Top Ten Clint Eastwood Empty-Chair Falsehoods

You can’t see me, but I’m talking to Clint Eastwood sitting spectrally in an empty chair, and I am replying to his confused rant.

1. Mr. Eastwood, you called the failure to close the Guantanamo Bay penitentiary a broken promise. President Obama was prevented from closing Guantanamo by the Republicans in Congress, which refused to allocate the funds necessary to end it. Do you remember this this Washington Post headline, “House acts to block closing of Guantanamo”?

2. Mr. Eastwood you called “stupid” the idea of trying terrorists who attacked New York in a civilian courtroom in New York. But what would have better vindicated the strengths of America’s rule of law, the thing about the US most admired abroad? Mr. Eastwood, perhaps you spent so many years playing vigilantes who just blew people away (people who in the real world we would have needed to try to establish their guilt or innocence) that you want to run our judicial system as a kangaroo court.

3. You complained that there are 23 million unemployed Americans. Actually there are 12.8 million unemployed Americans. But there are no measures by which W. created more jobs per month on average during his presidency than has Obama, and there is good reason to blame current massive unemployment on Bush’s policies of deregulating banks and other financial institutions, which caused the crash of 2008.

4. You criticized President Obama for giving a target date for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan of 2014, and alleged that Romney said, “Why don’t you just bring them home tomorrow morning?” But George W. Bush set a target date of 31 December, 2011, for withdrawal from Iraq, and did so in negotiation with the Iraqi parliament. Was that also a bad idea? Have you considered that NATO allies and the government of President Hamid Karzai may have demanded an announced withdrawal date as a prerequisite of continued cooperation with the US there? And, just for your information, Gov. Romney hasn’t called for US troops to withdraw from Afghanistan immediately.

5. Mr. Eastwood, you made fun of Joe Biden as the ‘intellect of the Democratic Party.’ Vice President Biden was chair or ranking minority member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for decades, helped to save the Bosnian Muslims from genocide, and passed the Violence against Women Act. I haven’t always agreed with him myself, but he has been among our more thoughtful contributors to American foreign policy. You, on the other hand, like to pretend to shoot down large numbers of people over the course of a violent two-hour fantasy.

6. You criticized President Obama for ‘talking about student loans.’ The Republican Party, especially Paul Ryan, wants to take away the government-backed loans on which millions of students depend, at a time when student indebtedness is at an all-time high. Just because some people are way overpaid for play-acting doesn’t mean that ordinary people don’t need student loans to get the credentials that allow them to make a better life for themselves.

7. Mr. Eastwood, you criticized President Obama for saying he is an ‘ecological man’ but flying in Air Force One. Under President Obama, non-hydro forms of green energy in the United States have doubled from 3 percent of electricity production to 6 percent. Obama’s tax credits have been a big reason why. In contrast, Mr. Romney wants to get rid of credits for wind energy, which will hurt the Iowa economy, e.g., and is in the back pocket of Big Oil, so that he will stand in the way of green energy. I think doubling renewables rather offsets an occasional jet ride. And, it is Obama’s policies that will get us to the solar-driven airplane, not Romney’s.

8. You made fun of Obama because he has a law degree from Harvard. I just want you to sit in your empty chair for a while, and think about that.

9. You called Mr. Romney a ‘stellar businessman,’ but his business appears to have been to send American jobs to China.

10. I don’t know who suggested to you that you address us at the end and say, “Make my day,” with the implication that we should vote Romney-Ryan. But what I remember is, that phrase is a threat you are going to do bad things to us.

82 Responses

  1. The tendency to cling to the Independent Western Man myth, who “just gets the job done,” is behind many of the problems in the US, and particularly how it relates to the rest of the world.

    Thoughtless, pretty well defines that world-view. Closely related to the prideful ignorance you heard supporting him from the audience during his revealing, and rather embarrassing performance.

  2. Dept of Labor says there are 12.8 million unemployed, not 23 million.

    Romney also has a law degree from Harvard.

      • Well if he meant under-employed he should have said that. The GOP under Bush never mentioned those people.

        Nor would they be primarily Obama’s fault.

    • According to the BLS.gov website and the latest, i.e., July 2012 Employment Situation:

      link to bls.gov,

      there are 12.8 million people officially counted as unemployed. There are 8.2 million people who are involuntary part timers, i.e., “employed part time for economic reasons” and there are 2.5 million people “marginally attached to the labor force.” Marginally attached are people who want work, are available for work and looked for it in the last 12 months, but not the last four weeks. Therefore, they’re not officially counted as unemployed, but they’re jobless

      The U-3 unemployment rate, the headline rate reported by all capitalist, corporate media outlets is 8.3%. U-6 is a different measure of “labor underutilization” that includes the involuntary part timers and the marginally attached. July’s U-6 is 15%. According to U-6 there are 23.5 million people who are officially unemployed, involuntarily working part time and jobless, though not officially counted as unemployed.

