Eastwood’s empty chair, and Mitt’s Mormon moment

TAMPA — The enduring image from the 2012 GOP convention may well be an empty chair, the prop Clint Eastwood used to represent Barack Obama’s presidency during a prime-time performance that was at turns bizarre and bitingly effective.

That empty chair — an apt symbol for a president known during his legislating days for voting “present” and during his White House tenure for being MIA on the country’s most pressing economic and fiscal issues — is already a social-media icon. It’s already spawned a meme of people photographing themselves talking to unoccupied furniture: “Eastwooding.” Plus, at least two new snarky Twitter accounts: @InvisibleObama and @ClintsChair.

But if that’s the only visual people take away from this past week, it will be a shame. The picture burned in my mind is of a yellow legal pad.

That’s because the week’s emotional peak came a couple of hours before Dirty Harry interrogated the air. It came from a retired firefighter and his wife as they spoke about the teenage son they lost to lymphoma three decades ago, and the efforts of a young executive named Mitt Romney to bring him some joy and peace.

“You cannot measure a man’s character based on words he utters before adoring crowds during times that are happy,” Ted Oparowski said Thursday night. “The true measure of a man is revealed in his actions during times of trouble. The quiet hospital room of a dying boy, with no cameras and no reporters — this is the time to make that assessment.”

His wife, Pat, described Romney’s many visits to their son David in his Boston hospital room. Once, he brought fireworks to shoot off (elsewhere, of course) to David’s delight. Then, as she continued, came the legal pad.

“On another visit, David, knowing Mitt had gone to law school at Harvard, asked Mitt if he would help him write a will. He had some prized possessions he wanted to make sure were given to his closest friends and family.

“The next time Mitt went to the hospital, he was equipped with his yellow legal pad and pen. Together, they made David’s will. That is a task that no child should ever have to do. But it gave David peace of mind.

“So, after David’s death, we were able to give his skate board, his model rockets, and his fishing gear to his best friends. He also made it clear that his brother, Peter, should get his Ruger 22 rifle.”

By then, dry eyes were getting hard to come by in the convention hall. Once Mrs. Oparowski recounted Romney’s giving the eulogy as David was buried in his Boy Scout uniform, there were even fewer.

The Oparowskis were members of the Mormon church where Romney served as a lay pastor. For most of this campaign, for most of Romney’s political career, his faith has sparked much discussion but little revelation.

Here, Thursday, was the image of Romney as pastor, as Paul described in his letter to the Ephesians: “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” It is a pastor in the sense of the one who cares for a flock, not the one who preaches to them (Romney typically let others do that, another speaker recalled).

Romney is well-known as a businessman and caricatured as a real-life Gordon Gekko. Thursday, we were offered a different image: of a caregiver who acts rather than a sermonizer who just speaks. Of a yellow legal pad, not an empty chair.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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553 comments Add your comment

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

August 31st, 2012
7:41 pm

Romney walks the walk.

Obozo…all talk.

Bruno

August 31st, 2012
7:46 pm

“You cannot measure a man’s character based on words he utters before adoring crowds during times that are happy,” Ted Oparowski said Thursday night. “The true measure of a man is revealed in his actions during times of trouble. The quiet hospital room of a dying boy, with no cameras and no reporters — this is the time to make that assessment.”

IME, the biggest talkers are usually the smallest doers. I’ll take a hard-working Romney over a smooth-talking Obama any day of the week.

Michael H. Smith

August 31st, 2012
7:49 pm

Nah, the DEMwits will never best the real life compassion and humanity of Mitt Romney or the cold hard 44 magnum truth from Dirty Harry – Clint Eastwood.

I don’t know how Mitt Romney managed to do so much in a 24 hour day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyvastSu1Ew

Bruno

August 31st, 2012
7:52 pm

If any music-lovers wander over here, music is on the thread below.

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

August 31st, 2012
7:53 pm

Mitt Romney All American!

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

August 31st, 2012
7:57 pm

Go ahead Barry, make our day, tell us something/anything you ever did for anyone, beside yourself and your family. Spending my money to do it, doesn’t count!

Just Saying..

