He would never talk to Gene Hackman like that

Scott has saluted Clint Eastwood’s appearance last night at the RNC, concluding that it worked. I think it probably did too, and said so at the time. I know that my wife, who is a not a Republican, enjoyed it and saw nothing amiss.

For many in the anti-Obama camp, the inquiry ends with the political calculus. But Eastwood’s performance left a slightly sour taste in my mouth.

Eastwood got off some good lines, to be sure. But there was also the suggestion that Mitt Romney thinks we should bring the troops home from Afghanistan tomorrow. That, of course, is far from Romney’s position, and far from a sensible one, as reasonable as Eastwood makes it sound.

Maybe it’s worth exploiting Eastwood’s star power even when it involves misleading the country about a key issue of national defense. But for me, the adage “shut up and act”, much loved by conservatives when leftist express anti-war opinions, comes to mind.

Many conservatives would be howling if, it a national convention, an actor had disrespected, in the Eastwood manner, a President of the United States of whom they approve. They will have occasion to howl. The bar was lowered last night. The fact that Eastwood isn’t just any actor doesn’t change this.

On a lighter note, I recall that in the late 1960s, the comic actor Tony Randall came under attack for participating in an anti-war skit in which he chastised President Johnson. One congressman said, “maybe he can talk that way to Rock Hudson [with whom Randall had co-starred in movies], but he can’t talk to the President of the United States like that.”

Randall’s response was, “I would never talk to Rock like that.”

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