Clint Eastwood Versus The Democratic Chair: President Obama

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | August 31, 2012 | 12:48 PM EDT

In last night’s speech, an 82 year-old actor best known for his work in action movies and dramas decided to do a comedy routine using an empty chair as his straight man.

When Clint Eastwood addressed the Republican National Convention last night, he used the opportunity to debate an empty chair representing Pres. Obama. Eastwood posed questions to “Obama” – and implied the president’s responses.

The results were pretty much what you’d expect: his bits usually drew laughs, though some may have been prompted merely by politeness and affection for a respected, veteran actor, director, and producer.

Eastwood may not have been hilarious, and he may not have had the energy of Jim Carey or the eloquence of Dennis Miller, but his shtick was still pure Eastwood: measured, professional, and engaging.

If you want to see how funny the Man-Talking-To-An-Unseen-Foil routine can truly be, go to NetFlix or YouTube and look up Bob Newhart’s old bits where he’s talking to someone on a telephone.

But, Clint Eastwood was exactly what he was meant – and what he intended – to be: a veteran entertainer and celebrity entertaining a sympathetic audience and showing the viewing world that not everyone who makes it in show business is a flaming liberal.

Eastwood said as much, opening his speech by dispelling the notion about Hollywood that “they’re all left-wingers out there – left of Lenin. At least, that’s what people think.”

“But, that’s not really the case,” Eastwood said: “There’s a lot of conservative people, a lot of moderate people, Republicans, Democrats in Hollywood.”

And, in perhaps his most insightful moment, Eastwood offered his theory about why Hollywood is perceived as being exclusively liberal:

“It’s just that conservative people, by the nature of the word itself, play it a little more close to the vest. They don’t go around hot-dogging it.

“But, they’re there. Believe me, they’re there.”

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