      Clearly U-3 isn’t an accurate measure of the unemployment problem. Dr. Cole is right. Republicans have fixed on, advertised and used the U-6 calculation of unemployment and underemployment to make a nominally Democratic president’s employment record look worse. They would never do this were a Republican in the White House.

      Right or wrong, the president usually gets the blame or the credit for the unemployment during his/her terms in office. That said, President Obama lacked the courage, political will and concern for the working class to push for a much larger stimulus that would have come closer to closing the aggregate demand gap caused by the housing bubble collapse as Dr. Dean Baker of cepr.net argues incessantly.

      A larger stimulus, still pushed by Dr. Baker, Dr. Krugman and others is still a viable option to remedy to a serious unemployment problem. It requires leadership willing to take on the political cowardice of Democrats and obstructionism of Republicans.

      • The Green Lantern Theory – that we can have anything we want if only we have the will – is no more useful as an analysis of domestic legislating than it is in international affairs.

        The existing stimulus squeaked through by the skin of its teeth, but you are just sure that there were hundreds of billions of dollars left on the table if only the first African-American to get himself elected President of the United States (and who succeeded in passing the most extensive legislative agenda of any President in 45 years) had some determination and political skills.

        Perhaps if he gave a really good speech, Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn would have seen the error of their ways. Right, that would work.

        • Dr. Cole, it seems Joe From Lowell has a real hard on for my comments. I still want to respond to and an explanation of the “Marxism (I assume he means Marxian economics) is a remarkably limited perspective” remark. That statement alone evinces ignorance of Marx’s economics.

          However, it appears Joe from Lowell argues a counterfactual. We’ll never know what size stimulus President Obama could have passed if he took his case to the people, that is, if he sold a large enough stimulus the way G.W. Bush sold an unprovoked war of aggression on Iraq that very few wanted until he and his propaganda machine did their dirty, persuasive work. Asserting President Obama couldn’t get a larger stimulus doesn’t make it so.

          It’s amazing that the US spends trillions of dollars on “defense” and wars supposedly to protect “freedom,” and make the “homeland” “safe.” However, one time stimulus spending of a $1.5 Trillion so that many more millions may have employment and secure lives, i.e., safe from hunger, homelessness and the lack of health insurance is out of the question.

  3. Regarding #3…….. Just to be fair we should remember that many Democrats went along with financial “modernization” too. And that Clinton signed away Glass Steagall…… Though, of course, the whole drive to “modernize” banking and finance has been a fundamental Republican impulse.

    • No, you don’t get say that. The repeal of Glass Steagall was a Republican bill, supported by ALL the Republicans and Clinton signed it because it would have been over-ridden and it was the best he could get.

      • Of course Quinty gets to say that, because it’s the truth. Clinton signing and saying “It would have been over-ridden anyway,” and Clinton vetoing, and then it getting over-ridden are not the same thing.

        • Actually, Robert, they are the same thing. They are exactly the same thing. They both result Glass-Steagel being overturned. Period, end of story.

          If you want some political theater to make the medicine go down, watch some old episodes of Aaron Sorkin’s “The West Wing.”

  4. Standing O smack down, Professor.

    If only the MSM would do their jobs and fact-bust and truth-bust EVERY politician or political stunt, as you always do.

    With respect to Clint who is an iconic actor/director, he is THE FACE of the GOPTea — a grumpy old white man.

    The country and the world have moved on but the GOPTea men refuse to believe it as they cling to an idealized Leave-It-To-Beaver-past that never existed in the first place.

  5. I have been enjoying your foray into US political stuff. So when I ask this, it is not to diminish anything you write, but could you please put up an Omar Khayyam category in the side bar so I could go back and find the poems?
    Thank you.

  6. thanks! Omar Khayyam *is* a category in the drop-down category box (scroll down below ‘archives’ in the blog roll). You can also find them by putting Omar Khayyam in the search window.

  7. For an “Informed Comment”, you’re not very informed. Obama had a filibuster proof majority in both houses of Congress for the first two years of his presidency. He could have done anything he wanted. The terrorists held at GITMO are unlawful combatants under the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, they are not criminals. Civil trials are not required, and conducting the in NYC is especially heinous. If A Republican had made any of the comments Biden has made (or Obama for that matter), you’d be given us your “Informed Comment” about their lack of intelligence. You offer your opinion against Eastwood’s and say “Aha”, as if that concludes the argument. You use “Informed” in your name – perhaps you should actually try to live by it.

    • “Civil trials are not required, and conducting the[m] in NYC is especially heinous.”

