Republican Convention 2012

Clint Eastwood Reactions Getting Better


Reason's D.C. office has chairs just like this one.

With the passage of half a day, initially negative conventional wisdom on Clint Eastwood's appearance at the Republican National Convention is shifting toward agreement with the crowd that saw the address live in Tampa: The Academy Award-winning actor and director killed in Tampa.

Eastwood's empty-chair routine continues a recent trend in sedevacantist comedy. Elizabeth Emken, the Republican Party's challenger to long-sitting Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), is one of many prominent figures in and out of politics who have been using bottomless seats to mock uncooperative interlocutors.

Eastwood's performance, unlike most of those (and all of the Eastwooders who are uploading their own furniture pictures and videos), was a clear crowd pleaser. As can be seen in the video below, Eastwood's off-hand delivery and plentiful grace notes (it's about time somebody reminds America that Jon Voight won an Oscar) went down so well with the crowd that Mitt Romney was left in the Mitzi McCall/Charlie Brill spot during his own convention.

From the president himself to angry Republicans to a hilariously literal-minded response from Andrew Sullivan, here is a very small selection of the bazillion or so responses Eastwood is getting:

Barack Obama, President of the United States
This seat's taken. http://OFA.BO/c2gbfi ,

Mitt Romney For President campaign
Judging an American icon like Clint Eastwood through a typical political lens doesn't work. His ad-libbing was a break from all the political speeches, and the crowd enjoyed it. He rightly pointed out that 23 million Americans out of work or underemployed is a national disgrace and it's time for a change.

Unless the Democrats can get Clyde next week, this is one for the Red column.

Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
Clint Eastwood can do comedy. One of his most profitable movies was Every Which Way But Loose (1978), in which his best bud is Clyde, an orangutan he won in a bet. He confides his deepest thoughts about life and women to Clyde, and Clyde is just the wise monkey — silent. Talking to an orangutan was the one way that Clint could show audiences his adorably goofy side and the box-office was great. Maybe Clint thought that talking to Imaginary Obama would be the same kind of comedy monkey magic. Or maybe he thought that this speech was a non-professional event; he could just dream up some stunt and everyone would love him. Well it was true: they did love him in the room — sort of — but out there on television and on the endless, pitiless YouTube repeats, things were different. However he might have felt, Clint did not look lucky.

Michael Grunwald, Time
[H]onestly, all I can think about is Dirty Harry scolding an invisible president in a chair for making an anatomically impossible suggestion. We had heard there would be a surprise guest tonight, but apparently, the surprise was a surprise to the surprise guest. You know how reporters always complain that conventions are too scripted? Eastwood was the first thing on network TV tonight, and oh, it wasn't scripted. It wasn't rehearsed. It wasn't sane.

Bob Newhart, @bobnewhart
I heard that Clint Eastwood was channeling me at the RNC. My lawyers and I are drafting our lawsuit… #RNC #ClintEastwood #rnc2012 #GOP2012

Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin
I'm a big fan of Clint Eastwood in terms of movies. I was expecting: remember the Super Bowl when he did that voice-over in the ad? I would have loved to hear that: "It's time to bring America back. We're tough. We can come back." I didn't get that. But overall, that one moment, which I cringed at; I would have rather seen [the two families who received personal assistance from Mitt Romney], I think in the big picture, though, the rest of it was amazing.


Too Many People to Count
[Variations of both "Clint Eastwood loses debate with empty chair" and "Empty chair has more substance than Obama"]

Verne Gay, Newsday
It doesn't matter what stripe your politics are, or whether you thought last night was a victory or disaster, Eastwood stole the night. He stole it with the expertise and facility of a veteran actor who knew exactly what he was doing — stealing a scene, and stealing it with utter conviction.

The Onion
'You Did Great!' Terrified Personal Assistant Tells Clint Eastwood

Michael Moore, Daily Beast
But as I said, the best outcome from the incident last night was that it showed just how out of touch Republicans are these days. It's as if they want a divorce from us, the American mainstream, so they can go live in the land of legitimate rapes and ice caps that don't melt. Most Americans don't live there on Planet Koo-Koo, and I don't suspect many will be visiting there any time soon.

