Two Cheers for Clint Eastwood

By lambert strether

Here are two Wordles from the last night of the RNCon. Which do you think is Romney, and which do you think is Eastwood? Spoiler alert: Click the image to enlarge and find out.

The Wordle on on the left — the one with “think” and “know”? — is Eastwood. And yes, the rumors are true: Eastwood really did use “bifurcating.” Twice. Also too “Gitmo.” Once. I wonder how many times Obama will use either of those two words in his speech?

All of which suggests to me that Eastwood’s speech was a little more interesting than the torrent of meme-age instantly emitted from the cubes at Prudential Center in Chicago would suggest; I watched Eastwood live, and I found “the one humanly interesting moment of the convention” refreshing. So, first, I want to look a little at Eastwood’s speech; and then I want to look at the reaction of one D apparatchik to it.

So, leaving the famous chair aside — and though it’s not a bad riff, it’s a riff that only the Ron Paul types Romney purged from the party would be likely to run with — what are some of the things Eastwood actually says? Here’s one of the many interesting questions Eastwood raises:

[EASTWOOD:] So, Mr. President, how do you handle promises that you have made when you were running for election, and how do you handle them? I mean, what do you say to people? … I know even people in your own party were very disappointed when you didn’t close Gitmo …

Somehow, I doubt we’re going to hear Gitmo mentioned in Charlotte, or by Romney, for that matter, showing again, if it needs to be shown, how close Obama and Romney really are. Apparently, only an “old mumbly guy … hearing voices in his head,” as Lord Kos gracefully puts it,** would be so gauche as to raise such a topic. (Of course, when our guy does whatever, name it, it’s OK, so everything’s jake!) Here’s more from Eastwood:

[EASTWOOD:] [Y]ou thought the war in Afghanistan was OK. You know, I mean — you thought that was something worth doing. We didn’t check with the Russians to see how did it — they did there for 10 years. But we did it, and it is something to be thought about, and I think that, when we get to maybe — I think you’ve mentioned something about having a target date for bringing everybody home. You gave that target date, and I think Mr. Romney asked the only sensible question, you know, he says, “Why are you giving the date out now? Why don’t you just bring them home tomorrow morning?”

Not scripted, ad libbed, ums and ahs, yadda yadda yadda, and so what? Once again, it takes a loveable old coot like Eastwood — which is how this flap would be playing if Eastwood had given the same speech at the DNCon to an empty chair named Romney — to raise a question that neither candidate and neither legacy party will raise. I mean, if we won Iraq, where was the victory parade? And if there’s a reason to stay in Afghanistan, what is it? Afghanistan, graveyard of empires, and that. Bottom line for me is that both legacy parties now hate the guy, although for different reasons, which to me implies he’s worth taking seriously.

Which brings me to how the D apparatchiks reacted to the Eastwood speech, and forget the yammering about “disaster” because that’s what they would say. Here’s Rachel Maddow, doyenne of career “progressives” everywhere:

Now, from one perspective, “Rachel”‘s segment is excellent, and you should listen to it. She gives a lucid explanation of why national political conventions organize speaking slots as they do, since prime time TV exposure is a scarce resource. She explains the various media genres that the campaigns employ, like the heartwarming candidate bio videos (which really do work; when I was younger and much more naive, “The Man from Hope” really touched me). And yet… “Rachel”‘s segment clocks in at 8:21, and although no empty chair appears in the MSNBC studio, “Gitmo” and “Afghanistan” aren’t mentioned once. Or the “23 million” unemployed, which Eastwood also ad libbed about. In fact, what Eastwood actually said wasn’t even a topic of discussion. “Rachel”‘s focus was exclusively technical, even technocratic.***

To adopt another perspective, let’s label “Rachel”‘s style of technocratic discourse Inside Baseball. Much as baseball fans endlessly dissect statistics, trades, management decisions, Hall of Famers, etc., so D otaku generate endless permathreads on D sites — especially Kos, but it’s pervasive — on polling, messaging, positioning, money raising, phone campaigns, petition campaigns, advertising, who’s ahead or behind in this or that district, and on and on and on. But Inside Baseball isn’t for players; it’s for fans. Clue stick, guys: The operatives who are paid have these matters well in hand. They’re playing baseball; you’re playing rotisserie baseball.

That makes the entire Inside Baseball discourse a giant time sink, a cancer, an exercise in “Look! Over there!” After all, when everybody’s talking about how Eastwood hosed the Romney campaign because he misused a prime time slot, nobody’s talking about Gitmo, Afghanistan, or 23 million unemployed, are they? (There are entire lists of what we’re not talking about.)

And wasn’t that the real story? That, for one brief moment, a speaker turned human asked some questions that both candidates, and both parties, find very unpleasant?

Hey, when the Ds counter-strike and bring out Betty White for her star turn in Charlotte — kidding! — maybe she can bring up single payer? Or take a stand that not one penny should be cut from Social Security, Medicare, Food Stamps, or an other social insurance program?

As long as she gets the timing right?

NOTE * The spectacle of Romney’s campaign staffers running to the Times to leak their stories and save their reputations, if any, isn’t edifying either (assuming the quotes aren’t fabricated, a la the late, great Judy Miller). Further, if the staffers thought they’d have jobs after Election Day, presumably they wouldn’t be doing that, especially on the day after their boss got coronated. Do they know something we don’t?

NOTE ** There’s a good deal of strategic hate management for elders running through the D anti-Eastwood meme-age. Useful when it comes time to throw the elders we all will one day be under the bus in a Grand Bargain!

NOTE *** The attitude reminds me of the argument often made in the 2008 D primaries that Obama was best qualified to be President because of the excellence of his campaign organization. Besides the obvious question today — “How’s that workin out for ya?” — the argument seems premised on a category error in the same class as “The government is like a household,” or “The government should be run like a business.” In reality, the government is not a type of household, a type of business, or a type of political campaign, no matter how much reactionaries, business persons, and campaign operatives, respectively, would like it to be.

NOTE I don’t pretend to know what was in Eastwood’s mind; all I’m doing is looking at what he said. Which the Inside Baseball types oddly, or not, just don’t get around to doing. I also don’t know if Romney asked the “sensible question” that Eastwood attributes to him; it sure doesn’t read like Romneyspeak, though. Still, it’s the question that matters, right? Not who asks it?

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. dearieme

    It seems likely to me that Iraq has been a defeat for the US, but it’s hard to be sure since it’s quite unclear what the devil the purpose was. Anyway, defeat or draw, it was an appallingly dim thing to do.

    As for Afghanistan, a punitive expedition wasn’t necessarily a stupid idea, but a decade-long war of occupation certainly was. O has to share the blame with W for that. Announcing the date for the retreat is truly cretinous, and that’s O’s doing.

    There are two reasons why the US should massively reduce its armed forces. (i) To save money. (ii) To reduce the temptation for the adolescent-in-office frivolously to invade other countries.

    1. ebear

      Sometimes all you need is a map. Not one of those mercator projections like we had in grade school – a real map showing major oil basins, pipelines and shipping routes. It really is that simple.

      He who controls the spice…..

    2. YankeeFrank

      I think the “War Nerd” answered the question of who won the Iraq war best — “whoever wasn’t involved”.

