I just watched Clint Eastwood’s convention speech again, and it came across a lot better second time around. When I watched it live it had seemed more disjointed; but that was around 3 a.m. UK time this morning. I was forcing myself to stay awake for Romney’s speech, and I was also following Twitter as Eastwood was speaking, so I wasn’t fully paying attention. When I watched it properly — as most of the television audience would have done last night — it made perfect sense, while being undeniably off the wall.
There was still that part around the middle where Eastwood was briefly incoherent, and it does make for slightly uncomfortable viewing. But watching the Democrats crowing on Twitter and the blogosphere today I’d begun to fear that perhaps the speech had been as big a disaster as they were claiming. It wasn’t.
Eastwood’s skit was all the more engaging for its spontaneity and the occasionally rambling delivery. As Richard Fernandez says on the home page, “It wasn’t the speech of someone who was running for office.” You got the feeling Eastwood was doing this a little reluctantly, out of a sense of duty, in stark contrast to the Hollywood liberals who never miss an opportunity to engage in self-righteous grandstanding and brag of their intimacy with President Obama — “hot-dogging it,” in Clint-speak.
At the moment, however, the nearest thing the Democrats have to star quality for next week’s convention in Charlotte is Eva Longoria, the former Desperate Housewives actress who’s also the face of L’Oréal and, most recently, cat food. Her speech is sure to be polished and teleprompted; it’s also sure to be predictable, tediously earnest, and have little appeal beyond the convention hall and Latino special interest groups (Longoria is an immigration activist, and a budding constitutional scholar).
In the meantime liberals are whistling past the graveyard, claiming that Eastwood’s convention turn has somehow damaged the Romney campaign and handed the Democrats an advantage. But do they really think undecided voters might be put off supporting the GOP ticket because a movie legend isn’t quite as eloquent as he used to be? On the contrary, it’s likely that his message will have resonated with many swing voters, the delivery notwithstanding.
Typical of the attacks on Eastwood was Michael Moore’s in the Daily Beast, in which Moore claims to represent “the American mainstream” in the same breath as mocking an 82-year-old national icon. That combination of tone-deafness and spitefulness is a hallmark of liberalism, and it’s become a feature of the Obama administration — and it’s why I suspect Eastwood will have the last laugh in November.