Roger L. Simon

Dateline Tampa: It's Clint! (Is Hollywood Really Conservative??)

Has Mitt Romney been upstaged on his big night?

Well, sure, but so what?

It’s by Hollywood’s biggest star — Clint Eastwood — the newly announced mystery speaker for the last night of the convention (speaking before Marco Rubio and the candidate himself).

Biggest star, you say, raising your eyebrow a twitch? Well, think about it. Who on the other (liberal) side would have the heft Eastwood has to address a presidential convention? Tom Hanks? Steven Spielberg? Rosemary Clooney’s little nephew?

Small potatoes next to Clint, who besides being the best director in town, is out of old Hollywood when it comes to larger-than-life dimensions. Only Jack Nicholson on the liberal side (if he is a liberal — who knows with Jack?) has the size to command a hall that way. But everyone knows that Nicholson is, well, not exactly the guy for a presidential campaign. It would be, to use an old phrase, reefer madness.

And … as everyone knows … Clint recently appeared as the halftime star of the Super Bowl in a commercial, viewed by some (not by Eastwood himself evidently), as an endorsement of Obama. Well, checkmate. Clint arrives in Tampa to set things straight.

Hollywood conservatives used to complain that, yeah, Eastwood was one of us but he never really does anything about it. This should end that. Bang. It’s the Hollywood liberals who now should be shivering in their bourgeois fuddy-duddy boots. They’re not the cool guys anymore. Backfield in motion, as the old song goes. The world changed, only it was hope and change.

Now, about Mitt Romney in all of this: I don’t know about you, but after four years of the Narcissist-in-Chief, I’m more than ready for a man with the self-confidence to take a back seat to others once in a while, first to an extraordinarily gifted young Paul Ryan and now to craggy old Clint who looks more presidential than any real president we ever had except for maybe George Washington.

I have to admit, I originally thought this convention was going to be dull, and made the slog from L.A. to Tampa mostly out of professional duty.

Boy, was I wrong!