      There’s a difference between what’s “required” by the corrupt interpretation of the laws about captured enemies fostered by your hero Republicans and what’s right, which evidently you have no idea of. Furthermore, was it “heinous” for the British to try and convict the 7/7 bombers in a London criminal court, or for the Spanish to do the same to the Madrid ones in Madrid? Or is it just “heinous” when Americans actually live up to their own ideals?

    • Where to begin….

      1. The filibuster only exists in the Senate, not in “both houses of Congress”.

      2. Obama is head of the executive branch; Congress is the legislative branch. The fact that the same party controls both the White House and Congress does not mean that they share the same goals or agenda – consider the manner in which a Democratically controlled Congress undercut Clinton during his first two years, and the analogous manner in which a number of Democratic Senators sabotaged Obama in order to extort legislative concessions or to please industry groups back home.

      3. The Democrats had a total of sixty votes in their Senate caucus (and no, there were never 60 Democrats – 58 Democrats, 2 independents) between July 7. 2009 when Senator Franken took office and August 25, 2009, when Ted Kennedy died. Although the Democrats had a nominal 60 votes during the period during which Kennedy’s temporary replacement was appointed (September 25, 2009) until Scott Brown was sworn in (February 4, 2010), they chose not to treat his vote as a sixtieth – you will recall that they put off finalizing the ACA until after Brown took office. The total time with a nominal sixty votes, you will note, is considerably shorter than “two years”. Further, given the health of Senators Kennedy and Byrd, it’s something of an overstatement that the Democrats actually had sixty votes for those three months – they could not vote from the hospital.

      4. Classifying somebody as an “unlawful combatant” is a mechanism by which that person can be detained without trial. But if you put them on trial, it is for crimes.

      5. Lots of “heinous” criminals, including those who have attempted or committed acts of terrorism, have been tried in New York. Why do you believe that the people of NYC are so weak and cowardly that they could not deal with a trial of 911 terrorists in their state? Projection?

      This is incredibly basic stuff – how can you not know this?

      • Think we have to reflect on all this…ignorance…as symptomatic of a deeper condition, otherwise you get lost in a futile process of endless corrections that fall on deaf ears.

        1–The hopeful view is of people being mis-informed, and who when corrected by new information will sway views. Presumably the genesis of this blog. On the margins this could work, leading to rationality taking us wherever. Hey, I’ll take it.

        2–However, there is evidently a deeper set of pathologies operating here, evidenced by an unwillingness to listen to new/different information, even when presented gently and with enormous clarity. (But let’s be honest, the sort of Look-At-The-Simple-Facts-You-Clueless-A** doesn’t help ANYONE’s mind to change).

        3–Strikes me the advent of a relatively slave-less society is somewhat of an aberration, looking back over the last 10,000 yrs. Looking at modern aboriginals, before Babylon etal I imagine the relationship of stronger tribes to weaker ones was even more ….direct. Its the law of the jungle bubbling a fraction of an inch beneath our nominal, passing civility. If y don’t believe me, have everyone in your office skip lunch AND their coffee pick-me-ups and see how the civility meter dips.

        4–What we’re looking at in Tampa is a cynical gang that seems to understand this. At best their vision is a kinder and gentler variety of the plantation. Again, sold to people ignorant of where they are going to fit in that brave new world. The brilliance of Tampa is how they’ve managed to convince so many of these people that they are somehow on the “inside”.

        Direct quotations recently heard in small town coffee-klatch of deep red state, by (ostensibly) college-educated notables:

        “There’s no need for a minimum wage, we’ll pay them what they’re worth.” or its close parallel…”If I make $$ you’ll make $$: don’t worry, I’ll take care of you.”

        “Those people never had it so good: we took care of them….” in reference to a families past ownership of slaves.

        The world can turn in reverse in regards to progress, and historically that should come as no surprise.

      • Puh-lease. How was it that FDR and LBJ were able to get the things done that they did, and Obama wasn’t with a super-majority? Really… it’s an incredibly basic question.

        • Obama’s majority was not comparable to those of FDR and LBJ. And, the Senate practices have been changed in recent years to more or less require 60 votes to do anything. There are unprecedented numbers of filibusters, and what a filibuster is and how it is deployed have changed. This innovation needs to be pushed back, but Obama certainly has suffered from it. It isn’t something FDR and LBJ had to worry about.

        • Since the GOP now loudly proclaims that FDR was a Marxist tyrant (with LBJ presumably being worse), and Ron Paul even calls Lincoln a tyrant, how is the GOP a solution to the problem of not getting progressive legislation passed? You’re going to vote Republican over this?

        • Puh-lease. How was it that FDR and LBJ were able to get the things done that they did, and Obama wasn’t with a super-majority?