Jesse Walker,
Eastwood's criticisms of Barack Obama were the average American's criticisms of Barack Obama. If you want to hammer the president in a way that appeals to undecideds, you couldn't do much better than to complain about high unemployment and an endless war. That won't sound authentic coming from Romney, who has been tagged, fairly or not, as the guy who likes to fire people, and whose position on Afghanistan is 180 degrees away from Eastwood's. But coming from Clint Eastwood, that isn't a big problem…

Janine Turner, ?@JanineTurner
I thought Clint Eastwood's presence was electrifying and I praise him for being a Hollywood actor & taking a stand! Thanks Clint Eastwood!

Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Beast
Eastwood now says Obama failed to close Gitmo—when he was stopped by the GOP! But he does mention the war in Iraq. And now he's arguing that we should have withdrawn from Afghanistan sooner. Does he not realize that Mitt wants us to stay there indefinitely? This is highly incoherent. And increasingly embarrassing. He's talking to an empty chair. Apparently, telling someone to go fuck themselves is a Biden move. But it was Cheney who became famous for saying that.

You kiss your mother with that mouth, Roy?

Roy Rogers, @Roy__Rogers
Hey Barack! It's not "your" chair you egocentric narcissistic communist son of a bitch. It's America's chair and YOU are FIRED! #p21 #LNYHBT

Sci/Tech, Fox News
A quick search on Twitter for #Eastwooding reveals dozens of photos of empty chairs, people sitting next to empty chairs, dogs beside empty chairs, and more. Likewise, Pinterest and Instagram users took the opportunity to upload images of their furniture, with people or hands lecturing or pointing at their empty kitchen chairs.

Funny or Die
[List of memes]

Fabian Innocenti, @fabian_in
Les vieux qui parlent à des chaises vides et qui finissent par tirer des coups de fusil partout #ClintEastwood

Opie from Opie & Anthony, @OpieRadio
Somewhere in a mountain lair Clint Eastwood is tied up while @BarackObama takes off his #ClintEastwood mask. #DiabolicalLaugh

Kelly Wright, @kwright321
If George Clooney had given the same speech as #ClintEastwood, he would have been called #brilliant.

Roger Ebert, ?@ebertchicago
Clint, my hero, is coming across as sad and pathetic. He didn't need to do this to himself. It's unworthy of him.'

Carrie Rickey, CNN
And it was surprising that, when the identity of the "mystery guest" was revealed Thursday evening, many non-Republicans took to Twitter and Facebook to pillory Eastwood, huffing that his appearance at the GOP convention "tainted" his movies for them. Huh? First of all, Eastwood publicly endorsed Romney this month. Second of all, the actor who is a lower-case-L libertarian on social issues (pro-gay marriage, pro choice, pro-ecology) and a fiscal conservative is hardly one to toe a party line.

See, it's an empty chair to mean that DiFi hasn't shown up to take her symbolic seat at the debate. (Although come to think of it, debaters usually stand.)

Dottie Bowling, @DottieBowling
If #ClintEastwood were Liberal, Hollyweird would be foaming at the mouth with rabid praise of his appearance.

Daniele Daccò, @ilRinoceronte
E' la prima volta che #ClintEastwood spara su qualcuno e io non mi diverto

Matthew Filipowicz, YouTube
[Interview with invisible Mitt Romney. 2 views]

Andrew Kaczynski, BuzzFeed
A Brief History of Talking to Empty Chairs
Piers Morgan talking to Todd Akin's empty chair.
Lawrence O`Donnell talks to George Zimmerman's lawyers empty chair.
Clint Eastwood at the RNC
The grandpa from The Simpsons.
The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laid on empty chair.


NEXT: Hillary Clinton Headed to Cook Islands While Democrats Gather at Charlotte

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  1. The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laid on empty chair.

    Why not, after they put the 2009 one on an empty suit.

  2. There’s nothing so trivial that talking heads can’t make even more trivial.

    1. This will bring out the partisan FULL RETARD in spades. Get yer popcorn and sidle on up, because the TEAMs, especially TEAM BLUE, are going to put on one hell of a show for us.

