would have lost an entire Canadian economy in a year. We lost 800,000 jobs in January… the next quarter reflected the biggest improvement in jobs in 30 years. The economy was still weak, but it was no longer grotesque.
[T]he top economic forecasters agree that at its peak the stimulus added between 2% and 4% to the GDP, the difference between contraction and growth, and saved or created about 2.5 million jobs.
Last year, Republicans asked the Federal Reserve to just say no to a new monetary stimulus. (Added: You can read Paul Krugman on Paul Ryan, Atlas Shrugged and monetary policy for one of the GOP arguments.)
[T]he board should resist further extraordinary interventions in the U.S. economy, particularly without a clear articulation of the goals of such a policy, direction for success, ample data proving a case for economic action and quantifiable benefits to the American people.
We have serious concerns that further intervention by the Federal Reserve could exacerbate current problems or further harm the U.S. economy.
Clint Eastwood’s rambling speech to the Republican National Convention did make his day in one respect: it helped redeem the legendary actor from criticism over his appearance in Chrysler’s Super Bowl commercials.
But it was still a confusing ramble.
And if the man can’t do improv, then why wasn’t the speech scripted and vetted?