          The package of legislation passed in Barack Obama’s first two years is more extensive and more progressive than that of any other President in the last 45 years. It is comparable, both in scope and progressivity, to LBJ, and close to Roosevelt.

          He did get things done. You just didn’t notice.

        • I don’t carry water for BHO. I don’t think he’s nearly the equal of either predecessor. But 2012 is a very different from 1934 or 1965. And LBJ’s admin is one of the great tragedies of US history–good ideas combined with sloppy execution and an insane war.

          Politics aside, in today’s media environment, BHO would defeat FDR or LBJ in an open election.

    • “Obama had a filibuster proof majority in both houses of Congress for the first two years of his presidency. He could have done anything he wanted.”:

      Now he didn’t. He had, nominally, a 60-vote majority between Arlen Specter’s switch and Scott Brown’s election, a period of a few months. Even then, “his” majority included people like Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman who, unlike Republican’s, don’t do exactly what the party leader wants.

      It’s best not to lead off with such an easily-disproved falsehood, it makes your readers ignore whatever else you have to say.

  8. Actually it is not true that Obama had a filibuster proof majority in the Senate; that would have been 60 Democratic members, which he never had.

    The Supreme Court doesn’t agree with you about prisoners not needing to be tried. Most of them weren’t terrorists, just people the Taliban captured and sold to the Americans. There were even Iraqi Shi’ites who had escaped from Saddam to Afghanistan and then got taken by the Afghans.

    What is remarkable in your refutation is that your points are either incorrect, as in not understanding how the Senate works, or completely insubstantial.

    • Regarding the filibuster proof majority………Lying has become so facile and easy among the Republicans – they have a fantasy world to protect, after all – that one of their minor lies (which, in its own right, is large enough) is that President Obama had a majority in the Congress which would pass whatever he wanted. This omits the tiny fact that there were several conservative Democrats in the Senate and a variety of right to lifers and Blue Dogs and DINOs in the House. And that at the drop of a hat they would join the Republicans……..

  9. Even before any words were spoken the Iconic backdrop of “The Outlaw” with Guns Drawn trouble me greatly. After the recent mass shootings they thought this was a “fun” setting for the, so called, humor that followed.

  10. Professor, there is common historical amnesia about so-called Bosnian moslems in the media that you keep repeating. Only after years of siege of Sarajevo, genocide of Srebnica and the like, America acted and even that with lots of caveats. Everyone was waiting for leadership of president Clinton and it wasn’t forthcoming for long time. We even opposed the badly needed arms for Bosnians to help themselves becasue the arms were provided by Iran. Our shallow media outlets can’t be blamed for not knowing history, but we would not expect that from an astute historian like you.

    • Clinton’s action was far too long in coming. He was influenced by Robert Kaplan’s travel book “Balkan Ghosts”, which made it seem like outside intervention wouldn’t work because everyone in the Balkans was caught up in centuries old hostilities. There was also the fact that Britain and France thought NATO action would interfere with what the UN was doing. But Joe Biden was an early supporter of arming the Bosniaks and NATO airstrikes. When Clinton finally intervened, it was an action not popular with either the American people or our allies. Thousands of lives were saved.

      • To be fair to Clinton, taking too long to stage a major military intervention is a relatively minor sin for an American President to make. He was also wrong not to intervene in Rwanda – and yet, let’s not forget that there were very good historical reasons for a President to be reticent to engage in military intervention around the world.

  11. Obama never tried to close Guantanamo–he tried to move the whole lawless operation to the Midwest. The House was absolutely correct to block it, even if most of the Republicans did so merely to oppose Obama.

    It was great to see GOP delegates being forced to cheer for things (ending the wars, closing Guantanamo) that few of them support.

    • “Obama never tried to close Guantanamo–he tried to move the whole lawless operation to the Midwest.”

      Oh, is Guantanamo in the midwest?

      What is it that makes you Grenwaldians so determined that you MUST include this false claim “Obama didn’t want to close Gitmo” in your argument. Your actual point (still not entirely fair, but at least truthful) that he would have continued to hold people in military detention stateside can still be made without insisting on this false point.

      But no, you just can’t bring yourself to grant even that inarguable point. It’s pathological.

      Anyway, once upon a time, people who were concerned about civil liberties recognized, even loudly proclaimed on their own!, that the existence of an off-shore prison camp posed a unique hazard, because its location weakened the protections enjoyed by inmates under the Constitution. Now, however, the same people who shouted this argument to the heavens six years ago conveniently let it slip their minds.

      • Obama didn’t want to move Gitmo to the Midwest; he merely continued Bush’s process of moving it to Bagram. Same idea, but in an actual war zone, instead of Cuba. Except with detainees from all over the world, far outside of the actual war zone.