      1. I might actually enjoy this one.

  3. Roger Ebert, ?@ebertchicago
    Clint, my hero, is coming across as sad and pathetic. He didn’t need to do this to himself. It’s unworthy of him.’

    Remind me again why I’m supposed to care about what the screenwriter of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls has to say about politics.

    1. Ever since he killed Gene Siskel in that drunken brawl, no one has been able to keep him in check.

  4. I love sedevacantist comedy. It’s easily one of my top nine or ten types of comedy.

    1. Is the Pope Catholic? Yuk yuk!

      1. Saint Peter, Martin Luther, and Mel Gibson walk into a bar. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…

  5. I don’t really understand Obama’s Twitter response. On a couple levels, I don’t understand it.

    1. He owns that chair. What’s not to get? Yeah, he actually doesn’t, but he thinks he does, and that’s all you need to know.

      1. Without the government, there wouldn’t be a chair there. Do you think you can give a speech to an empty chair in Somalia?

        1. Without the government, there wouldn’t be a chair there.

          If you’ve got a presidential chair, you didn’t build that. Someone else made that happen.

        1. Your chairs, I want to buy your chairs. How much for the little seat?

          1. Excellent, that’s exactly what I was thinking.

  6. I liked the speech and thought it was funny. I but I like pretty much anything Eastwood does. Hell, I liked Bronco Billy and the Gauntlet, so what do I know.

    But if it was such a bad and ineffective speech, why are the various Dem hacks going so far out of their way to be offended by it? My guess is that it did real damage to Obama and that is why they are so upset.

    1. It’s because he was irreverent. Laughing at The Leader cannot be tolerated.

      1. That’s the part that pisses me off. Get over yourselves.

      2. That is why it was so effective. The one thing Obama can’t take is ridicule. It is not really a liberal or a Dem thing so much as an Obama thing. Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter could take ridicule. But Obama just completely falls apart in the face of it.

        1. W would have so laughed it off.

          1. I understand why Obama supporters didn’t like the speech. It made fun of their guy. But what I don’t understand is the vitriol about their reaction. Do they really think it is a good idea to attack and American icon for being old?

            1. The more vehement the more reaction, the more you know it hit home.

                1. They’re just showing that they are tolerant by not tolerating intolerance.

              1. Like when reason makes fun of Romney and John goes full retard.

                1. Red Tony is funny!

                2. Got a link for that RBS? I can give you about a hundred links where I say horrible things about Romney. But I can’t think of a single time Reason has ever made fun of Romney and I have ever said I single thing about it.

                  So speaking of going full retard, is imaging shit that never happened but you hope happened and pretending their true count as full retard?

                  1. That’s a pretty vehement reaction.

                    1. I have described Romney as “Reptilian” on at least five occasions. Yeah, being slandered with the idea that I can’t take people make fun of a politician I don’t even like tends to piss me off a bit.

                    2. Don’t feel bad John. We’re laughing at you, not with you.

                    3. Yeah, being slandered with the idea that I can’t take people make fun of a politician I don’t even like tends to piss me off a bit.

                      Then you have no reason to be pissed.

                      You spent several days spamming and trolling threads because of a reluctance of others to fellate me like you wanted them to.

                      And now you’re trying to pretend it never happened, as though we’ll forget it.

                    4. Go fuck yourself Mary and stick to a handle.

                    5. John| 8.31.12 @ 2:31PM |#

                      That is why it was so effective. The one thing Obama can’t take is ridicule. It is not really a liberal or a Dem thing so much as an Obama thing. Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter could take ridicule. But Obama just completely falls apart in the face of it.

                    6. WHAH!!! God, you’re a fucking crybaby John. I forgot what a thinned skinned little bitch you are. I was sort of joking and of course you reacted like a petulant child. But I guess I should revise my statement to avoid your ridiculous “slander” accusation. Your Full Retard, Red Tony meltdown was in response to criticism of Paul Ryan not being libertarian enough for libertarians. So, get over yourself.

