Eleven Minutes of Terror



@ManchuCandidate: Apropos of nothing, the movie “Magic Mike” and the RNC Convention both take place in Tampa.

“Magic Mitt and His Mysterious Underpants” for the sequel?

Did I call it or what?

5:46 PM • THURSDAY • AUGUST 30, 2012

So Clint gets on stage, mutters for 10 minutes or so, and gets off … does this change anyone’s mind?

They should have just had Ron Paul in that spot. Same general effect.

The coda was a nice touch of barking fascism, getting the crowd to recite the entreaty of a psychopathic cop looking for an excuse to decapitate a black bandit with a sidearm.

@blogenfreude: Why don’t you have your own show on MSNBC?

One thing to bear in mind as Team Romney tries to pretend it likes what went on with Eastwood: someone had to approve that prop chair, therefor they must have been aware of Eastwood’s intentions and the overall idea – if that’s not too strong a word. Which means that Team Romney thought this would be a Good Thing. Which means they’re even more clueless than previously thought possible.

Was the backdrop Clunt as the outlaw Josey Wales? If so, here’s some six degrees of separation trivia. The Outlaw Josey Wales is based on a book by Forrest Carter whose real name was Asa Earl Carter. He claimed to be Cherokee and wrote a faux Indian memoir “The Education of Little Tree”. He is also credited with George Wallace’s “Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” speech. Weirdly appropriate.

@Jesuswalksinidaho: The backdrop was an offshored Western.

@Jesuswalksinidaho: Wasn’t it Good Bad and Ugly? One of those putrid spaghetti westerns he made?

@Benedick: Here’s the best explanation for what happened:

Convention planners had assumed the Hollywood legend would reprise the powerful and typically gruff/charming performance he delivered at the beginning of August when he showed up out of the blue at a Romney fundraiser in Idaho and said he was backing the Republican.

So: Clint charms a small room in Idaho. Great! Let’s have him do Tampa!

And if they had simply announced that Clint would be doing something at, oh, 9:30, it might have passed unnoticed. He would have pleased the crowd, and that would be it.

But: Clint was the Mystery Guest! Wait until America tunes in at 10 pm! Boom!

It was the buildup and context as much as the performance. A perfect storm.

@Benedick: Perhaps they merely thought that an 82-year-old might rather sit than stand for ten minutes? That may be giving them too much the benefit of the doubt though.

@blogenfreude: Yeah, but I called the upstaging.

Although I thought it would be because Clint delivers a powerful speech that nobody could top. I wasn’t expecting Springtime for Hitler.

@nojo: So who is directing those movies?

@nojo: “Halftime in America” I tell you. He is still burned up it was regarded as pro-Obama.

From “The Unforgiven” to “The Unforgivable.”

@texrednface: @gunnergoz: I’m quite honestly still in shock. And it wasn’t even the chair. It was the embarrassing incoherent rambling.

Oh, and apparently Clint was scheduled for only five minutes. It might have been sufferable at that length — still weird, but not bizarre.

The only thing missing was the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme kicking in as Clint walked offstage.

@nojo: To be honest I actually watched about 3 minutes of it before I muted it. I got the heebies when he mentioned Jon Voight.

It puzzles me that Eastwood appeared with Romney on Aug 3 and with his resources had time to slap together a campaign video and instead went with a gag gone bad.

@texrednface: As campaign stagecraft, it was a total trainwreck.

The conventions are a candidate’s best shot at an unfiltered network infomercial, and the networks kick in at 10pm. So yeah, there was the slick Mitt video — but it started around 9:50 and ended around 10:02, allowing Clint to step onstage just as the network anchors were done throat-clearing.

And what’s the first thing America sees? That.

It’s thoroughly astonishing: The performance itself, and the campaign mismanagement that allowed the performance. I felt a very deep discomfort that the campaign was allowing Clint to disgrace himself that way — I figured I’d disagree with him, but I never expected to be ashamed for him.

@nojo: I think the mismanagement is the point. Puss in Boots at the Huddersfield Grand is better done than this.

And plus. Romney’s the one who doubted the success of the London olympics to such hilarious effect. Maybe he’s Mr. Magoo?

I’m still scratching my head over the stage design. There was chatter before the convention that Romney himself had intervened (“When his aides showed him an early proposal for the set, a more modern stage with features like steps that would light up, he told them to go back to the drawing board”).

“We wanted it to seem inclusive, warm. It’s not like anything you’ve seen at a convention before.”

The final design was a fail if those were the goals. The stairs were intended to give the impression of accessibility but the overall effect, in my opinion, is that Romney’s design looked more like a TV/curio cabinet. It seems that Romney wanted his official nomination to take place in a facsimile of “daddy’s quiet room,” the kids kept out in the hallway.

Sure, the 2008 Democratic convention stage set looked kind of like a giant game show, but it embraced the entirety of the convention. Part of the goal of a convention is to ramp up enthusiasm, so there’s nothing wrong with a convention looking like a game show. They’re big, noisy, raucous events.

Poor Mittens is probably eastwooding in a hotel room somewhere cursing the children out in the hall.

@karen marie still has her eyes tight shut: It was certainly an improvement over the 2008 Giant Flatscreen, and it was certainly competent as a piece of design — it takes a pro to conceive and execute something like that — but it did feel unfocused. I don’t think it distracted to any great degree, but I don’t think it helped, either. It just was.

@karen marie still has her eyes tight shut: Romney is actually hot dogging in Louisiana with chicken little ahead of the president’s visit.

Y’know, maybe Tuesday or Wednesday it would have been weird, but not thoroughly unsettling. But Thursday night? The night of Mitt’s Big Speech? Leading off the network hour? After days of Mystery Guest buildup? It doesn’t get better than that.

@Benedick: “Puss in Boots at the Huddersfield Grand is better done than this.”

Thank you for this. I spilled part of my martini laughing so hard.

And yes, you’re right.

@karen marie still has her eyes tight shut: Well, this is fun: The RNC set was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Or, more to the point: Inspired by that whoever that dude was supposed to be in The Fountainhead.

So, let me be the first: A twisting upside-down top would have been more metaphorically appropriate.

I haven’t heard so many “uhs” since high school.

@JNOV: In this case, I think that’s a good thing.

@karen marie still has her eyes tight shut: Okay, here’s the problem with the Video Legos: While they were a major improvement on the cold 2008 Video Slab, they lacked focus. What they presented was an incoherent fractured reality.

Which is, of course, ironically appropriate.

But no matter: Clint not only wiped out Mitt’s Big Moment, he wiped out Ryan’s as well — Clint took down the whole convention with him. What’s going to be remembered a week from now — especially after Demrats have had their chance to suck all the air out of the room?

Clint’s Empty Chair.

That’s it, folks, your 2012 Republican Convention. If Mitt gets a bounce out of it, it’s a Dead Cat Bounce.

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