According to The Huffington Post, Clint Eastwood spoke at the Republican convention to give people who may not vote for Mitt Romney a reason to watch.
The 82-year-old actor, who rose to fame playing the Man with No Name, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and Dirty Harry films, gave a speech to an empty chair representing President Barack Obama: “So Mr. President, how do you handle promises you’ve made?”
The crowd cheered when Eastwood jabbed at Obama and Joe Biden on withdrawal of U.S. troops from the battlefield. According to the New York Times, Eastwood set up a chair next to the podium and engaged in an imaginary dialogue with Obama.
The event could be analogized to therapists using an empty chair to orient a patient to a specific relationship. The empty chair is a way to bring up suppressed emotions in a troubling relationship to lead to insight.
For Eastwood’s work in Unforgiven (1992) and Million Dollar Baby (2004), Eastwood won Academy Awards for Best Director and Producer of the Best Picture, as well as received nominations for Best Actor. It made sense for Eastwood to use psychodrama techniques to get his political views across, but he did not sit on the chair to see what it was like to be the President. To get the most therapy out of the empty chair situation, sometimes a person has to be in another person’s shoes to get insight on what the person would say in response, rather than just criticize the person for disappointment.
Eastwood directed films in which he did not appear, for instance, Mystic River (2003) and Letters from Iwo Jima (2006), for which he received Academy Award nominations. At the Republican convention, Eastwood was the mystery speaker. He attacked Obama for riding in Air Force One: “You could still use a plane.”
Eastwood praised Romney as a “stellar businessman.” According to The Huffington Post, he told the audience: “When somebody doesn’t do the job, you gotta let them go.” Someone in the crowd responded: “make my day!”
According to Wikipedia, Eastwood registered as a Republican to vote for Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and endorsed Richard Nixon’s 1968 and 1972 presidential campaigns. In April 1986 he was elected mayor for one term in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, an artist community on the Monterey Peninsula. He tended to support small business and environmental protection.
According to DC Decoder Wire, people reacted to Eastwood’s speech as being unique, bizarre, and disjointed. One person wrote on his RedState blog: “It was entertaining, but it was weird.”