                    7. All I ever did was agree with Reason about Ryan. And I am not kidding when I tell you, I plan to vote for Obama.

                  2. It was truthy.

        2. Whether or not it was intended, I think the empty chair is a perfect metaphor for Obama. Maybe Eastwood (or an impersonator) should do a series of Youtube videos on this theme.

          1. Everyone in that convention center knew exactly what he was doing and why. The only people who were confused by it were left-tard douche nozzles who didn’t get the metaphor.

            1. Everyone in that convention center knew exactly what he was doing and why.

              You mean it was a racist dog whistle?

              1. I’m sure if there was some way they could spin it as a racist dog whistle, the left-tards would have done it 5 seconds after Eastwood left the stage.

          2. Empty chair occupied by an empty suit.

          3. Gary Johnson should debate two empty suits and put it on You Tube.

            1. “Gary Johnson should debate two empty suits and put it on You Tube.”

              Why would he want to publish another debate loss?

          4. When Doonesbury made Dubya an invisible man with a feather, it was Pulitzer material.

            1. I must be confusing his characters…Dubya was a floating Roman centurion helmet.


        3. As early as 2007, he personally took Marueen Dowd to task for making a joke about his ears. The man is prickly.

          1. And the sad part is how far the media, entertainment, news and commentary all, go out of their way to accomadate his wittle feelings. Something like one tenth the late night jokes devoted to either Bush or Clinton. Actually, Clinton still gets more jokes at his expense on late night than Obama according to the stats I’ve seen.

      3. Jeebus, this is exactly right. Laughing at our leaders should be the default response. We should do much, much more of it.

        I’m looking at you, libertarians. Laughter at the expense of our pompous leaders could be the foot in the door that we desperately need.

    2. Of course. If it were clearly detrimental for Romney, they wouldn’t be taking all of the old man and other ad hominem shots.

    3. Hell, I liked Bronco Billy

      Dude. There’s no shame in liking Bronco Billy.

      1. The Gauntlet sucked, though.

        1. Come on Warty. The scene where the biker says “That is my bike jack” and Eastwood responds “And this is my gun Clyde” is fucking classic.

        2. The Gauntlet was fine. That bus get shot to pieces though.

        3. The Gauntlet was awesome.

          It was basically a grindhouse flick.

          Oh, and it should be said…

          If it weren’t for Every Which Way But Loose, there wouldn’t have been any BJ and the Bear.

          And that was about as anti-authoritarian a pitch directed at average working class Americans as you’re ever gonna see.

          Oafish cops on prime time television repeatedly smashing their cars into each other–and all for nothing? The only way it could have been more anti-authoritarian was if he’d actually been growing and selling weed.

    4. But if it was such a bad and ineffective speech, why are the various Dem hacks going so far out of their way to be offended by it?

      Their reaction to it makes it an effective speech.

    5. You can always tell how good a speech was by how much effort the other TEAM puts into mocking it and/ or how apoplectic they get over it. I didn’t see Eastwood’s speech last night, but I’m definitely going to have to check it out when I get home. Youtube’s not available for me at work and I don’t want to have to suffer through trying to watch a 12 minute speech on my smart phone.

      1. My wife hated it. I liked it. I thought it was funny, particularly with how it captured how angry and nasty Obama actually is. That was the part I think that was most damaging. People seem to be almost afraid to admit how divisive and nasty Obama is. During the speech, he refers to Obama telling him to “shut up” and tell Romney to go fuck himself. It pretty much captures the spirit of Obama’s campaign. It told a truth a lot of people are afraid to admit.

  7. I wonder if Gary Johnson is taking any notes?

    1. If G.J. isn’t able to get into the debates, it’s been suggested that he and the other prominent 3rd part candidates (IOW the Green Party, Constitution Party) organize their own debate. I think they should do it, and have two empty chairs on stage, one for Obamney, and one for Rombama.

      1. Yes – invite Eastwood to speak for Romney and [name of random Hollywood celebrity] to speak for Obama. Have them sit in Denethor chairs set below the empty chairs, to show that their principals didn’t bother to show.

