Saturday, September 08, 2012

Clint Eastwood: "mission accomplished"


I have mixed feelings about Clint Eastwood's recent Republican National Convention spiel. First, I've never been a believer that the person who occupies the Oval Office should be, as Clint puts it, a "stellar businessman." America is a country, not a business, and although business is a large component of our country's lifeblood, reducing the country to its business-related elements is a serious mistake. Ask the ill-fated Ross Perot, who went that same route and flamed out spectacularly.

Second, my mixed feelings extend to the "meta" level as well: I've never liked the idea of actors talking politics. For me, the general rule is that actors, talented though they be, are fundamentally idiots whose opinions I don't need to hear when I'm making my own electoral decisions. Sean Penn, the dictator's paramour and blowjob queen, comes immediately to mind. But it's hard to classify Clint as an idiot: he's a sly bastard, and although his speech to the empty chair was a rambling mess, he knew what he was doing: he traffics in images and impressions for a living. If his primary purpose was, like Spike Lee, merely to stir up discussion, then I'd agree that his speech was most decidedly "mission accomplished."

None of this convinces me that I should vote for Romney, of course. The man's a flip-flopping cipher, with no more appeal to me than his rival, the incumbent president. I'm probably going to end up voting my conscience again this November, which will mean writing in my desired candidates. If the menu is nothing but shit sandwiches, it's time to order off-menu.



John from Daejeon said...

"Ross Perot, who went that same route and flamed out spectacularly"

I don't know if I'd call taking nearly 20% of the popular vote a flame out, especially as Clinton was elected president with only 43% of the country voting for him.

I actually think he did fairly well taking on the two-party machine that poorly rules the U.S. I cast my vote his way because I figured he could do no worse and might actually eradicate some of that gridlock in D.C. and I thought this remark of his was pretty insightful: "Keep in mind our Constitution predates the Industrial Revolution. Our founders did not know about electricity, the train, telephones, radio, television, automobiles, airplanes, rockets, nuclear weapons, satellites, or space exploration. There's a lot they didn't know about. It would be interesting to see what kind of document they'd draft today. Just keeping it frozen in time won't hack it."

Kevin Kim said...

Not sure I'd call 20% a particularly impressive figure. As for his flame-out, I'd say his debate with Al Gore pretty much sealed his fate. If I recall correctly, Gore pointed out Perot's inconsistent stance on NAFTA, which caused Perot's Obama-sized ears to burn bright red with fury. And that was all she wrote. Once it was obvious that Perot couldn't maintain his poise under fire, he was a goner. Perot's "It's that simple!" also came back to haunt him. Nothing about the US economy is simple.

John from Daejeon said...

I'm not a fan of actors getting in "my" business at all, but they have every right to express their views like all of us (hell, a B-movie star become a beloved President after all). But it is not very fair that their views get such extensive coverage just because of their jobs in the limelight, especially those of them that are more in line with the liberal leanings of Hollywood.

I'm also not happy that "normal, average" U.S. citizens (teachers, plumbers, cops, etc.) have virtually no shot of obtaining higher office due to the amount of money needed to serve "the people."

Kevin Kim said...

No argument from me on any of that, John. I agree completely.