“Invisible Obama” Has My Vote

Liana Teixeira

The Republican National Convention came to a close last Thursday night, but if anyone watching the event remembers one thing from the convention, it won’t be Mitt Romney’s speech accepting the nomination for president, but rather the long and somewhat unconventional ramblings of Clint Eastwood.

When I tuned in to watch, I made an immediate double take. Clint Eastwood at the RNC? But hey, I was intrigued. There’s a level of respect attached to the award-winning actor, director and producer. So I figured I’d watch.

And then…I saw the chair. Remember in those old Vaudeville shows, when long shepherd’s hooks would pop out from behind the curtains and yank off the performers who weren’t doing so hot? Well, let’s just say they definitely should have used one on Clint Eastwood.

For those who are unaware of what went down on Thursday night, Eastwood (in a supposed last-minute request) asked that an empty chair be placed next to the podium whilst making his speech.

He then proceeded to talk to the chair throughout the speech, referring to it as President Barack Obama. The “invisible Obama” would then respond in a voice that apparently only a telepathically-superior Eastwood could hear.

Many of the comments suggested that “Obama” was making profane remarks toward Romney.

Okay, let’s get real for a second. Am I the only one who viewed this as completely bizarre? Not only were the comments disrespectful toward Obama, but they showed a real lack of maturity on Eastwood’s part. (He was talking to a CHAIR!!).

We all know Obama and Romney disagree on many levels, but the last thing we needed was an ad-libbed act taking the attention away from the stuff that really mattered that night. It reminded me of that Taylor Swift/Kanye West incident at the 2009 VMAs.

Frankly, I believe Romney deserved his time to shine in the spotlight. For almost 12 full minutes, Eastwood awkwardly entertained the sea of Republicans and Romney supporters, making additional wise cracks at Oprah Winfrey and Vice President Joe Biden.

Each time Eastwood lost his train of thought, he covered up his stuttering by pretending the “invisible Obama” said another nasty comment, making it really hard to tell what points he was actually trying to make.

I feel that everyone will only remember Eastwood’s butchered attempt at comic relief. Even when Eastwood did manage to poke holes in the Obama administration’s policies during the past four years, he seemed to accidentally point the finger at Republicans as well.

When mentioning the war in Afghanistan, Eastwood argued that the U.S. did not consider the fact that Russians were unsuccessful in Afghanistan for ten years. If history serves me correctly, I believe we entered war with Afghanistan during the Bush administration, not Obama’s.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow probably summed up my reaction perfectly: “That was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen at a political convention in my entire life.”

And as we all have probably seen by now, a new Twitter craze has exploded with photos of people “Eastwooding.” That is, angrily pointing to empty chairs. The president even caught on and posted a photo of the back of the presidential chair with the caption, “This seat’s taken.”

Maybe I am being a little harsh about this whole thing. I mean, it is a presidential race after all; there’s supposed to be an exchange of finger-pointing and blame. However, Eastwood’s display took it a little too far.

And honestly, it was just weird.

I give credit to Romney, though. Once he got up on stage, he had his poker face on and totally played it off. If he had any disapproval about Eastwood’s stunt, it was obviously not reflected in his address.

Now that the RNC is over, I’m pretty excited to see how the Democratic National Convention plays out. Who knows? Maybe Obama will put an empty chair on stage imitating Eastwood. Or maybe he won’t mention the incident at all. Either way, the 2012 presidential race has gotten off to an interesting start.

I consider myself moderate, but I admit being a personal Obama fan. That being said, I don’t think there is an obvious winner like there was in previous elections.

At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone voted for the chair.