        1. If the dems have a guest celebu-tard give a speech at their convention they can get whoever that is. If not any of the idiots who were parodied in Team America would do. Maybe Sean Penn? And for the VP debate they can get Gary Busey to stand in for Biden. I’m not sure who would make a good stand in for Ryan.

      2. The “other debate” idea would be great, if there was any chance it would be televised.

        1. I’m sure C-SPAN 3 needs programming. Seriously though, everything is televised these days so I’m sure someone would pick it up.

          1. CSPAN 3 online might go for it.

      3. How about an blank teleprompter for Obama and something androidish for Romney?

        1. Romney would be a cardboard cut-out.

      4. Third party candidates usually do have their own debates.

        1. ANd the fact that some third party fans don’t even know that shows how well publicized they are.

          The late Harry Browne used to OWN the third party debates.

          1. Seeing him in the third party debates in 1996 is actually the moment I became a libertarian.

  8. The degree of political effectiveness of the speech aside, I found it astonishing that a not particularly good actor, at age 82, with no previous stand-up experience, laid down an extemporaneous and quite funny stand-up comedy routine.

    1. NOt particularly good? Eastwood is a GREAT actor.

      1. He is great at playing Clint Eastwood.

      2. Take a good look at CE’s second sentence, folks – you will not see its likes again.

  9. If Eastwood says it’s okay to be against our continued involvement in Afghanistan, then it’s okay to be against our continued involvement in Afghanistan.

    Eastwood’s speech isn’t about how it appealed to average voters, exactly. If Eastwood’s speech has any significant, it’s that the reaction marks the end of a horribly conformist culture that sprang up in the Republican Party, where questioning the convention GOP wisdom on foreign policy was tantamount to treason.

    Yeah, the average American is tired of the War on Afghanistan. If that’s now okay with average GOP delegate, then the GOP’s come a long way, baby.

    1. A little off topic, but then again sort of spot on?

      If Hit Run wants to hold another fundraiser for the sole purpose of financing a fix for the preview button?

      I’d open my wallet right the frick up.

  10. Michael Moore, Daily Beast
    But as I said, the best outcome from the incident last night was that it showed just how out of touch Republicans are these days. It’s as if they want a divorce from us, the American mainstream

    Wait a tick, Michael Moore, the “fat socialist weasel”, thinks he’s part of the “American maintream”? And he has the audicity to criticize Republicans for being out of touch?

    1. C’mon dude, he’s just like you, me, and all of our neighbors.

    2. Well, when you are surrounded by sycophants of course you think you’re the mainstream.

    3. he’s part of the “American maintream”

      Well, ye-ah! All the cool kids say so!
      And all you have to do to be a cool kid is to agree with the cool kids!
      Isn’t that cool?

    4. Is he talking about Eastwood?

    5. He lives in a very isolated world.

      Where the only reason people like us don’t agree with everything Michael Moore thinks? Is becasue we’ve been brainwashed by the Koch Brothers.

      Yeah, he thinks he’s the mainstream.

      1. If the Koch brothers are so powerful, why haven’t they brainwashed Michael Moore?

        1. He’s much smarter than people like me.

          If it weren’t for the Koch Brothers, I’d think squandering my future paychecks on the UAW was great!

          If it weren’t for the Koch Brothers, I’d want to pay more in taxes.

          If it weren’t for the Koch Brothers, I wouldn’t complain about the individual mandate forcing me to buy healthcare that all but guarantees me fewer options to choose from.

          Why, if it weren’t for the Koch Brothers, I’d be a genius fat man who goes around embarrassing himself making hack documentaries, or somethin’, I guess.

        2. Because Michael Moore doesn’t have a brain to “wash”.

    6. Remember, this is the same fat lying piece of shit who refuses to acknowledge that the million dollar summer house on Torch Lake, Michigan is his, in spite of all the documented public records. He has no shame.