August 31st, 2012
8:02 pm

Beginning to resemble a snake-bit campaign:
-4 days to speak to the electorate cut to 3 days by a hurricane, which distracts attention as well.
-Speaker after speaker uses his allocated time to talk more about themselves rather than the candidate.
-Mitt works years to earn his time to have an uninterrupted talk with voters, and an insufficiently vetted stage act captures as much attention as his speech. And his senior paid help provide no cover, deny responsibly. Both halves of the ticket spend the next day answering questions about the act, rather than building momentum on his themes.

Just Saying..

August 31st, 2012
8:03 pm

Beginning to resemble a snake-bit campaign.

Just Saying..

August 31st, 2012
8:05 pm

Or a snake-bit post…

Dave

August 31st, 2012
8:05 pm

Were he only to propose to govern with such compassion. As to proposing, he has about as little specifics as Obama did. Trust me they say. I don’t. Him less than the incumbent.

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

August 31st, 2012
8:06 pm

What a surprise…another libtard following the media template…

You’re boring us.

getalife

August 31st, 2012
8:10 pm

Eastwooding is all the rage.

If I got up there I would tell robme to go blank himself too for lying about helping the middle class.

He is gop and they consistently vote against the middle class.

Nothing but lies is a losing campaign and no we don’t trust him on the taxes he is hiding.Period.

MarkV

August 31st, 2012
8:10 pm

The liarton has ended. RIP.

Bullet County

August 31st, 2012
8:11 pm

Mitt is such a nice guy that he picked a VP candidate who has less of a relationship with the truth than his predessor (x-gov. Palin).

Pizzaman

August 31st, 2012
8:11 pm

Just proves 82 yr old folk should stay in the background. It was dumb.

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

August 31st, 2012
8:11 pm

Were he only to propose to govern with such compassion.
————–

Ain’t nothing compassionate about 8.3% unemployment, or one in six Americans living in poverty.

That’s Obozo’s four-year record.

You own it.

@@

August 31st, 2012
8:13 pm

I fully expected the libs to come in saying/asking:

“BFD! He helped people IN his church! Did he do anything for people who DON’T go to his church!!??!!”

With Eastwood being pro-choice, pro-gay marriage and pro-environment, he was intended as the guy who grants permission to former Obama supporters who are embarrassed about what they’ve done.

“Make my day…change your vote this go’round.”

Michael H. Smith

August 31st, 2012
8:14 pm

A bit of humor by way of Media Research Center ~ America’s Media Watchdog
mrc.org

News Busted ~ Jodi Miller

A very funny and entertaining conservative lady.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3vMojPaJMg&feature=player_embedded#!

PS. I’m sure she will have some good punch lines to give us on the convention after labor day.

Mr. Dithers

August 31st, 2012
8:15 pm

Yes, that empty chair will be a media icon. Of craziness. Ol’ Clint jumped the shark last night, big time. It says something about the cons on this blog that they think it was a good act, you included Kyle. Clint should have shut his pie hole a lot sooner.
Yes, Mitt is certainly a compassionate conservative. Where have we heard that term before? Did they have anyone from the companies he shut down testify on his behalf?

Just Saying..

August 31st, 2012
8:18 pm

BB- I’m watching Fox News right now. They are not talking about Mitt, or his goals for the country. They are talking about Clint’s act…

getalife

August 31st, 2012
8:21 pm

What’s that? You want me to tell robme to go f himself?

Hilarious :)

killerj

August 31st, 2012
8:22 pm

Empty is right with this administration,more than time for new blood.

Bruno

August 31st, 2012
8:23 pm

It says something about the cons on this blog that they think it was a good act, you included Kyle. Clint should have shut his pie hole a lot sooner.

Bottom line, Dithers, is that Eastwood gave the Libs a taste of their own medicine with the barbs. And based on the number and volume of the complaints about an 11 minute piece, I think he hit a nerve.

Dave

August 31st, 2012
8:23 pm

Barry, you’re such a warm and compassionate guy, just like your candidate?

Peter Marlow

August 31st, 2012
8:27 pm

Great post, Kyle. Thank you!

Mr. Dithers

August 31st, 2012
8:29 pm

Bruno, when a crazy man is rambling on, no message is getting through other than the guy is crazy.

kayaker 71

August 31st, 2012
8:34 pm

Best line of the night….. “You want me to do what to myself”?