      And yes, its been obvious for a long time that the reason our media stars focus on the “inside baseball” technical crap is just so that they can studiously avoid talking about the actual issues that both parties have no answers for. This election is the fist in my lifetime where the things that actually matter to people are either not talked about at all or talked about in such superficial and infantile ways that people are just tuning out. Everyone with any sense knows neither party has any answer to the jobs and economy questions; and people a bit smarter than that know its precisely because the pols are beholden to a class for which those questions are already resolved. The fact that incomes have dropped significantly over the past 4 years is just what Obama ordered — because he, and the Washington consensus he worships before, believe that is the true answer to the problem of jobs flowing out of the country. Its a feature not a bug, as the saying goes. They have so completely sold the “globalization” con they would never dream of protecting American workers from Chinese slave labor. The fact that this race to the bottom in wages is a recipe for massive economic instability, war, mass uprisings, etc., is also a feature that will allow the plutocracy to totally cement their control through the final implementation of the police state. Now we know why the NDAA was passed, and why the surveillance state and militarization of the police has been so effectively carried out. The problem, in short, with our two parties is that they are both rather insane and completely immoral. Obama and the dems may appear more sane in some ways but this is just appearance. They strongly support the global elite and have chosen to sacrifice us for their own supposed safety. Of course if the feces really does hit the fan their arrogance will not save them, and neither will their secret bunkers and private airplanes.

      What other excuse can they possibly have for not even trying to alleviate the problems in our economy and society? And while we argue over whether Romney is a robot or can he channel the likeness of a human being, Obama has the act totally down. He will be reelected because he is much better situated to enact the will of the plutocracy. Its that simple. Of course because its that simple “smart” people won’t believe it until its too late.

    3. James Shannon

      “The Big Issues….” Never ever talked About! THE REAL ELEPHANT IN ThE LIVING ROOM
      There is only one issue and it will never be discussed by the Media or any Fbombing Politician or political party!
      Like Fight Club we never talk about the real cost we all are paying, by allowing them to keep doing what the wealthy have always done with the money We The People allow them to keep!
      Clearly – CENTAMILLIONAIRE$ AND BILLIONAIRE$ need to be taxed out of existence – how “WE The People” execute that fact is what “We The People” should be talking about!
      Political parties continue to insure that won’t happen!
      The obvious conclusion is that Politicians are all owned by CENTAMILLIONAIRE$ AND BILLIONAIRE$ and “We The People” are a Nation of slaves to greed and the corruption of the Republic!
      This is not a Democracy – never has been and never will be!!

    4. liberal

      As for Afghanistan, a punitive expedition wasn’t necessarily a stupid idea, but a decade-long war of occupation certainly was.


      1. optimader

        More resources and technology dont neccesarily ensure a good outcome to an ignorant plan

        “History, with all her volumes vast, hath but one page”
        ~Lord Byron

        “…The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honor. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiques are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It is a disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure. We are today not far from a disaster. How long will we permit millions of pounds, thousands of Imperial troops, and tens of thousands of Arabs to be sacrificed on behalf of colonial administration which can benefit nobody but its administrators?”
        ~ August 22, 1920, written by former Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence (AKA Lawrence of Arabia)

      2. knowbuddhau

        How do you call yourself “liberal” and condone a “punitive expedition”? Especially against a country that didn’t attack us?

        10 years on, and soi disant “liberals” still don’t have a freakin’ clue.

        Real men go to Riyadh

        Obama still says Afghanistan is a “war of necessity” – because of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Wrong. The Bush administration had planned to attack Afghanistan even before 9/11. See Get Osama! Now! Or else … Asia Times Online, August 30, 2001 [].)

        “War of necessity” is a polite remix of the same old neo-conservative “war on terror”; blame it on the “towelheads” and exploit public ignorance and fear. That’s how al-Qaeda was equated with the Taliban and how Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11, according to the neo-con gang.

        For all his lofty rhetoric, Obama is still pulling a Bush, not making any distinction between al-Qaeda – an Arab jihadi outfit whose objective is a global caliphate – and the Taliban – indigenous Afghans who want an Islamic emirate in Afghanistan but would have no qualms in doing business with the US, as they did during the Bill Clinton years when the US badly wanted to build a trans-Afghan gas pipeline. On top of it, Obama cannot admit that the “Pak” neo-Taliban now exist because of the US occupation of “Af”.

        Taking pains to distance his new policy from the Vietnam trauma, Obama stressed, “Unlike Vietnam, the American people were viciously attacked from Afghanistan.” Wrong. If the official narrative of 9/11 holds, the hijackers were trained in Western Europe and perfected their skills in the US.

        And even while he still emphasizes the drive to “disrupt, dismantle and defeat” al-Qaeda and deny it a “safe haven”, Obama is fully contradicting his own national security advisor, General James Jones, who has admitted that there are fewer than 100 al-Qaeda jihadis in Afghanistan.

        The myth of al-Qaeda has to be exposed. How could al-Qaeda pull off 9/11 but be incapable of mounting a single significant attack inside Saudi Arabia? That’s because al-Qaeda is essentially a thinly disguised brigade of Saudi intelligence. The US wants to win “the war on terror”? Why not send special forces to Saudi Arabia instead of Afghanistan and knock the Wahhabis – the root of it all – out of power? [Vietnam-lite is unveiled, Pepe Escobar, Asia Times Online 3 December 2009, .]

        Obama’s Vietnam-lite

      3. bhikshuni

        Decades-long-ness is all about nuke-armed Pakistan, not Afghanistan as such.

        President O once upon a time had a Pak-portfolio, did he not?

        Don’t expect Nato countries to cede Afghanistan to the open market anytime soon.

    5. bhikshuni

      “It seems likely to me that Iraq has been a defeat for the US, but it’s hard to be sure since it’s quite unclear what the devil the purpose was.”

      Everyone gets to keep driving their SUVs mindlessly while the gas/oil companies also get their way in keeping supplies open, charging more for the product, and opening Keystone to move oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. (Americans will pay more for it that way, competing with the ‘invisible hand’ of the market for it”

  2. Skippy

    What was Clint thinking during the speech?

    Skippy… hope to gawd the gulfwing in fired up on the tarmac and ready to fook this gig, bye… bye… Check please!

    PS. Same thing he did at El Toro and other acting jobs…

    1. psychohistorian

      Clint’s son is an accomplished jazz bassist. Clint even whistles in one song on his son’s album.

      Clint’s just trying to whistle us past our own grave……..

    2. Warren Celli

      The corporate election scam, suffering from lack of attention by the corn hole weary public, ordered the RNC to put out bids to Hollywood and its stars to re-inspire the rubes. Grossly overpaid narcissistic corporate culture shaping tool, Clint Eastwood, won out with his scripted talking to a chair gig.

      Clint beat out Maury Povich. Maury , who wanted to do DNA tests of Romney’s kids that show that Mitt — not Paul Ryan — is the real father, was a close second.

      Chuck Norris submitted a Chun Crap Do skit where he would have Chun Crap Do chopped a fake anti war protester, who was to have run on to the stage screaming “You corporate butt sucking fuckers!” and throw the fake protester into the audience. The skit was actually considered more exciting than Clint’s chair bit, but turned down by the RNC as being too self promotional for Chuck.

      Next election cycle they want to do something with cheap animatronic robots.

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  3. Jim A.

    The chair wasn’t really the problem. After all “one side of a conversation” is a fairly common comedy setup. Shelly Berman and Bob Newhart are both justifiably famous for it, although they style it as a phone conversation, with their hand to their ear rather than use a chair. If it had been done well, this could have been quite funny. And while I DO take your point that the topics covered were more interesting than those of most of the speeches, the delivery was still a halting, confused and nearly incoherent mess. The main lesson that I draw is that improv is hard.

