Eastwood did what he was supposed to do: he shifted the debate. Actually, he did more than that: he bravely lifted the entertainment industry taboo against knocking an incompetent president of the United States. And he took fire for it. James Lipton, who stopped asking actors about their favorite colors long enough to respond, called Eastwood’s performance “not his best … What he gave to Barack Obama was, well, not the best lines. It was a couple vulgarities.” Other celebs went further. Roger Ebert, fresh off humiliating himself in his latest review, wrote, “Clint, my hero, is coming across as sad and pathetic. He didn’t need to do this to himself. It’s unworthy of him.” Jason Biggs, who was most recently tweeting about Paul Ryan’s wife’s anus (seriously), wrote, “Clint Eastwood talking to a non-responsive stool sorta sums up Christianity in a nutshell, huh Republicans? #RNC.”
But that was fine. In fact, that was the point: if Eastwood had been Betty White doing that same routine at the Democratic National Convention, the left would have feted him as a comic genius.
Nonetheless, Eastwood’s appearance highlighted the fact that President Obama is now worthy of becoming the butt of jokes. Most important, it’s clear that the Republican Party is beginning to recognize the necessity of Hollywood. If they are willing to reach out to Hollywood, to use its talents and let them help craft the conservative narrative, conservatives will reap the benefits in the same way the left has.
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