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Clint Eastwood, I hardly knew ye

thought the war in Afghanistan was OK. I mean, you thought that was something that was worth doing.

Last night, many of us settled in for what we thought would be a pretty predictable night of convention speeches. The RNC video about Mitt Romney would be touching and sentimental. Marco Rubio would be energetic and well-spoken. And as for nominee, well, Lawrence O'Donnell said it best during the msnbc special coverage, "The bar couldn't be lower. The expectations of the crowd couldn't be lower. All [Mitt Romney] has to do is read the prompter." We've seen this all before. Enter Clint Eastwood.

If you listened closely, you could hear millions of jaws dropping all across the country. Mr. Eastwood, a hero of cinema, wandered so far off his substance-free speech that he was left, in the end, quoting "Dirty Harry" to appease the chanting delegates in the convention hall. The only coherent thru-line was the conversation he conducted with an imaginary President Obama, signified by the empty chair beside him.

The 11-minute speech was rambling, confused, and truly strange. It was also ad-libbed, according to the Romney campaign. But as Ed Schultz noted later, "Somebody put the empty chair out there."   The high(low?)lights of what is now being referred to all over the web as "eastwooding":

  • "You [President Obama] thought the war in Afghanistan was OK. I mean, you thought that was something that was worth doing. We didn’t check with the Russians to see how they did there for 10 years. But we did it."
  • "We all know Biden is the intellect of the Democratic Party. He’s just kind of a grin with a body behind it."
  • Well, I know even some of the people in your own party were very disappointed when you didn't close Gitmo. And I thought, well, closing Gitmo — why close that? We spent so much money on it. But, I thought maybe as an excuse — Oh, What do you mean shut up? — OK, I thought it was just because somebody had the stupid idea of trying terrorists in downtown New York City. Maybe that was it.