All We Need To Know: Mitt Chose Clint

Mit Romney's robotic entrance into the Republican National Convention. Compared to Clint Eastwood's cranky, crazy tour de force, with the empty chair, Romney's speech was doomed to be the least memorable thing of the week. Next morning, everybody was talking about Eastwood, and the Romney video nobody saw.
We have been told over and over again we need Mitt Romney, because, even if we don't like Romney (and most Americans don't), even if Romney seems to have no presidential essentials—for example, he absolutely sucks so far at foreign policy—Romney is supposed to be a good manager and decision-maker.

And that sounds good, if we were electing the guy to run a Staples or something, but here's the thing. In the most colossal fuckup of the 2012 campaign so far—and the competition is fierce on that—it turns out the decision-maker that signed off on letting Clint Eastwood blather to an empty chair as the main lead-in to Mitt Romney accepting the Republican nomination—was Mitt Romney.

Widely denounced as one of the dumbest moves by anybody at a political convention ever, the Eastwood psychodrama, which seems to have been scripted (and definitely much enjoyed) by the DNC, achieved two important outcomes:

1. It certified the Republican National Convention was nothing but a freak show, with Eastwood's portrayal of an elderly celebrity conservative, talking down to an empty chair symbolizing President Obama, coming across as surreal, pathetic, and boorish—and that's just what Republicans thought about it. Those are not feelings you want generated right before your presidential nominee is about to make his first speech to the nation.

2. In most commentators' eyes, the second outcome was far more damaging to Romney and an indication of his poor decision-making and delegating. By putting in Eastwood, unscripted Eastwood at that, the campaign eliminated the time to run (in prime-time) a feel-good video introducing Mitt Romney to voters. Perhaps the Romney campaign felt that if the USA isn't introduced to the guy by now, what difference will a 10-minute video make? Well, the difference it could have made is clearly illustrated by comparing reactions to the video—even alleged liberals say it helped make Mitt Romney more likable —versus reactions to Clint Eastwood's lecture to an empty chair.

For my part, given that I always hate candidate infomercials (the "info" is intentionally ironic after all), I found the Romney intro video even more worthless than Eastwood's theater piece. But most people didn't see it that way.

As soon as Eastwood got through with his address to the convention, reporters began pestering the Romney campaign to explain who authorized Clint to carry on like that. It turned out nobody had authorized the exact content and style of the now infamous Empty Chair speech. Somebody had just told Clint to go up and say a few things about unemployment and how Obama was such a disappointment.

While the campaign refused at first to say exactly who it was that had given the go-ahead, on Friday the New York Times revealed that the culprit was none other than Mitt Romney himself, the supposedly great decision-maker. While his aides certainly polished their chief's bad plan, by never bothering to review precisely what Eastwood would say or do onstage, that just calls into question Romney's choice of lieutenants—also.

This is just the latest in a series of dubious decisions and gaffes on the part of the Republican nominee, a man who is supposed to be demonstrating through the process of running his campaign that he is qualified to be president of the United States.

Based on his performance in the campaign so far, Mitt Romney does not possess the demonstrable skills to run a Staples—or a convenience store—much less the USA. And that's assuming, as Romney does, that the only skills required to be president of the USA are business acumen.

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