        (Setting aside the shift from detention to assassination for a minute.)

        The campaign against releasing the innocent prisoners was outrageous, but whether or not Obama intended to shut down Gitmo is of secondary importance to his intent to continue the policy that Gitmo embodies.

        • Same idea, but in an actual war zone

          Um, excuse me, but holding POWs in an actual war zone, and setting up an extra-territorial prison camp far from any war zone, are not even remotely the same idea.

          Except with detainees from all over the world, far outside of the actual war zone.

          There were far more prisoners “from all over the world, far outside the actual war zone” in Guantanamo than in Baghram.

          (Setting aside the shift from detention to assassination for a minute.)

          There was no such shift. The people being targeted in military strikes are not people who would have been raided and detained before Obama took office. They are people in areas, like northwest Pakistan or the rural areas of Yemen, in which we lack the capacity to stage such raids. They would not have been detained under Bush; detaining them has never been an option. The shift has been from doing nothing about such people to conducting strikes against them. (Setting aside the legal and moral error of calling military strikes against wartime enemies operating on foreign soil outside of the reach of the government “assassination.”)

          whether or not Obama intended to shut down Gitmo is of secondary importance

          Then why do you (plural) consistently, reliably phrase your argument as “Obama didn’t shut down Guantanamo,” and make the argument go through these ridiculous preliminaries every single time the topic comes up? The answer, of course, is that your primary purpose is to accuse President Obama of breaking a promise, and the actual issue of detainees is just some silly putty to shape and then reshape as necessary in order to make that charge stick.

      • Bringing Bush’s Constitution-free zone into the US (and to gulags around the world) isn’t what “Grenwaldians” had in mind, and it isn’t what Obama promised.

        Relocating a base and changing its name only counts as “closing” it to children who haven’t yet developed object permanence. Even if Republicans had let him do it, nobody but the most partisan observers would have been impressed by that technicality.

        The Republicans who cheered Eastwood were exposed as hypocrites. But you have to acknowledge the same when it comes from your own side.

        • Bringing Bush’s Constitution-free zone into the US

          But that’s just the point – the US is not a Constitution-free zone. That’s why Bush set up the prison camp in Cuba in the first place – because locating it overseas reduced the constitutional protections that apply to detainees. This is also why bringing them into the US, as Obama intended, was so important – because it would have brought them out of a Constitution-free zone. Once again, the people you read and echo were, themselves, shouting this from the rooftops six years ago, but now have conveniently forgotten it. Yours is the only hypocrisy in this argument. You’ve completely and utterly flip-flopped on the importance of shutting Guantanamo, and on the evil of extra-territorial, Constitution-free prison camps. Your snotty posturing notwithstanding.

          (and to gulags around the world)

          Obama shut down the black sites. He did exactly the opposite of what you’re accusing him of. It’s no wonder you don’t know this, though – there has been quite the campaign to ignore the significant advances he has made in this area.

  12. I did not watch the Eastwood speech, but the notion of criticizing the President for flying on Air Force One strikes me as a particularly small-minded, fact-deprived, Tea Party-derived piece of absurdity. Air Force One is a flying fortress – part of the cocoon in which we keep the President during his travel, with any number of high-tech defenses against possible attack – and is also a flying office that is meant to enable the President to do whatever he needs to do, whenever he needs to do it. Perhaps Eastwood plans to make a movie in which the President travels only by bicycle and rowboat, but in the real world there is no “ecological” alternative to the use of Air Force One.

    Eastwood might have found himself at home in the U.K. a few years back when Tony Blair’s lust for an equivalent aircraft had the local pundits joking about “Blair Force One”, but even they understood why the President has… two of them.

  13. Depends on how you count unemployment. Standard unemployment numbers leave out shortterm discouraged workers. U-6 numbers are much higher than U-3. If you include long term discourage workers it’s even worse.

    link to shadowstats.com

  14. As Glenn Greenwald on the left and Ron Paul right have held,Obama merely planned to transfer the Gitmo prisoners to another geographic locale of the Police State, not give them the speedy trial they deserved or release them for lack of evidence.