      1. propertius

        He’d have used the somewhat more appropriate “empty suit”, but he didn’t have anyplace to hang it.

    1. ggm

      An actor who still had to regularly audition for parts would have made that chair monologue work. What we witnessed was the result of decades of Eastwood being able to cast himself in his own movies, now resting on his laurels. A fitting metaphor for both legacy parties.

      1. Stan Musical

        Great point. We have millions of good actors in this country, but watch the same dozen over and over. Millions of great musicians, but we’re made to listen to the same ones and the same songs over and over, some times for decades.

        Millions of bright hard-working people, but many waste their lives making a select few filthy rich.

        We had millions of stores, but now we get all of our stuff from the same dozen. We don’t go to the grocery store, we go to Safeway. We don’t go to the pharmacy, we go to Vons….

        Millions of smart, ethical, hard-working, caring people, but we hand over the future of our world to the same handful of–some exceptions aside–narcissists, sociopaths, and lying greed/power-mongers year after year.

        This is our freedom, 2012: Pepsi or Coke.

        1. pws

          Eastwood will soon be dead, but he has had an interesting career. It’s important to remember, his big success came from being an American actor in Italian Westerns. Weirdly, being Italian, these Westerns had a somewhat Hard Left orientation, especially Fistful of Dollars, which was basically Dashiell_Hammett’s Red Harvest set in the Old West. Hammett was a great old Commie, and was imprisoned and blacklisted in the United States. So, Clint Eastwood’s career making film, which lead to his other Man with No Name roles, which led to Dirty Harry was the brainchild of a blacklisted Communist who wouldn’t have been able to sell the script to any American studio while the blacklist was in place.

  4. Max424

    Good points Lambert.

    Rachel’s Inside Bullshit really is a lot like sport’s reporting. The only difference is, I want to know that my town’s offensive line coach was out whiskey boozing the night before a big game, and that’s why blocking assignments where missed by our leaderless guards and tackles, and those missed assignments led directly to our prized young phenom quarterback being killed.

    I want the details. What was the guilty fucker drinking? Was it bourbon, or rye? When is the funeral? How soon can I join the tens of thousands of mourners in filing past the open(?) coffin of our late QB, whose body now lies in state … at the 50 yard line? Or is it in one of our end zones?… of our 1 billion dollar tax-payer funded coliseum?

    As a avid sports fan, highly detailed reporting like this has great meaning in my life. As a longtime political animal, Rachel’s nonsensical Inside Crap does not.

    Note I: I knew it was over for Rachel the first time (of many) she said. “I love this job!”

    Note II: When was the last time Glenn Greenwald was on Rachel Maddow Hour? I’d the to see the two diehard leftists* join in critiquing President Obama’s, Citizen Assassination Program (CAP!).

    *Well, one diehard leftist, anyway, and honorable chap, and one, hmm … not so much.

    1. Goin' South

      Funny you should bring up Greenwald.

      One place the significance of what Eastwood said wasn’t missed was Democracy Now. Goodman played the entire Eastwood bit and asked Greenwald to comment about the content. Yes, the content, particularly what was said about Gitmo and Afghanistan. (When was the last time you heard anyone on TV question whether going into Afghanistan was ever a good idea?)

      I’m happy to see that Lambert caught this as well, and laid it out so nicely on NC.

      No, the Kosites will never notice this, and Kos will do everything he can to divert them from it, including disparaging the old in his typically classless, clueless way.

      1. Synopticist

        Greenwald the Koch funded libertarian managed somehow to miss out on the biggest difference between Romney and Obama, being a Koch funded libertarian as he is.

        Taxes. And Spending. Who Pays. Income Distribution, and Redistribution. You know, the thing that Actually seperates Left from Right in the final analysis. Now, fair enough, in America it’s more like the differernce between centre right and hard right, but the difference is still vast, and if you are happy to ignore it, then you ain’t actually a Leftist AT ALL.

        You’re a Libertarian, like Greenwald the Koch funded libertarian.

        1. Goin' South

          How the Kosmopolitans hate Greenwald because he dares to speak the truth about the Holy Droner.

          As for my politics, I have no use for either Imperialism or Capitalism.

          Self-organization. Direct democracy. That’s the path to peace and justice.

          1. Synopticist

            I’ve read Daily Kos about 3 times in my entire existence.
            Most mainstream democrats are pussies and Obama’s one of the worst.

            I just prefer them to pretend-left libertarians who never talk about the real difference between left and right, tax, spending and income distribution. Being anti-drone doesn’t make anyone left wing. It needs alot more, and Glen Greenwald the Koch funded libertarian doesn’t cut it for me.

          2. James Cole

            Synopticist, Glenn Greenwald does not claim to be a leftist, or a libertarian. You’re reading into him claims that he does not make, and smearing him by association. He took Cato Institute money to do a study of drug legalization in Portugal–does that make him forever Koch-funded? You’re upset that he doesn’t focus on distribution, maybe that’s because he’s a lawyer, not an economist, and focuses on the justice system and erosion of constitutional values. In any event, you can come back and tell me how important the difference between the parties is when second-term Obama cuts Medicare and Social Security.

          3. psychohistorian

            Goin’ Sount sadi: “Self-organization. Direct democracy. That’s the path to peace and justice.”

            I AGREE!

            Can we just add that REASON must be the underpinning, not F. Beard’s FAITH?

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          I think the attitude that the sum of all truth can only be sought in a single faction is the cause of a lot of our problems.

          For myself, there are worse people to be associated with than Glenn Greenwald.

          UPDATE Adding… Another source of problems is the idea that politics is a two-dimensional spectrum (left, right) when in fact it’s a coordinate plane (at least).

          1. Synopticist

            Glen Greenwald IS a libertarian, yet plenty of people refer to him as a leftist. He’s not. And the Kooch brothers gave him the best gig of his life, which basically set him up financially and politically. He’s reciprocating by pretending there’s no real difference between dems and reps. Aiming this message very clearly at a left leaning audience.
            Which is transpaprent bullsh*t, if you care about stuff like taxes, govt services, income distribution, who pays for everything etc etc.
            ( not that I think the dems are great, they’re not. They’re just not positvelly evil, unlike the other lot.)

            And sure, politics isn’t ONLY left and right. But it is MAINLY about left and right, it always has been, and it always will be. And don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

        3. 3CPO

          No matter how many times Glenn Greenwald(PBUH) has answered these accusations, liars like yourself continue to spread your god damned lies. He can’t be everywhere so I’ll give it a shot and paste part of another response he gave to Erik Loomis, who after numerous corrections continues his secondary function in life as smear merchant.

          Not only is your claim that ” he is basically a libertarian on economic issues” absolutely false, but you know it’s false, since I provided you with all of the ample views of mine that disprove that claim, right on your own blog, in response to the same false claim you made there. I wrote:

          I’ve criticized Obama for:

          (1) proposing massive cuts to Social Security & Medicare (cuts I oppose);

          (2) negotiating away the public option for HCR to please the insurance lobby (a public option I supported);

          (3) proposing financial reform laws far too weak for Wall Street;

          (4) empowering numerous Wall Street-loyal officials such as Tim Geithner and Larry Summers;

          (5) spending so much on military and surveillance policies while creating and then succumbing to pressure to freeze government spending. . . .


          In response to your question about my views of unions, I wrote:

          “I’m a huge fan of the role unions have played and think it’s vital they be strengthened. I worked with SEIU and other unions to support pro-union primary challengers. I’m in favor of EFCA.” …

          “I’ve written about Obama’s efforts to cut SS and Medicare (which I oppose); the far-too-tepid Financial Reform law (which I argued should be stronger); the empowerment of Wall-Street-loyal officials like Geithner, Summers and countless Goldman, Sachs officials (whom I oppose); the need for public financing (which I vigorously support), and so many others.”