Hillbilly D

August 31st, 2012
8:34 pm

Like a lot of things, crazy is in the eye of the beholder. (And I didn”t watch one second of Clint or the other speachifying at the Convention, nor will I next week).

Thomas Heyward Jr

August 31st, 2012
8:37 pm

“My promises to help you and your
family.”………Mitt Romney.
.
Stay away from my family .you Federal thug.
.
I remember Ronald Reagan’s quote about the 9 most frightening words in the english language.
YOU and your RomTards should too.

dabir dalton

August 31st, 2012
8:39 pm

I only need two words to describe Mitt: Two Faced.

As Gov. Mitt talked and walked like a liberal only to do an about face by talking like a conservative now that he’s running for president. Which one is he? By guess is that he’s just like Bush 2 a big government liberal when it comes to the 1% and a small government conservative when it comes to the 99%.

Today Mitt is telling conservatives what they want to hear in order to get elected {normal procedure for republicans} if elected just like bush he’ll turn his back on the little guy by allowing wall street and the millionaires who contributed to his campaign to raid the public treasury.

It says a lot about the total lack of character of the average conservative voter who never fails to be conned by their political hopefuls.

getalife

August 31st, 2012
8:40 pm

Hillbilly D,

They offered nothing new so you did not miss anything.

Except for this:

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/31/doh-eastwoods-convention-speech-spawns-fake-simpsons-meme/

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

August 31st, 2012
8:43 pm

I liked the empty chair. It only took 12 minutes, for the chair to say the same thing’ Obama has said about the deficit, in almost four years. Nothing!

getalife

August 31st, 2012
8:44 pm

The only famililes robme will help are the ones that hide their taxes.

Michael H. Smith

August 31st, 2012
8:46 pm

Pathetic socialist liberals can’t stand the real Mitt Romney because he is nothing like the monster they’ve tried to make him out to be in their false narratives

In the coming days expect to see a great deal more testimonials from real everyday Americans who have been helped or touched by Mitt and Ann Romney. As I watch the convention on GPTV the two commentators, one liberal the other conservative, both agreed that the Romney campaign should have brought all this out when obama’s fear and smear truther squad was attacking him as just another heartless out of touch plutocrat with nothing in common with folks like you and me.

Perhaps the commentators were right, maybe Mitt should have fought off all the lies as they were being told but what I do know for certainty is this:
The testimonials last night connected and I mean they went DEEP down into the hearts and souls of Americans across this country. At the least I’d say more than a few minds were changed last night about the Mitt Romney people only thought they knew through obama’s negative campaign propaganda. Now they know the real everyday Mitt Romney others have know as dedicated self-sacrificing servant of his follow human beings in need – with more than words… just words.

Michael H. Smith

August 31st, 2012
8:48 pm

Yeah and I only need one word to describe obama: LIAR!

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

August 31st, 2012
8:50 pm

Immigrants come to America to get away from Obama’s idea of big government. His style of government has been failing, all around the world, since WWII.

I guess those immigrants can stay home, if the Mistake is repeated. Save their traveling money to help pay their outrageous taxes.

Thomas Heyward Jr

August 31st, 2012
8:51 pm

Excellent article by Christopher Manion————
What is sad is that….THIS time……there willl be no “savior”.
Only deranged people shouting for more wars.
.

“The Mitt Romney nomination reminds me of the 1976 convention that nominated Gerald Ford. Back then, Ford’s fixers (Dick Cheney and James Baker III) did everything they could to eviscerate Governor Reagan’s supporters at the 1976 RNC – and then tried to “reunite” the GOP and try to recoup the Reagan supporters they had alienated, all to no avail.

It failed because it was sheer pretense, disingenuous on its face. Baker and his sidekick, David Gergen, hated conservatives as much as Ford hated Reagan. They hated especially the millions of “blue collar” Democrats who came to provide the backbone of the “social conservatives” that supplied Reagan’s winning margins in 1980 and 1984.

Ford was adamant and unrepentant about his loyalty to the Rockefeller-Bush establishment. He bragged in the 1990s that his proudest accomplishment was the appointment of Supreme Court Justice Stevens, who quickly became a left-wing stalwart on the court, to be joined there by George H.W. Bush appointee David Souter in 1990. Time after time, the GOP Hot-Tubbers have lied to traditional conservatives, gotten their votes, and then betrayed them.