    Have you complained, Professor about Obama’s Administration completing the Bush era war crimes exoneration?

    link to guardian.co.uk

  15. The Republican National Convention ended with a whimper as Clint Eastwood stood at the podium and talked to an empty chair. There are some questions about Clint’s connection with reality. Some critics said Clint “made my day.” Others suggested Clint should take a room at a Happy Hotel, but make sure the invisible people are not there. Also, where are those Eastwood pistols? Did the security people take Clint’s pistols because he is senile, pathetic, old, and embarrassing? In the background, Romney was placid because the GOP can see no evil, hear no evil and say no evil like Ronald Reagan, or the three monkeys.
    Perhaps more deeply embarrassing was the Romney set of goals:
    1. He will soon create energy independence;
    2. He will create 12 million jobs;
    3. He will create more private schools;
    4. He will cut the national deficit and balance the budget;
    5. He will reduce taxes;
    6. He will repeal Obamacare.
    In conclusion, Who is more out of touch with reality?
    A. Romney? B. Eastwood?
    Best,
    Robert Wesolowski, 352 751 0386 DEERNEST@UMICH.EDU
    3113 Archer Ave, The Villages FL 32162

  16. Official unemployment figures hardly reflect the actual number of unemployed people. They can’t simply be redefined out of existence. That’s my only issue with the rebuttal.

  17. You are badly ill-informed, Mr. Cole!

    Let’s just start with your first point re: President Obama being “prevented from closing Guantanamo by the Republican Congress…”

    At the time, neither the Senate nor the House were “Republican”; in fact in 2009-2010 (when Congress voted against closing GITMO) the Congress was controlled by Democrats (both houses). In May, 2009, the Democrat-controlled Senate voted 90-6 against appropriating funds to close GITMO (along with 50 of 57 Democrat senators). In December, 2010, the Democrat-controlled House also voted against appropriating funds to close GITMO!

    That empty chair seems to be large enough to hold an uninformed commentator, as well as a weak president!

    • And how many Republicans voted with Obama to close Guantanamo? If they joined blue dog Democrats in blocking him, then turned around and criticized him for not closing it, wouldn’t that make them… hypocrites?

      Why do I have to keep talking to empty chairs?

      • Obama’s weak attempt to close Guantanamo was just for the record and a cynical move. He knew it would be voted down so it didn’t cost him anything to put it up for a vote. He could appear to be following through on his campaign promise, but he cared nothing about closing the operation. If he ever truly believed it should be closed, which is debatable, once in office he was easily persuaded to keep it open.

    • Actually, those are the numbers for the passage of the entire defense appropriations bill in which the amendment prohibiting the closure of Gitmo was buried.

      It is inaccurate to claim that everyone who voted for the final bill as it ultimately emerged supported the particular provision. These are giant compromise bills, that must be passed every year, in which everyone has to eat something he or she doesn’t like.

  18. …That’s a different argument (one which, IMO, evidences President Obama’s lack of leadership with both Democrats and Republicans); incidentally, was it a surprise to you that Republicans opposed closing GITMO?

    My only point, however, was that you were mistaken when you laid blame on a “Republican Congress” as it was in fact a Democrat Congress.

    You’re certainly a good sport for posting my response!

  19. It’s not only Clint’s rambling demeanor the other night that suggests that he might be suffering some kind of intellectual decline. He’s not actually the face of the GOPTea, Kat, or at least he wasn’t until recently. This is the guy who said to GQ only a year ago:

    “I was an Eisenhower Republican when I started out at 21, because he promised to get us out of the Korean War. And over the years, I realized there was a Republican philosophy that I liked. And then they lost it. And libertarians had more of it. Because what I really believe is, Let’s spend a little more time leaving everybody alone. These people who are making a big deal out of gay marriage? I don’t give a fuck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We’re making a big deal out of things we shouldn’t be making a deal out of.

    link to gq.com

    Hard to explain, both for him and for the GOP.

  20. “President Obama was prevented from closing Guantanamo by the Republican Congress, which refused to allocate the funds necessary to end it.”

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    In these cesarian times, I wouldn’t expect the president to be blocked from doing anything, including killing people he doesn’t like, but here’s a Democrat Congress from 2009 to 2011. So what did Obama do with Guantanamo in this period of time?

    • “In these Cesarian times,” Congress still holds the power of the purse, and included in the annual defense appropriations bill a ban on using tax dollars to transfer prisoners from Guantanamo.

  21. @marco raimondi – You try to present yourself as an all wise, all knowing person yet you don’t seem to know (or choose not to know) much about the dirty tricks used by Republicans with the filibuster BS. The thing that irritated me to no end is the fact that Democrats didn’t stand up and invite them to do an actual filibuster instead of just threats. I would have loved to have watched if the Democrats had done that, then passed a simple rule that in order to filibuster 75% of the filibustering party must be present at all times. Darn I wish I was young enough & healthy enough to run for Congress!

  22. Some have wondered why Clint Eastwood gave up his mythical, mysterious image to pander to the tea-baggers.

    I theorize that he was hoping for a Chick-fil-a bounce. After all, he’s got a new movie that’s just hitting the theaters. If every Repub in the country goes at least once, that’s a nice piece of change – a real fist full of dollars.

    But apparently, he bewildered and turned off even his fellow wingnutters. Oh well – that’s the Creative Destruction part of capitalism.

