Eastwood Not Senile, He Knew the Chair was Empty

No matter what you might think about Client Eastwood’s performance Thursday night, don’t for one second believe that the 82-year-old actor-director is senile. He knew that there wasn’t anyone in that chair. Eastwood pulled off a brilliant 12 min improvisational performance and lifted the spirits of everyone in the convention center’s audience, while repeatedly speaking to an empty chair.

To put it differently, Hollywood’s legendary tough guy brought down the house with a comic turn, telling America it’s time to give a “stellar” businessman a chance to become president and say goodbye to the “attorney.”

“I think it may be time for somebody else to come along and solve the problems,” he said to loud applause.

His stand-in for the “attorney,” President Obama, was an empty chair on stage that he addressed in a mock interview — a performance both awkward and uproarious, while being perfectly Clint.

At one point, he suggested the chair-Obama had told him to “shut up.”

Eastwood’s appearance before Mitt Romney’s speech accepting the GOP presidential nomination capped days of buzz about the convention’s “mystery guest.” The secret was out by the time Eastwood strolled onto the stage to huge applause.

“Save a little for Mitt,” Eastwood said, before declaring, “I wasn’t a big supporter” of Obama.

The star of “Dirty Harry” and a two-time Oscar-winning director jokingly said he — like Oprah Winfrey and other Americans — wept with joy when Obama was elected in 2008. He then turned serious, saying he wept harder at the realization 23 million people are unemployed in the United States.

Eastwood, seemingly speaking off-the-cuff, quickly tried to knock down the criticism that somebody from “left-wing Hollywood” could back a GOP presidential candidate, saying Hollywood conservatives may not “go around hot-dogging, but believe me, they are there.”

The 82-year-old actor was critical of Obama’s war in Afghanistan, saying he should have considered that Russia fought unsuccessfully there for 10 years.

Eastwood seemed to speak without notes, without a Tele-Prom-Ter and without a clue of what he wanted to say. He shadow-boxed with Obama in a bizarre piece of stagecraft that involved an empty chair. He rambled about how America needed a businessman in charge. He came very close to using the f-word, making several feints at it. And he ran some ongoing gag about how he’d talk as long as he wanted to.

And of course, it wasn’t too hard for the audience to persuade him to deliver his signature line: “Go ahead, make my day,” he said, with the crowd joining in.

Twitter was instantly ablaze with reaction.

Minutes after Eastwood began his speech, someone created the @InvisibleObama account on Twitter. It already has 17,000 followers and counting.

“Clint Eastwood is now backstage arguing with a vending machine,” joked Canadian comedian Daryn Jones.

Film critic Roger Ebert didn’t give the speech two thumbs up.

“Clint, my hero, is coming across as sad and pathetic,” tweeted Ebert. “He didn’t need to do this to himself. It’s unworthy of him.”

Comedian Roseanne Barr put it simply: “clint eastwood is CRAY” — a slang reference to being crazy.

Not everyone agreed.

“Clint Eastwood made my day,” tweeted Southern rocker Charlie Daniels. The Hollywood trades gave it positive marks, perhaps a reflection of the movie world’s appreciation for genuineness.

Eastwood, a fiscal conservative who leans left on social issues, has confounded the political world. He starred in Chrysler’s “It’s Halftime in America” Super Bowl ad earlier this year even though he opposes government bailouts.

The commercial angered conservatives.

Perhaps the most surprising accolades Eastwood received came from the libertarian, Bill Maher, who said he thought Eastwood’s non scripted performance was the highlight of the convention. Maher followed his praises of the actor saying, “Eastwood is not senile, he know the chair was empty.”

23 Responses to "Eastwood Not Senile, He Knew the Chair was Empty"

  1. Christian   September 3, 2012 at 1:11 am

    Obamas war on Afghanistan? We went into Afghanistan October of 2001…. 6 years before Obama even considered running for President.

    Reply
  2. paulstewart2   September 2, 2012 at 2:00 am

    Well even if he is not senile, he is betting on the wrong horse.

    Reply
  3. nasa100   September 2, 2012 at 1:26 am

    Bravo to Mr Eastwood for being brave enough to fly in the face of all the Hollywood types who dont care what Obama is doing to our nation. Clint, please let’s have more dialog. Someone has to save our nation bfore it is completely destroyed.

    Reply
  4. aspenfreepress   September 2, 2012 at 12:32 am

    Eastwood hit home with his reminder of Obama’s broken promise to close Gitmo, an issue which spurred support from young voters to the Demo ticket in 2008. Sterling Greenwood/Aspen

    Reply
  5. jimzien   September 2, 2012 at 1:40 am

    Funny that Clint chose an empty chair to represent President Obama, when his main man, Mitt, inhabits about the emptiest suit in politics these days.

    Reply
  6. Don Williams   September 2, 2012 at 1:34 am

    1) In the past decade I worked for months as a volunteer in 3 Democratic congressional campaigns, in Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign and in Obama’s 2008 campaign (both primary and general.)

    2) I think the fact that the Democratic-aligned parts of the news media can only evade Clint’s point about 23 million unemployed American just illustrates how deeply corrupt and deceitful the Democratic Party leadership has become.

    3) Of course, the utter failure of the 111th Democratic Congress had proved that already. A huge supermajority in the House, filibuster-proof 60 votes in the Senate and a Democrat in the White House.

    And what did the common citizens get? Not a thing. Goldman Sachs and Big Bank executives got a lot but common Democrats? Nothing. Except a lot of incoherent excuses, tortured rationalizations and the argument that if Democratic leaders promise to screw us only 94% of the time then we owe them unquestioningly loyalty because the Republicans will probably screw us 95% of the time.

