Mitt Romney's acceptance speech to the Tampa RNC convention was compassionate, convincing, comprehensive; Marco Rubio's introductory speech of Mitt Romney was compelling and superbly well-delivered; however the evening and the convention in American memory go to superstar Clint Eastwood and his friend the Empty Chair. The crowd in the hall took some time to warm to the concept of Mr. Eastwood ad-libbing his remarks in a Q&A with the invisible POTUS. Eventually, it went on long enough so that all could accept that it was truly happening, and that Mr. Eastwood had no intention to hurry or close or even grow his theme. It was playful, strange, unpredictable, comprehensible, bordering on the surreal, as if we were watching a French farce of an English political drama, say Dickens meets Sesame Street in Paris. I described it in introduction as an "existential exercise." Afterward, the event quickly became the only thing to debate, since Mr. Romney's lines were predictable electioneering, and Mr. Rubio's biography is also well established. The arriving news as I write is that POTUS Obama has accepted the challenge of a debate and responded on the campaign FB page, "This seat's taken." Is this funny? Okay. Does it make sense? Enough. However the puzzle for me, why does POTUS believe it is useful to respond to the whimsical play of a superstar actor? One logical answer is that Candidate Obama feels threatened by the game. Odder still is that Mitt Romney has no part in the game. This is now Obama's "taken" chair vs. Eastwood's "empty" chair. The French can figure this out, I am guessing, but it frustrates my one step at a time romanticism. What I see is an actor mocking a politician, and the politician does not have the discipline to accept that the theater always has the last word. "This chair is taken," is curt, cunning, petulant, and definitely not the last word. The man on stage who can direct the whole convention hall to reply the famous Harry Callahan line, "Make my day!" is the winner each and everytime.
"Grin with a body behind it."
Joe Biden has not responded to Clint Eastwood's roughest mockery: "Of course we all now Biden is the intellect of the Democratic party. (LAUGHTER) Kind of a grin with a body behind it." The Biden grin when he gives his acceptance speech next week will be hard not to grin back at.