I don’t blame Ron Paul for demurring when asked to endorse Romney. Old-time Goldwater conservatives like me who support the good doctor have been betrayed all too many times by the GOP establishment’s lip service. The “Cloud” doesn’t have enough storage space to hold all the lies, and I admire the Ron Paul delegates for not believing them.

Romney has hired virtually all of George W. Bush’s disaster-ridden foreign policy cadre. They hate Ron Paul, and they hate us, for exposing their failures, for drawing back the curtain on their murderous plunder, and for puncturing their pious patriotic palaver to reveal its mordant mendacity. With them in charge, are we to believe that a President Romney would be a man of peace and freedom? Remember, they always lie, and they never, ever apologize.”
——————————————————————————————————————-
.
murderous plunder and lies……………….indeed.

ByteMe

August 31st, 2012
8:51 pm

I have no doubt Romney is a really great guy and that one story isn’t the only one told about him that would indicate it. There was also the missing girl in NYC that he shut down the office to get all the executives out on the street to find her.

I just think he’s lousy at running for President and has no clear new ideas for running the Executive branch. Any ideas he’s talked about are retreads of failed Bush ideas (like trickle-down economics) or stuff that’ll turn off a large part of the population (turning entitlements into vouchers. or having a foreign policy driven by the military).

No sale.

And, yeah, it’s bad when you’re big coming out party is upstaged by an old guy talking to a chair.

Thomas Heyward Jr

August 31st, 2012
8:53 pm

Remember this————-
.

Time after time, the GOP Hot-Tubbers have lied to traditional conservatives, gotten their votes, and then betrayed them.

Thomas Heyward Jr

August 31st, 2012
8:53 pm

With the help of Wingfeild-type cheerleaders of course.

F. Sinkwich

August 31st, 2012
8:54 pm

So the lib ilks can’t understand why Mitt would take time out of his busy life to comfort a dying boy. Could it actually be that he’s a really good man who cares about helping his fellow man?

Nope.

They scratch their collective heads wondering why Mitt didn’t just call a public union “grief counselor” to administer sympathy.

Thomas Heyward Jr

August 31st, 2012
9:01 pm

Laugh ………….ha ha.
Not the FIRST mention of the FED last night cuz……………..The Fed is Eastwooding YOU.
.
A Romney/obama supporter probably doesn’t know the answer to these questions.
Romney does.
.
1. What is the nominal yield on your savings account, thanks to the Fed’s zero-interest rate policy (ZIRP)? (Answer: 0.25%)

2. What is the inflation-adjusted yield on your savings account? (Answer: – 2.25%)

3. What is the rate of interest the Fed charges banks for “free money”? (Answer: 0%)

4. What is the average interest rate for bank-issued credit cards? (Answer: 14.52%)

5. What is the interest rate for student loans? (Answer: 6.8%, and 7.9% or 8.5% for PLUS loans)

6. Does the Fed pay interest on the funds banks have borrowed from the Fed for 0% and then deposited with the Fed? (Answer: yes)

7. Exactly how has the average American worker benefited from the Fed’s policies? (Answer: interest on credit cards has declined from 19.9% to 14.52%, if the worker has outstanding credit, which few of the bottom 90% do.) Theoretically, workers could re-finance their homes at lower interest rates, but the vast majority are either underwater or no longer qualify. Ben and the Merry Thieves love pulling Catch 22.

8. How has the average parasitic Neofeudalist Financial Lord benefited from the Fed’s “rob the poor to give to the rich” policies? (Answer: Handsomely. The top 1%’s income and net worth has soared as Ben and his Merry Band of Thieves have stripmined interest income from the poor and pension funds and diverted it to the rich.)
.
Eastwooding………………………………….lol

Michael H. Smith

August 31st, 2012
9:01 pm

Rafe,

The irony of it all is that the so-called Hispanics and Latinos the DEMwits try to lay claim on as their property, actually distrust government more than you or I and with very good first hand reasons.