  23. How are Republicans hypocrites? They didn’t want to close GITMO and they voted accordingly. It’s Obama that did not get the support of the Democrats. During Obama’s campaign, he used GITMO (under evil Bush) to demonstrate that it represents as one person put it “an international symbol of American imperialism and thuggery”. Obama played to the crowd that he would close down the evil GITMO which was eaten up by the progs, clueless, and terrorist sympathizers because they hated ANYTHING that Bush supported. Whatever Bush supported, Obama was against. So he just made promise after promise when, in fact, nobody wanted to close GITMO, as evidenced by his own party when it came down to a vote. Anyone who knows the history on this issue would never believe that Eastwood wanted GITMO closed or Republicans in general wanted it closed. It was OBAMA that made it a talking point and promise during his campaign. When Republicans mention GITMO, it’s not because they are drawing attention to Obama’s failure on closing it down, they are drawing attention to what a bad idea it was in the first place. And the vast majority of Democrats agreed.

    • The hypocrisy would come from blaming Obama for ‘failing’ to close Gitmo when they were the ones who stopped it. Like blaming him for failing to do most anything that the Republicans stopped him, which would be the hypocrisy implicit in almost all the current GOP campaign ads.

    • Actually, I think the hypocrisy is in the Republicans continually saying they are for “less government” period, and then supporting Guantanamo, which is certainly a form of government encroachment that happens not to ever inconvenience any right-wing Christian terrorists.

      Why don’t they just say they’re in favor of utter whorehouse license for white male Christian businessmen, and utter tyranny for anyone who wants anything different from them, because “God” or “the Invisible Hand” or some such crap prefers the former and has granted supernatural favors for such societies since 1492?

    • So he just made promise after promise when, in fact, nobody wanted to close GITMO, as evidenced by his own party when it came down to a vote.

      Are you, by any change, a Republican?

      Because that would explain why you’re having trouble understanding that Democrats often disagree with each other. Democrats in Congress don’t, unlike the people across the aisle, fall into lockstep obedience with whatever the President wants.

      Obama wanted something, and the Congressional Democrats blocked it. Where’s the hypocrisy?

  24. Actually anyone who could suffer through that entire embarrassment, including you yourself Prof. Cole, deserves a medal. And I thought Curb Your Enthusiasm was cringe-worthy.

    But I wish people would let go of the Democrats/Republican paradigm and all of this seems a horrible distraction, Neal Postman’s worst nightmare come true.

    Look, any party that does not fight for a living wage, clean environment, strong social safety net, universal access to education, healthcare, and yes, even food, is not a party that can lay claim to the name civilized, let alone Christian. And neither party seems willing to fight for any of this, but to live on deceptions, lies, and false promises. You can vote for this repeatedly, but as I recall the definition of insanity is to do something again and again that doesn’t work.

    In the process of all of this we get fed a diet of values straight from the reptilian brain: values of aggression; of hierarchy, of territoriality. The only thing left to do after a while is to tend your vegetables and raise your chickens and hope the goddamn idiots who run this godforsaken country don’t blow it entirely the hell up.

  25. Why doesn’t everyone lighten up. I suspect Clint wanted to even the playing field after everyone thought he did the NFL Chrysler commercial for Obama. Or maybe he was high.

    The entire episode was irreverent towards the political process as a whole. It was grossly irreverent to the RNC commercial. He got his ‘talking points’ that Romney’s staff gave him into his ‘speech’ but in a wildly subversive way. It upstaged Romney and became the talk of the town right before it began. So much for Romney getting the attention he needed on Twitter to make a play for younger voters.

    I suspect Eastwood thinks all politicians are clowns, and his new movie is about an old may going senile!

    As on commentator said, Clint did this for Clint.

    Besides, he Afghan comment was a slap to Romney, too. Obviously, Eastwood supported bringing the troops home ‘tomorrow’. The lawyer comment was sly – Romney is a lawyer, too. Most of what he said had another edge.

    Anyway you look at it, the off-color joke was totally inappropriate. That’s why he did it.

    Romney’s staff looked like fools. Nothing in Eastwood’s history has him very much involved in national politics. You don’t just willy nilly ask Eastwood to do you a favor without being prepared. He’s too in charge of his own life and doesn’t need ‘good’ publicity. But ‘bad’ publicity is another story….

  26. I heard they were going to create a Ronald Reagan hologram for the finale, but decided against it. I guess Eastwood was the hologram’s understudy.

  27. Just saw this speech and loved it. To see the GOP cheering for ending wars, bringing the troops home and ending Gitmo was great. Remember Romney wants to double down on all this. Listen to speech again. He really wasn’t kind to Ronmey and Ryan. The best he said was that they can come along and Romney was a quote unquote stellar businessman. Then he had the crowd cheering against lawyers being president which includes both Obama and Romney was priceless. The ultimate subterfuge.