          For you, having read all of that, to then claim I’m ” basically a libertarian on economic issues” makes you nothing short of a liar.

          To brand someone a “libertarian on economic issues” who – as you know – opposes enitlement cuts, advocates for a public option in health care, urges greater regulatory restraints on Wall Street, condemns banker-subservient government officials, favors a transfer of military spending to domestic spending, wants a system of public financing for elections, and favors EFCA and more protections for unions requires a staggering degree of wilful dishonesty.

          Glenn Greenwald


          On Sun, Jun 17, 2012 at 7:48 PM, Erik Loomis wrote:

          If you yell more, I’m sure I’ll apologize. I recommend using all-caps.

          Cash any checks from Cato lately?


          …I wrote two papers for Cato – a major study on the success of drug decriminalization in Portugal, and one on the excesses of the Surveillance State: last I checked, neither issue has anything to do with “economic libertarianism,” and both are popular, defining causes in mainstream liberalism.

          I’m proud of both papers and the positions I argued, and trying to use them to justify your claim of my being an “ecomonic libertarian” is the rankest and most anti-intellectual form of guilt by association (Markos Moulitsas also wrote for Cato , so he must be an economic libertarian, too). […]

          make sure to include the fact that, in addition to writing for CATO, I was also a featured speaker last year at the annual Socialism Conference in Chicago, and will be again this year…

          I’ve cut out a lot. There are links in the text that I didn’t reproduce.

          1. Synopticist

            Read the link. Nothing in it to disprove my assertions. Where are all those articles about those trades union issues which he’s so passionate about?
            Where’s the fierce criticism of all those right wing ideas he apparently disparages?

            Thats just a guy asserting he’s not an economic libertarian. There’s nothing there, or in any of Greenwalds published works, which backs that assertion up. I call BS.

          2. 3CPO

            No, this is the part were you prove your statement with links. That’s how it works on the web and with science. You’re peddling garbage.

          3. Synopticist

            You’re asking me to dis-prove a negative.
            How do I provide links of GG NOT ranting about trades unions, or income inequality, or tax cuts for the rich?

            I could possibly dig you one out where Glenn obliquelly refers to his support for Citizens United, but it’s lunchtime here, aand i have stuff to do in a minute.

          4. Doug Terpstra

            Sorry Syn, 3CPO nailed you. Your absence of evidence is like Rummy’s lame attempt to prove WMDs: “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” That works on the general population but not at NC. Put up or shut up.

        4. RanDomino

          Taxes? I’m fairly certain people like Goin’ South are against them. After all, how can you tax property if it doesn’t exist; and how will the government carry out taxation if it doesn’t either?

    2. bhikshuni

      All this talk about sports metaphors is making me hanker after Keith Olbermann!

      Wonder how Current’s ratings have been keeping up?

  5. LeeAnne

    I was lucky -very. Having no intention of watching speeches of any kind, I was listening on the radio to John Batchelor when it was switched to Clint Eastwood at the convention.

    It was fabulous!! So funny!! He was fabulous. But IMO not for any of the reasons I’ve heard for or against Rachel Maddow types who BTW I listened to every day before she got bought out.

    As a fan of neither party who finds all the political players; the game itself, vomitous -I do care about the results and keep tabs thanks to blogs like NC -ridicule is appropriate. Ridicule on both their houses. And ridicule WORKS.

    Clint Eastwood did a fabulous job on that score. Now, if he will switch parties and do us all a favor on the next guy in, I might even watch some of his old movies.

    They all need ridicule.

    1. LeeAnne

      they all need TO BE ridiculed. I can just see an airport of people bursting out in laughter at these ridiculous TSA goons who have no authority from the people and answer to no one.

      -on signal, just start laughing at them. Things have gotten that bad.

      Being respectful, respectfully arguing -according to them -you’re just a jerk who deserves everything that has been robbed from you -your families, your communities, your loyalties -everything that makes life worth living. And they will continue. They’ve torn the heart and soul out of the population already but its still not too late.

      What else is there to do? As long as ‘we’ continue arguing on their terms, we lose. Its is WE who want to be civil. While THEY continue looting and raping. Who are they? How can we combat this staus quo where all the traidtional institutions of the country are overwhelmed by the new institutions of lying lyers, traitors, bank fraudsters, torturers, traitors, murderers, traitors, plunderers, traitors, theives, traitors, whiny little Posners, Greenspans, Geithners, Blankfeins, and Bernankes …

    2. Peter Pinguid Society

      LeeAnne: “they all need TO BE ridiculed”

      You mean like a parody of the 0.01 percent and their government lapdogs, or of Lloyd C. Bankster dealing with the corporate owned media?

      I already tried that approach, right here on this blog, in fact, and it doesn’t work either, that is, not unless you put up a blinking, flashing smiley that says: WARNING: THIS IS A PARODY!

      1. Goin' South

        You underestimate yourself. Lloyd and the exalted society postings are both funny and revelatory.

      2. LeeAnne

        No, I mean openly ridiculed as in ‘laughed out of power.’ They no longer deserve respectful argument because the bank fraudsters sit with the ivy tower parsing every word and throwing it back onto the public through their wholly owned media and think tanks specializing in lying and cheating. In the words of the great IOTB, working on deception 24/7 to cover up bank fraudster murdering, raping, destroying and pillaging all over the world in our name; owning and controlling everything on the board while working FULL TIME for only one purpose: to dominate the people who built this once great country wherever we’re not looking.

        And they are correct, you can’t fool all of the people all of the time; but you can certainly fool one group at a time in one location at a time when you control the bully pulpit and all of its outlets.

        1. LeeAnne

          and furthermore, the accusation that ‘the people’ are stupid and lazy. The opposite is true as with everything this criminal enterprise now does and says: the people are primarily DECENT. It is the decency of ‘the people,’ their willingness to abide by ‘rule of law’ that is being exploited by people who have largely foresworn rule of law for power.

          In the smallest card game, that’s called cheating. In some places, its worthy of being shot.

        2. propertius

          Seonded – “Lloyd’s” comments have often been one of the highlights of this blog. We haven’t seen enough of his “plutocrat perspective” lately.

      3. Ms G

        The Lloyd Bankster and Peter Pinguid Society posts are highlights in the NC discussion threads. Many of us “get” it and don’t need the “Parody Alert” sign!

        Keep up the excellent work. I think you should do little pamphlets of the Lloyd B. and Peter Pinguid “statements” to be widely circulated for free . . . kind of like pamphlets were during the Reformation + Counter Reformation in Europe. Only risk would be a sedition charge . . .

        1. LeeAnne

          Ms G, thanks for your prospective on what’s goin’ on here on the blog. I’ve only begun to notice that I don’t engage with others like PPS above -not really; proof positive that this life is only preparation for the next.

      4. Doug Terpstra

        To the exalted, honorable Sir Pinguid, Esquire, from one unworthy worm cowering beneath the soles of the huddled masses:

        Please do not stop skewering us with your rapist wit. It is essential that we contemptible dullards be made to understand our place in the divinely-ordained new world odor and that we be made to support without question the infallible righteousness of the neofeudal Untied States in its crusade against all-encompassing evildoers. Please do not deprive us of your enlightenment.

