Saturday, September 01, 2012

The Empty Chair

When you're a lobbyist and it is the last week of the legislative session, the outside world - the real world - just sort of disappears.  Every waking moment is focused on what those 120 people are doing under the dome, for hours on end every day.  And then it ends, and it's such a feeling of relief that you become almost giddy with excitement.  And then you realize that you've just worked 80 hours in the span of 5 days, and the entire body just shuts down.

Because of that, I didn't watch a single minute of the Republican Convention, at least not live, so I missed the Clint Eastwood "empty chair" speech.  But I haven't missed the reaction, which has been pretty amazing.  There's no middle ground to be found in the reactions I've read - people either think it was brilliant, or they think it was the craziest, weirdest thing they've ever seen.  And then many of those people go on to say what a doddering old fool Clint Eastwood is, or some such nonsense.

I watched it, and I think it worked - and it was a hell of a lot more effective than anything Eastwood could have said in a 10 minute speech.  And when a disingenuous blowhard like Michael Moore makes the claim that Eastwood will be remembered more for this 11 minute speech than he will for any of the films he's made, he just makes himself look foolish and in all likelihood doesn't do President Obama any favors.

But the real measure of how successful the bit was is that two days later, and that seems to be the only thing that people want to talk about.  And for some reason, the Obama campaign is coming up with ways to respond to the "empty chair" concept.  And that just lends it more legitimacy.

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