  11. Is it just me, or is this getting logged out after a minute getting kinda old?

  12. it’s about time somebody reminds America that Jon Voigt won an Oscar

    2012 Baby Geniuses: Baby Squad Investigators (completed)
    2010 Lone Star (TV series)
    2009 24 (TV series)
    2008 Four Christmases
    2008 24 (TV movie)
    2008 An American Carol
    2008 Pride and Glory
    2007 National Treasure: Book of Secrets
    2007 Bratz
    2007 Transformers
    2007 September Dawn
    2006 The Legend of Simon Conjurer
    2006 Glory Road
    2005 Pope John Paul II (TV movie)
    2004 The Five People You Meet in Heaven (TV movie)
    2004 National Treasure
    2004 Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2
    2004 The Karate Dog (TV movie)
    2003 Jasper, Texas (TV movie)
    2003 Holes
    2002 Second String (TV movie)
    2001 Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story (TV movie)
    2001 Zoolander
    2001 Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
    2001 Pearl Harbor
    1999 The Prince and the Surfer
    1999 Noah’s Ark (TV movie)
    1999 Boys Will Be Boys (TV movie)
    1999 Varsity Blues
    1998 Enemy of the State

    1. Just wanted to remind Cavanaugh why America has a painful black memory hole where Jon Voight used to be

      When people see “The Champ” or “Runaway Train”, they go, “that guy looks familiar… no…, it couldn’t be.”

      1. It is not his fault he can’t get a decent script.

        1. John| 8.31.12 @ 3:10PM |#

          It is not his fault he can’t get a decent script.

          John, whether you were saying this tounge in cheek or not, it’s still @#()$* hilarious.

          I mean, for fucks sake, john. even Nick Cage would cringe at the above.

          1. Yes I was being tongue and cheek.

    2. My youngest daughter watched Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 many times. It includes (and I always say it this way when mentioning the movie, which is very bad) Oscar-winner Jon Voight, Scott Baio, Vanessa Angel, and that guy who played the immortal friend on the Highlander TV show.

      By the way, where are the good movies he was in, like Catch-22?

      1. If you travel back to before the late 80s, almost all of his films were good. Excellent even.

        in the 70s, he was a freaking superstar.

        There appears to be something that happened post “Pearl Harbor” A film that shall live in Infamy.

        1. I don’t know how or why, but I blame his daughter.

  13. Eastwood was great. A bit doddering at times, but hey, he’s 82. Cut him some slack.

    The liberal news commentators were aghast afterward, but the crowd loved it.

    I saw one headline today wondering if it was a bad career move for him!! Like he needs to worry about his career, he’s 82 and he’s already had one most actors/directors/people would kill for.

    1. Are you kidding? First, he’s still quite popular. Second, he’s generally money at the box office. Finally, he’s long been known to lean a little rightwards.

      1. He ran for mayor of Carmel, CA, as I recall, because the city banned the sale or eating of ice cream in public.

        Sounds pretty libertarian to me.

    2. Every lefty douche nozzel in Hollywood would give their first born to be in any movie Eastwood directs. His career is just fine.

    3. Wow @ speculation about bad career move

      That journalist needs to be fired.

  14. I’m excited to learn that Bob Newhart is not only alive, but has a Twitter feed. Followed.

    1. If the DNC is worth shit, they’ll end the convention with Bob Newhart waking up in the Bob Newhart Show bedroom set, with someone dressed as Suzanne Pleshette.

      I believe Bob is right-leaning, but they could pay him to do this. The angle? That the last four years were a dream. A very primed media could support this assertion in an incredible media blitz.

      1. So LOST could end differently when it really happens? I’m down.

        1. Yes. There’s no end of things that can turn out to be Bob Hartley dreams.

  15. Wrong Roy Rogers.

  16. has anyone made a video of Leno, O’Brien, Letterman, Fallon, Ferguson and Stewert pointing out how white the GOP convention is? I’d like to see that. Well, accept Leno, who is Italian, it’s kind of ironic.

  17. I hope that when the RNC handlers were quizzing Eastwood about the major themes of his speech, he squinted at them and, after a long, pregnant pause, said softly “I’m going to talk to a chair. For fifteen minutes.”

    1. While he was relighting that damn bent cigar.

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