      5. Lambert Strether Post author

        No, no, PP, I disagree. I think your work is terrific, but deadpan parody is a tricky genre. Most people get it, some do not. Just keep polishing your riffs and all will get it. I don’t think that a huge blinking “PARODY” sign is needed, but maybe there does need to be an initial cue, as there is a final cue in your tagline. Perhaps a letterhead or salutation of some sort? (And if you’re doing that…. and I missed it… That’s a sign of the need for revision ;-)

          1. Peter Pinguid Society

            Well, you could just use the abbreviation HE, for His Eminence, although after today I might have to start using my real name, George Griffenfeld, Governor of Elsinore.

      6. Peter Pinguid Society

        To Ms G, Goin’ South, Doug Terpstra, and Lambert (without forgetting LeeAnne):

        Thanks for all your comments!

        “…In short, the vile slanders of my creeping opponents will inevitably fall back onto them and come to roost like a homing stool pigeon.”

        William S. Burroughs, “Naked Lunch”

        1. Ms G

          I think that the handles are cue enough! On the other hand, if you can find an icon of the “stool pidgeon” from the Naked Lunch quote, it would be a cute mascot :)

        2. LeeAnne

          Parody is wonderful for relief. Very entertaining and useful psychologically. Its also a sign of helplessness.

          Nobody does it better than Jon Stewart. How has it helped stem the tide of criminality. :)

          1. Peter Pinguid Society

            LeeAnne, it might be impossible for us to stem the tide of criminality or put an end to the reigning system of lies, no matter what we do, but this doesn’t mean we should give up, or stop trying.

            The strategist Sun Tzu recognized long ago that “advantage and danger are both inherent in maneuver.” And Clausewitz noted that “in war neither side is ever certain about the situation of the other. One must become accustomed to acting in accordance with general probabilities; it is an illusion to wait for a time when one will be completely aware of everything.”

            As for Jon Stewart, please, let’s not mention him!

            Not after that absurd Rally to Restore Vanity wankathon he sponsored in DC a couple of years ago! :)

  6. Expat

    When I read about the empty chair, I thought of Jimmy Carter and the League of Women Voters debate that he refused to participate in. That was effective political theater; might have cost him the election. Debating an empty chair when you haven’t — and wouldn’t — invite the other party only emphasizes the one-sidedness of your presentation. The Republicans so rarely fumble on the p.r.

  7. SteveLaudig

    Iraq I-regulation tie, loss in overtime
    Afghanistan-won the first quarter, loss
    Iraq II-loss, see Afghanistan
    Libya, losing pitcher [from a human rights point of view]
    Pakistan-lost [from all points of view]
    Iran-soon to be lost
    where have I missed in the USG war on the world.

    1. JEHR

      You could also mention American intervention in:

      Panama, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua, China, Mexico, Haiti, Texas, Russa, Yugoslavia, Turkey, El Salvador, Iran, Uruguay, Greece, Germany, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Egypt, Lebanon, Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia, Oman, Chile, Angola, Libya, Boliva, Liberia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Somalia, Bosnia, Zaire, Albania, Yemen

      Some interventions occurred more than once since 1900.


    2. Maximilien


      Korean, Vietnamese, Grenadanian, Panamanian, Libyan, Afghani, Iraqi, Pakistani. Hearts and minds. Lost. Lost forever.

    3. RanDomino

      Libya is better off than Iraq, and better off than it was, and will remain so as long as the militias don’t disarm (IMO the TNG is how the neoliberals plan to take control); and the few thousand people who were killed in the civil war were far, far less than could have been. Yes, war is rarely the best option; but, in this case, we should take it.

  8. SteveLaudig

    “Negroes” have long been invisible to Republicans. And, they like it that way. It was a very accurate presentation of how Republicans talk to African Americans, they are invisible and the Party of Lincoln hears only imagined answers. Ask a Republican the following question “What must a Muslim to do become a human being?” and get comfortable for an answer.

    1. Ned Ludd

      Ask Obama, “What must someone in Pakistan, Yemen, or Afghanistan do to avoid being blown to pieces by U.S. bombs,” and get comfortable waiting for an answer.

      He was there to join a protest about the plague of American ‘drones’ – the remote-controlled aircraft that have left a bloody trail of death and fury among the innocent villagers who struggle to earn a living in the unforgiving mountainous region.

      I was there to distribute digital cameras so that the people from Waziristan could record the damage and death caused by the drones, as part of a campaign to prove that innocent civilians are dying.

      Tariq, a keen amateur photographer, was given one of the cameras before he left to return home.

      Three days later he was dead. Like his cousin, who had died in April 2010 and whose identity card he clutched when we met, he was blown to pieces by a drone strike.

      Are the children of Al-Majala, whose bodies were shredded by Obama’s cluster bombs, visible to Democrats? Is the 16-year-old amateur photographer, blown to pieces by Obama’s drone in Pakistan, visible to you?

  9. Ned Ludd

    And wasn’t that the real story? That, for one brief moment, a speaker turned human asked some questions that both candidates, and both parties, find very unpleasant?

    Well said, Lambert. Liberals could have used Clint Eastwood’s speech to bring attention to the under-reported issues of war, unemployment, and civil liberties. They could have criticized the substance of Eastwood’s speech and pointed out that “modern Republican courage… is actually fear”. As Greenwald wrote: “Virtually every country in the world tries accused terrorists in its regular courts, in the cities where the attack happened.” These are the points that liberals could have pressed; this is the conversation we should have had.

    Instead, liberals exposed their own vapidity and moral bankruptcy by making it all about presentation. He wasn’t slick enough. Liberals now embrace vices that Orwell criticized and saw occurring in his own prose when he wrote without political purpose: “purple passages, sentences without meaning, decorative adjectives and humbug generally.

    1. Susan the other

      Agree. Thank you Lambert. Actually when Eastwood used the word bifurcate I got worried and thought he was losing his train of thought. He was talking about how we should never put a lawyer in the White House because they are trained to look at both sides of any problem. And then they parse meaning like they’re pruning an orchard. Which does describe Obama. But Clint’s questions about Afghanistan that were asked knowing they will never be answered are not necessarily brave or bold. Lambert is so right that this is only one question in a litany of things we are not talking about. National interests? I’ve come to my own conclusions about our appropriation of mideast oil. Cause nobody will talk about it until they get pissed enough to get fired.

      1. LucyLulu

        ” He was talking about how we should never put a lawyer in the White House because they are trained to look at both sides of any problem.”

        Does Eastwood realize that Romney has a law degree, too?

  10. YY

    It would appear Eastwood was disappointed with Obama for not closing Gitmo and extending war in Afghanistan. He clearly appears to not have a hell of a lot of respect for Biden.

    Otherwise he channeled Cheney via the stand-in chair to suggest the Republican Presidential candidate to fuck himself. This was no senile rant nor was it, in anything but style, rambling nonsense.

    The real surreal part of it was that the convention was so keyed and giddy that they cheered the bad news of the extent of unemployment, that is they applauded disaster.
    It is also surreal to see the famously reported but stray
    Cheney insult can be invoked and recognized by suggestion of “doing things to oneself”.

    Then the entire crowd goes crazy quoting Dirty Harry’s nastiness to a criminal (who happened to be black). A fantasy of how powerful one can be provided you’re on the right end of a Magnum.

    American political discourse is full of code and arcane cultural references. It is also a whole lot of shit.

    Very entertaining, however.

    1. patricia

      “…they cheered the bad news of the extent of unemployment, that is they applauded disaster.”

