Make My Day: Clint Eastwood Warms Up Romney’s Republican Crowd

In a performance that attracted mixed reviews, Clint “Dirty Harry” Eastwood was the warm-up act for Mitt Romney at yesterday’s Republican National Convention in the US. I will post on Romney’s efforts later today, but I wanted to make quick comment on Eastwood.

People seem to have forgotten — in the race to eulogise or pillory Eastwood for his efforts — that when all is said and done, he’s an 82-year-old in the twilight of life; this is a man no longer at the top of his game, but he did prove one thing: he can still “wow ’em.”

You can watch Eastwood’s 11-minute address to the Republican National Convention here.

This was a speech that did what it had to do, which was to whip the crowd of Republican party loyalists into joyous delirium ahead of the main act; all things considered, I don’t think Eastwood did a bad job.

Sure, the gag of addressing an imaginary Barack Obama fell a little flat; the concept of speaking to an empty chair on the stage — meant to be Obama — had a slightly surreal feel to it.

And — in truth — the same effect could have been achieved had Eastwood made it clear that he was speaking openly to Obama, and left it at that.

Still, the gag provided some good lines for the Republican campaign, such as Eastwood’s description of Vice-President Joe Biden (“sort of a grin with a body behind it”) as he mocked Biden as “the brains of the Democratic Party.”

But Eastwood also provided some soundbites that will no doubt feature prominently as the presidential election campaign continues, such as his portrayal of politicians as “employees of ours” who come along every four years “begging for votes;” don’t be surprised if some of these lines find their way into next year’s election campaign in Australia and, indeed, other election campaigns elsewhere in the world.

Eastwood was, however, very much the curtain-raiser to the main act, and I will be commenting on Mitt Romney’s efforts later today.

In the meantime — simply because the unexpected opportunity has been presented to do so — I’m going to invite readers to reminisce with a “few of the best” from “Dirty” Harry Callahan…

Dirty Harry’s rape policy (an approach I don’t necessarily disagree with);

Dirty Harry’s approach to dog shit and criminal scum;

Dirty Harry’s views on the evils of political spin;

And of course…the immortal scene that spawned Callahan’s signature line, with which he concluded his remarks to the Republican faithful: “Go ahead…make my day…

Enjoy! Just a little light-hearted lead in to the main act of my own.

And as I said, I will be back to discuss Romney’s speech later today.