As it turns out, Barack Obama is a big fan of Clint Eastwood. Make that "huge" fan. "He is a great actor, and an even better director," the president told a USA Today reporter aboard Air Force One last Saturday. "I think the last few movies that he's made have been terrific." As for Clint's one-man show, the President had this to say: "One thing about being president or running for president — if you're easily offended, you should probably choose another profession."
I will have to take his word for it, but I confess that I have now had moments of disconnect so severe with this campaign that I don't know what needs to be thicker, one's head or one's skin. If you missed Mister Eastwood's special appearance at last week's Republican National Convention, you may have missed the future of public discourse in America. Once you get past the part where he was arguing with an empty chair, you're left with a number of pithy ad-libs that seemed to delight the partisan crowd. To wit: "I think if you just step aside and Mister Romney can kind of take over. You can maybe still use a plane." Facts? Who needs facts when you're arguing with an empty chair? Clint mentioned the "twenty-three million" unemployed Americans. The actual number is about half that.
Who cares? This is show biz! Just like back in 1985, when Ronald Reagan threatened Congress with his veto pen, "Go ahead. Make my day," he snarled. This was the chorus the crowd chanted at the real Dirty Harry as he stood on the stage in Tampa last week.
I suppose it beats an unemployed reality TV star chanting, "Drill baby, drill!" But not by much.