      Huh? They were cheering that someone would say it aloud. They can’t think it through to save their lives, but they aren’t glad about it. We are all humans suffering in this economy/culture.

      But I agree, this was no senile rant. And the (conservative) public loved it. It stood in for the humanizing bio of a person who cannot be made heart-warming no matter what is tried.

      1. YY

        The crowd reflexively cheered what they thought was example of Democrat failure. Eastwood’s statement was more subtle and literally more blameless. A crowd that gets excited at yelling “make my day” is more less punch drunk and not all that self aware and reflective. As were the entire media who were expecting an endorsement speech instead of performance art.

        I get the feeling that Eastwood is a liberal trapped inside what he mistakenly believes is a conservative philosophy. Some of the statements were pretty darn subtle, like giving Obama a pass for deciding to not have the “terrorist” trial in NYC.

        And what’s this business about “quote unquote businessman”?

        1. patricia

          Sure, the crowd thought it was largely due to Dem failure. You likely think it’s largely due to Repub failure. But that doesn’t mean that they (or you) cheer the poverty/indignity/injustice.

          “I get the feeling that Eastwood is a liberal trapped inside what he mistakenly believes is a conservative philosophy. Some of the statements were pretty darn subtle…”

          But subtle thinking isn’t the exclusive property of liberalism. It is possible to have basic facts correct and to have developed sophisticated (overlapping) answers that are different than traditional liberalism.

          The most useful thinking begins with the realization that both sides of the citizenry are being played by those who currently run the country–those who are neither conservative nor liberal but who adopt whatever belief-structure blows by, for as long as it serves their own greed. It is this small bunch that carries the destructive cynicism you feel, not Clint’s crowd.

          We are in this together. The least damaging way out is together. I reeeallllyyy want us to take that way.

  11. jerry

    Only in our twisted world would Clint’s speech be called bizarre and Romney’s performance normal. Did anyone actually listen to that plastic machine of a man try and present himself as having feelings and emotions? The Romney speech was so cringe-worthy and insane I could hardly watch it.

    Clint was right on, and forget the Gitmo and Afghanistan comments. He said this is OUR country, democrats, repubs, libertarians, whatever. These politicians are our employees who come around begging every couple years.. So f*ck them is the point, it is time for US to rise up and make this country work. Neither party is going to offer it up to us.

    His comment about Biden was also hilarious, “a grin with a body behind it”. The man is untouchable.

    Also, thanks for the term apparatchik, I cannot stand Rachel Maddow – a disgrace to the progressive cause.

    1. will

      The problem is Clint chose a side.

      One of two that does nothing for the people.

      And you’re right about Rachael Maddow.

      1. neo-realist

        Exactly, Clint to the best of my knowledge has never expressed any harsh criticism for the Bush/Cheney Cabal for the economic damage it’s caused nor the large loss of American life in Iraq and Afghanistan. His film roles posture him as a rugged independent, but his one sided words give him away as a player for the republican team.

      2. jerry

        Yes, it is unfortunate that Clint has chosen one of these “sides”, but I doubt he really pays that much attention to the content of the policies to begin with.

        But hell, how else do you get a voice in this country if it isn’t through one of these two parties? It is time for revolution!!

        Josey Wales was one of my all-time favorites.

  12. Mary Bess

    Clint Eastwood’s performance illustrates the terrible confusion in the minds of most people regarding politics. Good thing stars don’t have to audition.

  13. Ep3

    Heck yeah yves! I thought Clint’s speech was great. I agreed with a lot of what he said, in a roundabout way. And I am a extreme left librul.

  14. Naslau

    I was one who didn’t find the speech that terrible. But it was worthy of some ridicule. The term leave the comedy to the professionals comes to mind. And there was rambling.

    Aside from that, Eastwood said that Obama broke his promise of closing Guantanamo but the part he disagreed with was the promise not the breaking of it. He wants it open and to try the terrorists not in NYC. Nobody here agrees with him.

    Also, what sense does it make to complain about unemployment and support the guy who will make things worse? The same goes for supporting the guy who wants even more war than the guy you’re complaining about.

    One might make fun of the inside baseball but to praise Eastwood in anything he said other than getting out of the wars is ridiculous.

    1. liberal

      Also, what sense does it make to complain about unemployment and support the guy who will make things worse? The same goes for supporting the guy who wants even more war than the guy you’re complaining about.

      Completely agree. Eastwood is the quintessential “low information” voter.

    2. TK421

      “support the guy who will make things worse”

      Man oh man, is that debatable. Income inequality, drone strikes, whistleblower prosecutions, etc. are all worse–much worse–under Obama than under W. Bush.

      1. liberal

        That’s silly. Drone strikes worse, sure. But from a utilitarian perspective, it’s tiny compared to the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis that Bush murderered.

          1. Naslau

            This is not a defense of Obama in those areas. In fact I agree that he is worse. But you can’t believe that Romney will be any better? Specially with John Bolton screaming in his ear.

          2. Brooklin Bridge

            Pit Democrats against Republicans and visa versa.

            And what does more evil mean?. Evil or no, Obama is far more effective than Republicans at doing irreparable harm to the social safety net, to the ecology, to the poor and the middle class, to the constitution, to our civil liberties and he has been vastly more effective at moving the political “center” hard toward facism; where citizens are forced into a destructive relationships with profligate corporate behemoths.

  15. Doug Terpstra

    Clint utterly failed to capture the epic overarching theme of the RNCon-vention — the soaring, enthralling “WE CAN DO BETTER!” theme, worthy of St. Reagan, that lifted every spirit to the lofty pinnacle of inspiration-aspiration and captured souls above the clouds in sublime transfiguration. Like Lyin’ Ryan, Missionary-man Mitt gets it: ‘better’ is the fourth largest word in his speech — just behind ‘America’, ‘American’, and ‘Americans’. One can never get enough of that.

    Clint’s speech, OTOH, may cause some disciples to stumble in sin from the transcribed word of the golden tablets. It may even cause some to contemplate the lesser evil. It was appallingly off theme and off-script. Or was it?

  16. TK421

    “In Which Lie Did I Tell?, screenwriter William Goldman, recounting his experience adapting Absolute Power, mentions in passing that Eastwood was nine days ahead of schedule at one point, and then adds, without a hint of disapproval, ‘partially because what he wants more than anything on Earth is to finish and get out to the golf course.’”,52741/

  17. sd

    In simple terms, I’m willing to vote for the person who would prosecute the rampant financial malfeasance in our midst. So much for the legacy party candidates.

    So, I’m ready to write in Clint Eastwood for President. At least he can identify what the issues are. Which is more than I can say for the other two.

  18. Jackrabbit

    Clint’s speech was hilariously entertaining political theater.

    The fact that Romney gave up showing us his life story in Prime-time is just icing on the cake.

    The empty chair seemed very appropos given all Obama’s relentless golfing and his abandonment of Town Halls (remember the one and only ‘National Town Hall’ after the election? Where, I believe, he was embarrassed by the questioning?).

    Now and then, “the best politics money can buy” makes for some good entertainment.

    1. sadness

      Clint was spot on with what he said, the way he said it and with the props….but in this world of them against us, no one is listening…… hello america…..

  19. kevinearick

    go ahead, make my day…

    lay me off, confiscate everything, and delay me at every turn…

    acting is one thing, doing is another.

  20. rollotomasi

    Same here. Best I’ve read on the subject. A lot of people could identify with Eastwood up there, including the incoherent anger.

