Taking a quick break between the Massachusetts Bill of Rights* and the Articles of Confederation to pick on Mitt Romney.
*Sample highlight [the bold is mine]: “The freedom of deliberation, speech, and debate, in either house of the legislature, is so essential to the rights of the people, that it cannot be the foundation of any accusation or prosecution, action or complaint, in any other court or place whatsoever.”
Freedom of speech anywhere else? Meh.
More specifically, I would like to briefly examine Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech at last week’s RNC. Even more specifically, I would like to focus on the part where he said, “President Obama has thrown allies like Israel under the bus.” The implication, of course, is that Mitt Romney would do no such thing to allies like, but not necessarily, Israel.
Also from the RNC, and leaving aside the appropriateness of Israel-related bus analogies, the movie for which Clint Eastwood will be best-remembered [don’t believe me? Youtube his name]:
You’ve probably seen it. If you haven’t, you’ve heard about it. If you haven’t, I don’t believe you, because I know you’re on the internet, and that means you’ve heard about it. Really, read about it. The internet can be so pedantic sometimes.
Whether you’ve watched it or just heard about it, here’s what you need to know: Eastwood’s speech was well-received by some, and less well-received by others. At first, Romney’s campaign seemed to be solidly among the former. Per The New York Times:
Mr. Eastwood’s rambling and off-color appearance just moments before the biggest speech of Mr. Romney’s life instantly became a Twitter and cable-news sensation, which drowned out much of the usual postconvention analysis that his campaign had hoped to bask in.
It also startled and unsettled Mr. Romney’s top advisers and prompted a blame game among them. “Not me,” an exasperated-looking senior adviser said when asked who was responsible for Mr. Eastwood’s speech. In interviews, aides called the speech “strange” and “weird.” One described it as “theater of the absurd.”
Ann Romney, who made the rounds of the three network morning shows, hardly pretended that she was happy as she was repeatedly asked about the speech. “I was thrilled for his support,” she said on NBC, trying to be positive.
But after reports emerged that Mitt Romney had played a significant personal role in arranging for Eastwood to speak (see the NY Times article above), his campaign tried to put a more positive spin on the performance. As reported by Yahoo! news:
A top adviser to Mitt Romney’s campaign downplayed tensions over Clint Eastwood’s rambling Republican National Convention speech, insisting the candidate thought the actor’s routine was funny.
Stuart Stevens, a senior strategist to the Republican nominee, said he was standing backstage with Romney as Eastwood delivered a speech in which he imagined a conversation he might have with President Barack Obama, who was represented onstage by an empty chair.
Stevens said Romney “laughed” at Eastwood’s remarks and “enjoyed” the routine. “He was laughing. … We were laughing,” Stevens said. “He thought it was funny.”
In more technical terms, Eastwood pushed Romney’s laugh button.
Meanwhile, actions speak louder than words, and when Romney’s campaign released a two-and-a-half minute clip of the RNC, reporters quickly jumped all over the roster of included speakers:
A video mash-up of speakers from last week’s Republican National Convention does not include an appearance from the “mystery RNC speaker,” Clint Eastwood.
The two-and-a-half minute video posted today to the Romney campaign’s YouTube account features former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, VP nominee Paul Ryan and of course, Romney himself, but it leaves out Eastwood’s controversial speech.
Looks like a certain Romney ally just got himself thrown under a bus.
Despite his protests over Obama’s treatment of Israel, Romney’s treatment of the 82-year old Eastwood makes a certain sort of sense. Romney probably figured that if he still led Obama by 21 points among senior citizens (compared to John McCain’s 8-point lead) even after choosing Ryan as his running mate, he could get away with anything:
And the move even comes with a beautiful logic. One of them throws Grandma off a cliff; the other throws octogenarians under a bus; Medicare’s unfunded future liability problem is solved.