  28. Juan, I can not speak for the whole world outside the US but I can assure you that in Europe the “strengths of America’s rule of law” is by no means admired. Granted, many Europeans have no idea about the subtleties of the American legal system but the death penalty alone inhibits any admiration.

    • Opinion polling in the world publics is very clear that there is widespread admiration for American rule of law.

  29. Those Republicans dismissing Joe Biden’s intellect are going to be in for a shock at the VP debates, when Marathon Man has his head handed to him.

  30. “You, on the other hand, like to pretend to shoot down large numbers of people over the course of a violent two-hour fantasy.”
    I hope you are not referring to his brilliant and very thoughtful “Unforgiven.” If so, you misunderstood the film, which Eastwood used to critique the American Western and really much of his own career. Give the man his due as an artist, even if he’s not very good at debating furniture.

    • one of my top 10 movies. sin – redemption – sin again – unable to be redeemed. like a lot of politicians.

  31. Eastwood did lie like all the others did, but as performance art, his gig will go down as a classic. More significantly, he “stole” all the “thunder and lightening” from the RNC’s big day, leaving Rubio’s and Romney’s gig “sounding” only like the pitter-patter that follows any storm.

    • Lies? Eastwood’s are almost irrelevant, while a sitting president’s are consequential, especially when mated with hypocrisy.

      I will not win many friends with this, especially among hardened, true-believers, and the blindered intolerants who now refuse to gaze outside their once wide-open minds, having abandoned thoughtfulness and introspection, and embraced the confining, anti-intellectual, partisan jail-cell called “progress”

      Professor Turley’s take on President Obama is a must read:

      “John Cusack Interviews Law Professor Jonathan Turley About Obama Administration’s War On the Constitution” – John Cusack; 9/1/2012

      link to truth-out.org

  32. I do not think that point #3 accurately portrays ‘deregulation’. Both Glass Steagle and Commodities Future Modernization occurred because CLINTON signed the bill. His advisors were Summers and Rubin. Its fruitless to argue that his arm was twisted. He was never a PROGRESSIVE – only a career politician that artfully played both sides – while taking money from Wall Street.
    I might say the EXACT same of Obama. He hasn’t reformed energy, banking or health care. He has played it down the middle. Preaching liberal philosophy WHILE taking tons of money from Wall St. I think he took the most money from Wall st of any president in 2008.
    I will be forced to vote for Jill Stein since Nadar isn’t running. If i didn’t have a free vote here in NY and i thougth the race close then i might vote for Obama – since the other side are SO smarmy and SO less representative of MOST Americans interests. But –
    Obama should be criticized for —
    1. Banks still looting money from the country
    2 Transferrence of wealth continues
    3 He had Summers and Goldman Sachs employees – just as the other presidents
    4 His record on civil liberties may be worse then Bush’s
    5 He signed the NDAA act
    6 He signed the Bush tax cuts
    7 He stated he was helping the unemployed as a reason for signing the cuts but neglected to mention the 99 weekers fell off the rolls
    8 He has doubled down on the Afgan war – greater then Bush and we still soldiers/contractors in Iraq
    9 His behavior as regards the Pal/Israeli conflict is unspeakably duplicitous. He went in front of AIPAC and proudly boasted he criticized the Goldstone report. He critized the notion that the people killed on the Turkish vessel didnt deserve it. He even was the LONE vote (or close to it) DENYING the Palestinians an ‘observation’ in the United Nations.
    10 Lets face it – there is no choice and the democrats have sold out the progressive end. They serve only corporate interests.

  33. I admit to not having read every word of every comment on the theatrics of Dirty Harry in Tampa but I am surprised that the immediate reaction wasn’t to talk about the empty seat I might have sat in for Mr. Eastwood’s next film. I, for one, will take a pass.

  34. why has no comment yet been made by the “liberal” media referencing the secret service activity after Clint drew his finger across his – to signify Obama’s – throat?

  35. Or maybe Mr. Eastwood intended to do exactly what he did, throw a stick into Romney’s spokes.
    True, maybe he just was haveig a senior moment.
    True his field is film not standup comedy so he could have misjudged his ability in the venue.
    But with his long years of experience in predicting audience response, even on half power I think the man knew what he was doing. He walked into the prime speaking spot, took a big crap and took his time spreading it around. And if the Romney team couldn’t figure out how to manage the show then how the hell will they manage the Big Show on the world stage?
    I don’t agree with Clint Eastwood’s politics but he knows how to pick a team and lead it to success and I doubt he has any patients with incompetence. Welcome to the big leagues Mr. Romney. Hope you enjoyed your intro.

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