  21. kevinearick

    so, i break my back to get a gall $100 for gas to get her to her job interview in another state, sleep in th car, and at 5:30 am seea guy circling 10 feet away. i do not, do not want to look at him, because he is going to come over and ask for a jump, to get to work…but i do.

    if your company is going to lay off 1000 of you, and none of you have the time to give that guy a jump, don’t expect me to put on a monkey suit and intercede on your behalf.

    labor helps those who help themselves…

    1. F. Beard

      That reminds of a story where a guy is dressed in a suit for a job interview and sees a lady broken down on the side of the road. It means he’s gonna be late but he stops to help her anyway.

      He arrives for the interview in a wrinkled, dirty suit and is told the interviewer is late too. She comes in a little later and apologizes: “Sorry I’m late. My car broke down on the side of the road …”

  22. Brooklin Bridge

    Good post! Eastwood raised these questions almost for the right reasons where as most other Republicans are smack dab in that irony of irony’s where they raise exactly the right objections to Dems but for exactly the wrong reasons.

  23. Paul

    Maybe Errol Morris should do a another film like “Fog of War,” but with Eastwood instead of McNamara. Eastwood got interesting after he finished the “Dirty Harry” series and started doing more thoughtul, complex movies.

    Since he seems to be interested in having some ties to the reality-based community*, I don’t understand his loyalty to the Republicans, who seem so uninterested in reality. (For that matter, not enough Democrats are interested enough in reality.)

    * A phrase used by one of Bush’s imperial non-thinkers, who claimed that he and his know-nothing cronies were powerful enough to create their own reality, never mind the laws of physics, IED’s, incompetence, greed, and guerilla warfare.

  24. M. Hughes

    Has it occurred to anyone that the whole thing may have been deliberate on Eastwood’s part. I understand that he’s directing a new movie. He can’t be too senile.
    The next several days, what did you hear the most about? Romney’s speech, or Eastwood’s? Even if Romney had given a really good speech, Eastwood really took the wind out of it minutes before Romney came on.
    Clint is an old-style conservative, probably more Libertarian than Tea Party or Evangelical. I have the feeling that the only mistake that he made was that he should have practiced a little more, but maybe even that was intended to reach the audience.
    I could easily be wrong aboout this, but if the speech was a disaster, maybe it was supposed to be.

    1. LeeAnne

      M. Huges, yes, and within hours of accepting the nomination this coincidence:

      “NY AG subpoenas at least 12 private equity firms

      * AG probing conversion of fees into fund investments

      * Bain, Romney’s former firm, among those subpoenaed”

      The choice of Romney is reminiscent of the choice of Pallin. Both intelligent air heads -barby dolls.

      Next, I expect Romney to be thrown under the bus and tada tada drum roll!! -out comes Petraeus. No vetting -no controversy -he’s been waiting -the GREAT General of the Army -the only one left. The good ones have all resigned or been retired. Petreaus is so necessary that an empty suited pinetta appoints him to the CIA holding him behind the curtain for the right time.

      Just call me a crazy conspiracy theorist. There’s no choice when you’re dealng with pathelogical professional liars in your life all day long.

  25. Ms G

    “Rotisserie” Election Watching.

    Ding! Ding! Ding!

    The Bread and Circuses of Kleptocracy, with a Democratic-Voter twist.

  26. Ms G

    Clint’s unrehearsed and unmetaphorical delivery — unemployment, Gitmo, Afghanistan — was indeed refreshing yet no consolation.

    The tragedy is that neither official candidate in this cynical farce we call the 2012 Election for President will say: “I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.” (FDR Second Inaugural Address)

    I’ve copied the full section that ends with the “One Third” declaration below. Where is our FDR today?


    “But here is the challenge to our democracy: In this nation I see tens of millions of its citizens—a substantial part of its whole population—who at this very moment are denied the greater part of what the very lowest standards of today call the necessities of life.

    I see millions of families trying to live on incomes so meager that the pall of family disaster hangs over them day by day.

    I see millions whose daily lives in city and on farm continue under conditions labeled indecent by a so-called polite society half a century ago.

    I see millions denied education, recreation, and the opportunity to better their lot and the lot of their children.

    I see millions lacking the means to buy the products of farm and factory and by their poverty denying work and productiveness to many other millions.

    I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.

  27. dSquib

    Many Democrats are angry that a figure of wide appeal in America mocked The Obama. Roger Ebert called Clint’s performance “sad and pathetic”. He “didn’t have to do it”. Roger respected Clint, but Obama is his prince. He treats Obama with no less awe than he did in 2008. Most partisan Democrats would even shy away from this. He sees Obama as the actual embodification of hope, rather than that just being another bit of empty mass marketing. Bush was the president, Obama is HIS president, commander in chief. His, mine, ours. You can criticize him, hate him even, but you don’t just treat him like another politician, or another man, to be mocked and derided, the butt of a gag, whether the gag worked or not.

    And how dare he mock Obama’s Afghanistan, how dare he imply some sense of ownership? Doesn’t he know that it is a Republican war? Even though its deadliest years came during Obama’s presidency, even though it had full Democratic mainstream support, “grassroots” support. Putting aside the fact that America post 9/11 was out for blood, frankly, and Afghanistan seemed the most “logical” place to get it, though if Afghanistan disappeared in a puff of smoke on 9/12, some other lucky ducky would have been invaded… this was the good, the “real fuckin’ war” according to Neil Young. You cannot equate the disaster of Afghanistan with Obama. He just inherited it, the Republicans started it. It’s not about moral accountability anyway, it’s about who should be saddled with it in the minds of the voting public.

  28. abprosper

    I enjoyed Eastwood’s speech. Lots of showmanship and audience pleasing and even a few good points.

    It did remind me though a bit of that poem Jenny Joseph’s, When I am Old I shall Wear Purple.

    sometimes old men get purple too.

  29. OMF

    The minute I heard reports of “Clint Eastwood was so senile he was talking to a chair”, I suspected that there was probably more content to the speech than people were letting on.

    Frankly, I don’t approve of the Republican party, but I see no reason for Americans to vote Obama in again. I beleive that the 2012 election will, truly, present Americans with a choice between bad and worse. The trivialisation and mismanagement of US politics will crystalise into a race and outcome that can only end up leaving the population disgusted with the democratic process itself.

    The US may end up being a very uncertain place in the coming years.

    1. F. Beard

      I agree there was much more content there than some would have us believe.

      Also, many Republicans mistake having a heart with having no brains.

  30. Detroit Dan

    Eastwood’s speech was good in an unintentional way. He typified the incoherent rational used by many in his demographic category to disparage Obama. His fantasies overwhelm the legitimate concerns. As Lambert implies, the same speech could just have easily been made at the Dem Convention talking to Romney. EXCEPT THAT THE IDIOT EASTWOOD CRITICIZES OBAMA FOR THE THINGS THAT REPUBLICANS ARE 10 TIMES MORE GUILTY OF!

  31. Detroit Dan

    I would say that Eastwood typifies American stupidity, and we can thank him only for making it so obvious. He’s against invading Afghanistan, so he supports Romney! Obama hasn’t brought us to full employment, after the previous administration left the economy in shambles. So let’s elect the unreconstructed party that produce us the Great Recession! Eastwood doesn’t think the president should be a lawyer. So let’s elect the lawyer named Romney!

    It’s like Cheney blaming the intelligence agencies for the Iraq fiasco. As if he didn’t cook his own intelligence, bypassing the professionals he later blamed.