Even the ones like the First Latina Governor Susana Martinez as she chose to describe herself after meeting with a couple of Republicans while she was still a committed Democrat and swore to remain such, came to the realization afterwards, as she told her husband the more she thought about the exchange on the issues discussed in the meeting… DAMN WE’RE REPUBLICANS!

People of Spanish descent are by proclivity politically given to the ideology of conservatism.

kayaker 71

August 31st, 2012
9:02 pm

No one in modern political history has been responsible for the economic boom that was a result of Reagan’s presidency. 43 straight months of increasing economic growth, culminating during Clinton’s second term. An election that is unprecedented in the annals of modern politics….. winning 49 to One. No one has ever done this and no one is expected to do it again. Can you imagine CA and NY going for Romney? All in all, an amazing legacy that he left for his country, his political party and the God he prayed to. RIP, Mr. President.

A dad

August 31st, 2012
9:05 pm

Any attorney knows the significance of the “empty chair.” But Eastwood’s speech was much more than that. The empty chair was symbolic for Obama’s failures to fulfill the many promises he made to the American people 4 years ago. I have to wonder at those people who are so blinded and biased by their political affiliation or lack of perception that they failed to see that. As for Romney’s speech, spot on. I turned the TV off with a clear understanding of where he will focus the next 4 years if elected. If anyone says this country is in better shape now than it was 4 years ago, they are smoking some really primo whatever. I think Romney will take definite steps towards restoring what used to known ad the American dream. I didn’t hear any demonizing of anyone (other than calling Obama to task for his many failures) or attempts to divide the country into an “us vs. them” mentality life BHO does with his 1% spiel. Will be interesting to watch the Dem Convention to see what themes they invoke. Someone, shouts of “USA, USA” just don’t seem very likely. I’m sure there will be a lot of mud slinging by BHO and the Dems. Oh, almost forgot. Another thing we attorneys know is, if you can’t attack the message, attack the messenger. And no thanks. No kool-aid for me. I just drink water.

Thomas Heyward Jr

August 31st, 2012
9:05 pm

From the WSJ——————

On Tuesday, Glenn Hubbard, a top economic adviser to Mr. Romney, told Reuters TV that Mr. Bernanke should “get every consideration” to stay on at the Federal Reserve, calling the chairman a “model technocrat” and saying that he deserves a pat on the back.

The Fed chief hasn’t said publicly whether he would want a third four-year term, but many of his acquaintances believe he wouldn’t. A Fed spokesman declined to comment.

Mr. Romney said he appreciates the counsel of Mr. Hubbard and others but reiterated his plans to replace Mr. Bernanke. He declined to say whether Mr. Hubbard, whom he called a wonderful economic adviser, might be a candidate for the job. Many people would be considered, he said.
.
lol……………………sadly.

RW-(the original)

August 31st, 2012
9:07 pm

I can’t say I’m surprised that our liberal friends don’t understand performance art. Bless their hearts they think they do though. Sort of like they think they know everything else. Reminds me of an old Reagan line.

Anyway, a great convention and a great campaign launch. Time to unleash the cash and get this party started.

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

August 31st, 2012
9:10 pm

Thomas Heyward

My you are one angry person, but anger doesn’t make what you want to believe, correct. No one “hates” Ron Paul, everyone just realizes he is unelectable. After Nixon’s resignation, no Republican was electable, that is how the first Mistake, Jimmy Carter came to be. I hope you don’t hate Rand Paul for endorsing Romney and working to get him elected.

Romney or the Mistake of Oh Eight are the only two choices. If you don’t want to participate, don’t. If you want to go through the motions and vote for someone who doesn’t have a chance, Gary Johnson, Rocky, Roseanne, maybe Cynthia, are all seeking votes.

getalife

August 31st, 2012
9:12 pm

“Time to unleash the cash and get this party started.”

Yes, so what do those billionaires want from those unlimited bribes?

getalife

August 31st, 2012
9:21 pm

Steady job growth after a collapse is not good enough for you cons.

Do you want austerity like the EU and back to a recession?

There is no booming economy after a collapse but economists predict we will gain 12 million jobs the next four years if the gop does not screw it up.

Did you actually believe he was the messiah and could take a collapse to a booming economy?

Perhaps you cons should join reality and get a firm grip on it.