Saturday, September 1, 2012

Eastwood is a stand in for the Tea Party

The pundits keep up their barrage on Clint Eastwood's talk the other night before the Republican National Convention. Off script, incoherent, bizarre. Those are just some of the words they use.

And the attacks are coming from pundits on the left and right. But why? I think MSNBC's Ed Schultz hit the nail on the the head the other night:
The imagry. When Clint Eastwood came out, the caricature behind him was from the 1976 movie "The Outlaw Josey Wales" who was a non-conformist, would not give up, was a rebel, wanted to keep fighting all the way, and was an outlaw.
From: RNC via C-SPAN

This is probably the first time I've agreed with Schultz. Eastwood didn't come off as a party insider, he came off as an independently minded voter who's unhappy where things have gone the past four years. Eastwood told the people they should fire politicians who don't do their jobs. And his stage presence, though he's a bit older, still evokes an image crafted over many film roles of someone unafraid to keep pursuing a righteous mission even though the odds are stacked against him.

Right there, on the closing night of the RNC, Eastwood projected the kind of things that resonates with a Tea Party base and independents. (No, I'm not implying or suggesting Tea Partiers are prone to violence as portrayed in some Eastwood movies, just that they have a will to stand strong in pursuit of what's right, and vote conscience over party). 

The pundits deemed the slot more appropriate for a mainstream party loyalist and cheerleader. Eastwood partly played the cheerleader, and articulated support for Mitt Romney. But he wasn't telling people to follow the party blindly.

Most pundits are like most politicians, and see status quo as in their best interest. They don't mind the two parties swapping power from time to time, but they want it to follow established rules using accredited players. And so it's no wonder these status quo pundits have worked so hard to deconstruct what Eastwood put in play. The more they keep at it, the more we know how much established political powers fear the independent message.

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