    Anyone praising Eastwood should be ashamed (Lambert, I’m looking at you). If you think the country is too militaristic, too disrespectful of human rights, too willing to let monied interests bend the political system to favor the wealthy over the struggling middle class, you don’t endorse the party that is pushing for more and more of these things. Absolutely disgusting. It’s like endorsing Hitler because the Weimar Republican politicians weren’t solving Germany’s problems. That is the level of respect Eastwood deserves for his demented performance. VOMIT

      1. Doug Terpstra

        Well done, Lambert. A soft (but firm) answer turneth away wrath. As anger is so entwined with and confused by fear, we will see more of this lashing out as Obama’s reselection approaches. Especially if one is trapped in the post-apocalyptic wasteland of Detroit.

        I had a similar conversation with a women at the park today while walking the pooches. Poor lady is a Carville reader who’s counting on Obama’s second term (he couldn’t do anything because of congress, you know), but she’s utterly terrified of the Romney-Ryan bogeymen and was willing to overlook illegal wars, drone murders, anything in the face of the alternative. Fear is such a reliable weapon.

  32. Jill

    What I find glaringly obvious about both candidates is their transparant “lackeyness”. I don’t think even Bush was at this level of minionship. Clearly, both men are told what to do and they hop right to it. It would appear that many media figures are vying for the lackey to the lackey spot. Rachel gets high marks from me for her efforts in this regard!

    The fact that both parties had to “go to scramble alert” tells you how vapid and emeshed they are. Substance, however badly spoken, must be elminated, BY THEM BOTH.

    I don’t see many signs for Obamney. I just don’t. It is good to hear even the semblance of reality put out in the public domain.

    Good write up Lambert!

  33. Maximilien

    Hello, empty chair….

    How can you watch political speeches? How can you watch political shows on TV? How can you watch television news? Nothing but propaganda. A waste of time. Dull, dull, dull.

    Okay, so Clint goes a little rogue at the RNC and livens things up a bit. Small mistake on the part of the Repubs. Won’t happen again I can assure you….

    Hey chair, I’m talkin’ to you. I’m talkin’ to YOU.

  34. Brooklin Bridge

    It’s hopeless. Screw Eastwood and his dialog. Just go look at HuffPo and read a few of the comments on the only two pertinently critical Obama posts on HuffPo in ages. Here and here. One of them was even by
    Sam Stein, Obama’s own personal lap dog (besides England) entitled, “Who killed the Hope?”. The other was the Cusack interview with Jonathen Turley which — of course — appeared here last week (or even earlier).

    But back to HuffPo, the comments, oh lord, the comments! For an ocean, and I mean ocean, of “liberals” with the exact same outlook and observational prouesse as Fox viewers or tea party specimens, only rooting for team D, slog through a few of them and abandon hope.

  35. SqueakyRat

    You are aware, aren’t you, Lambert, that Obama tried to close Gitmo, and Congress, with overwhelming support from the Democrats, passed a law to prevent him from doing?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      There’s an old saying from AA: “Trying is lying.” I mean, sure, the Greatest Orator of Our Time, elected with a real mandate in 2008, turns out to be a passive actor, hog-tied not only by meanie Republicans but by — gasp — his very own Party… Well, heck. If that’s your narrative, I suggest you vote that way. If you vote.

      1. Synopticist

        Oh please, “trying is lying”. C’mon.
        He tried to get gitmo closed, congress wouldn’t let him.
        Gravity wouldn’t let him walk on water. He tried to be bi-partisan, but guess what? The republicans are moonbats who wouldn’t play ball. They would have denied the legitamacy of any pres who wasn’t one of them, and It wouldn’t of mattered how many old rep ideas he resurrected. They set out to obstruct, and thats what they did. The only people who took bi-partisanship seriously were the blue dogs, and look where that got them.

        That was pretty predictable at the time if you were paying attention. Likewise, Obama was the most conservative of the Dem candidates. He said he was going to set drones on Pakistan. His health plan was always the most “business friendly”.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Gosh, who could have predicted the party that impeached Bill Clinton over a b*** j*** would be “obstrucionist”? Either the whole Unity Pony schtick Obama ran in 2008 was a scam (I incline to that view) or it was a catastrophic strategic error. Either way, it’s hardly a recommendation. In any case, the whole “If only it weren’t for meanie Republicans, Obama would have achieved greatness” won’t wash, as anybody who’s been paying attention since Bush the Younger would know.

    2. Jill

      Squeaky Rat,

      It is inaccurate to claim Obama tried to close Gitmo and was prevented from doing so by congress. This myth has been busted many times but here is a recent write up bebunking it: “During the Bush years, the plight of these detainees was a major source of political controversy, but under Obama, it is now almost entirely forgotten. On those rare occasions when it is raised, Obama defenders invoke a blatant myth to shield the President from blame: he wanted and tried so very hard to end all of this, but Congress would not let him. Especially now that we’re in an Election Year, and in light of very recent developments, it’s long overdue to document clearly how misleading that excuse is.”

      1. SqueakyRat

        Thanks for the link to Greenwald’s column. But the fact is that he simply changes the subject — his argument is that Obama wasn’t going to end indefinite detention, so he wasn’t really “closing Gitmo.” Sorry, I don’t buy it. He said he would close Gitmo, but Congress prevented him from doing so because their constituents were squealing in fear about having “terrorists” on US soil. He didn’t say he would treat the prisoners according to Glen Greenwald’s requirements.

  36. iamcynic1

    I have two problems with Clint;

    1. I think he should have put George W. in the chair. I think Obama is the wrong guy.
    2.Clint is a great fan of Jazz. He has talked often about the effect it had on him. He even made a movie about Charlie Parker. That he is willing to associate himself with a campaign with such clearly anti african- american overtones makes me think that he thinks of them only as performers rather than managers. Quite an insult.I wonder how his hollywood pals would view this interpretation.This point is not about economics and money.Point No 1 takes care of that issue.

    1. spooz

      At least the Dems have the race card left. No need to look at Obama’s record. Just paint the other side as racist.

        1. iamcynic1

          I should clarify. Blaming Obama is like blaming an inept fireman for failing to put out the fire started by George W.At some point we must look at the causes of the financial mess.I think W. had something to do with gutting us into Iraq and Afghanistan. I even think he was the one who opened Gitmo. After the meltdown, I think you could make the case that W. was an empty chair.

  37. MsMalcontent7110

    Gotta Love the Performance art! Go Clint! It amazes me how the Liberals/Democrats would dare to show their hand like this. To ridicule an icon like Clint Eastwood is showing their desperation to attack in any manner anything Republican and conservative – but even worse – ridiculing him b/c he is OLD and has some “senior” traits. How can an 82 yr old NOT have some indicators of their age in their speech patterns? But F.Y.I – if anyone needs a refresher course – Clint Eastwood ALWAYS had a rather halting, deliberate manner of speaking even in his young years. So – is it safe to assume that (based upon the SUPPOSED reasons he is getting so much ridicule from the media and the left) that Democrats HATE and disrespect seniors? That due to his age he is no longer considered relevant and has even more shamefully become an open source of ridicule and amusement to these so-called “progressives”? Shame shame SHAME on you

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      C’mon, MsMalcontent7110, let’s be reasonable. How are you going to cut Social Security if you don’t do some stratefic hate management on elders?

      * * *

      That said, if an outcome of the Grand Bargain is a two-tiered system of Social Security, where those 55+ or whatever don’t get thrown under the bus, and the young do, and we let that happen, well… Being demonized would be far too good for us.

      (Ryan’s proposal is completely open in its cyncism and repulsiveness; no doubt Obama will come up with something more “thoughtful.”


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