    4) That is why the only thing you’ve heard from the Democratic leadership and their sycophants for the past year has been the hysterical shrieks of prostitutes called out for prostitution. Ron Paul was the only US politican to stand up and openly challenge the Republican Neocons and their invasion of Iraq. Yet he is being called racist by the very Democrats who promoted and voted for a war that has killed more black men in the past decade than the Ku Klux Klan managed in the past 100 years. And Democrats evidently think that if they shed enough crocodile tears for Trayvon Martin, black voters will forget that black teenage unemployment is over 40 percent. What Herman Cain called “the Democratic Plantation”.

    Reply
    • jimzien   September 2, 2012 at 1:50 am

      So by all means vote your disaffection. Just don’t complain in four years, if Romney / Ryan win, that Iran shouldn’t have been bombed and Medicare shouldn’t have been privatized.

      Reply
  7. susan logan   September 2, 2012 at 1:30 am

    He was GREAT. It was genius.

    Reply
  8. Carrie Gutfeld   September 2, 2012 at 1:25 am

    Clint was hilarious. I’m still laughing every tine I see him in his comedy routine. He said so many good points that were true.
    After all, Obama’s Oval Office Chair has been Empty 25% of Tenure~> 68 Days Vacation 110 Days Golf 190 Days Campaigning.

    Reply
    • Ricky Rogers   September 2, 2012 at 1:27 am

      How did that last businessman work out, Clint?

      Reply
  9. Jim Corsaro   September 2, 2012 at 1:24 am

    Clnt isn’t senile, but he is a fool. Doesn’t he see that his Libertarian stances on abortion, gay rights, etc. are in direct conflict with the Tea-Republicans platform? Anyone with an ounce of sense, let alone rational thought, would be that self-aware.

    Reply
  10. iamhe   September 2, 2012 at 1:22 am

    It takes unmitigated gall, and a lack of conscience, to participate in a conspiracy to obstruct a newly elected president, and then blame him for what he was not able to get done…

    The GOP is a magnet for sociopaths… Are you one?

    Reply
    • GM   September 2, 2012 at 2:05 am

      i couldn’t agree more. but you left out 1 point. big business in this country has also declined to back our president, just like the republicans. the stock market is back to where it was pre-recession, and at peak efficiency as all companies have trimmed the fat. but still no more jobs? why you ask? they are keeping a war chest and the day after mitt romney is elected, the investments will begin. if you don;t believe me, check out the amount of available capital the top 100 of the fortune 500 companies have just sitting around in the bank. Enjoy!

      Reply
  11. IamHe he   September 2, 2012 at 1:15 am

    He obviously was in a mean old man pre-senile neoCon rant, thinking, if you can call it that, that he was saying some truth that no one else had the guts to say. He was wrong about all that, all those complaints have been vetted long before he took the stage and made a jerk out of himself… Perhaps, if there were any good in it, he was showing the GOP how disgusting they sound when demeaning President Obama. As for me, I think the Mormans are trying to slip into the presidency one of their Bishop Ministers. I do not want a religious minister for a president. What I want is to make the southern GOP racist neoCons stop obstructing President Obama with their treasonist subversion.

    Reply
  12. ChasBo   September 2, 2012 at 1:12 am

    Eastwood doing Bob Newhart. Well done Clint. Much better than the other comedians up there.

    Reply
  13. logic dog   September 2, 2012 at 1:01 am

    Broken promise to close Gitmo? You mean, when he tried to close it but met with absolute obstruction from a Republican-run House of Representatives (remember, they control the purse strings)? The Republicans ceased being Americans in favor of their favored form of plutocratic fascism.

    Reply
    • Paddyspig   September 2, 2012 at 1:14 am

      Not much logic here, doggy. Obama had a Democrat House and a Democrat Senate for the first two years of his reign. He could have pushed through anything he wanted to (and did, come to think of Obamacare). He didn’t close Gitmo because he forgot that he had to have some place to put the terrorists – and the country doesn’t want them here.

      Reply
  14. Debbie   September 2, 2012 at 12:56 am

    I didn’t think Eastwood was senile but he did drag the thing out. It might have played better in black box theater. It was odd for a convention.

    Reply
  15. hiLarryUs   September 2, 2012 at 12:52 am

    Would have been better if he had brought a script, the speech came off a bit stilted, as if he had a fear of public speaking (something I know about personally, having struggled with it going up to deliver a HS grad speech) or was unsure of how to phrase his message. Very good humor though (loved the one liners). Good points on bringing the troops home, etc… just needed to be a bit clearer.

    Reply
  16. Rowland   September 2, 2012 at 12:49 am

    We all voted to have a new beginning which turned out be be in the wrong direction. Maybe a new face in the President’s chair will help us redo the past. It sure was better than the last four years.

    Reply
  17. Natasha   September 2, 2012 at 12:38 am

    “The 82-year-old actor was critical of Obama’s war in Afghanistan, saying he should have considered that Russia fought unsuccessfully there for 10 years.”

    Seriously?! That was Obama’s war? Is the author of this piece aware that this war was started by George W. Bush, during his term? Shame on Clint Eastwood for that lie and shame on you for perpetuating such blatant misrepresentations of documented history.

    Reply
    • Ophilo Obarbo   September 2, 2012 at 1:01 am

      Al in all, he was great. Good to see someone with guts enough to bring the messiah down a few notches where he belongs. Who cares if it was stretched a bit, it was good comedy.

      Reply
  18. Gb   September 2, 2012 at 12:33 am

    It was sad, sad, sad. Reminded me of my father when he was in the eighties. Have always liked Eastwood but that was hard to watch

    Reply

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