Well who says the Republican National Convention was lacking in entertainment value? The convention organisers, who had been touting their “mystery guest” for a week, placed Clint Eastwood in their precious few hours of prime-time just one slot away from Mitt’s big speech. Little did they know.
In what has now become a piece of American political legend Clint used more than double his allotted time of five minutes to have a marginally coherent dialogue with an empty chair, clearly meant to represent the incumbent President. That this was great television had more to do, as usual, with the jaw-dropping bizarreness of the stunt rather than the actual content; though it played well enough to the live audience, as you might imagine; not to mention the reckless optics of showcasing a cranky, old, white guy having an incoherent argument with an imaginary Obama. By all accounts the campaign never saw any sign of the train wreck headed their way.
Within minutes after this amazing presentation, even before the apparatchiks of Romney’s campaign could be reached for comment and vainly attempt to spin the whole thing away, an Internet meme #eastwooding was born and a Twitter account appeared for @invisibleobama. “Eastwooding” involves having a conversation with an empty chair, of course, or at least a photograph of one and @invisibleobama has a satisfyingly dry wit:
I’m behind Mitt! No seriously. I’m right behind him. @invisibleobama
Needless to say the @invisibleobama account acquired twenty thousand or so followers and #eastwooding was trending exponentially within hours. Sometimes the effort and diligence of following the daily frustrations and vicissitudes of day-to-day political baseball is amply rewarded.