Ryan's Radical Vision, Eastwood's Empty Chair, a Huge Donor's "Nightmare": Dispatches From #GOP2012
MoJo sent five reporters to the Republican convention in Tampa. Here's what they saw and heard.
With the Republican convention in Tampa, Mitt Romney has launched the most ideological presidential campaign in recent history. At issue is not merely the current state of the economy and Romney's ability to become the CEO-in-chief and perform a turnaround. Romney is waging a battle for the opportunity to conduct a conservative social experiment that would remake fundamentals of American society. But he neglected to mention that Thursday night during his climactic—though hardly soaring—acceptance speech.
The previous evening, his veep pick Paul Ryan, when he wasn't tossing out profoundly false talking points, married two ideas together: The first is that Romney is a successful businessman who can revive the flagging economy and return the nation to greatness. The second is that voters are now living in an American gulag, where basic freedoms have been destroyed and sanctimonious central planners dictate citizens' lives, smother initiative, and doom everyone to a life of entitlements and control. The first of these notions is upbeat and hopeful, addressing the immediate concerns of voters confronting economic challenges: Romney, the guy who looks like a president from central casting, is galloping in on a white horse to rescue you. The other is gloomy and of more concern to the arch-libertarians of the tea party and conservative movement: We are living in a place akin to the former East Germany and must break free of the chains.
VIDEO: Clint Eastwood's Bizarre "Empty Chair Obama" Speech at the GOP Convention (With Full Transcript)
On Thursday night, Clint Eastwood, the Academy Award-winning actor, director, and screenwriter, delivered one of the most bizarre political convention speeches in American history.
Speaking without prepared remarks, Eastwood carried on an imaginary conversation with an invisible President Obama seated in a chair next to him on the convention stage. I can't even begin to try to summarize Eastwood's rambling address to a bewildered audience and press corps. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick, looked less than pleased with Eastwood's speech. And the Hollywood star's invisible Obama skit quickly spawned its own Twitter feed—@InvisibleObama—and a satirical 2012 presidential bid. As well as #eastwooding.
Behold, Eastwood/Chair 2012:
David Corn and Comedy Central's Jared Logan and Mary Phillips-Sandy joined host Chris Matthews on MSNBC's Hardball to parse the bizareness that was Clint Eastwood's speech at the Republican national convention.