Sept 1, 2012
Earlier today, I wrote about the apparent (but preliminary) vindication of the Clint Eastwood strategy, in terms of viewership and impact on voter choice. However, the cultural impact of Eastwood’s empty-chair routine might be the biggest gain for Republicans from his appearance. Paul Ryan had a brilliant line about college graduates being stuck in their childhood bedrooms, staring at “faded posters” of Barack Obama and Hope and Change. This cycle, we have the empty-chair Presidency, thanks to Eastwood, and Investors Business Daily’s Michael Ramirez puts his Pulitzer Prize-winning talents to expanding on that theme.
The editors at IBD join their colleague:
Eastwood highlighted the empty chair and the empty promises and policies that failed to lower both the sea level and the unemployment rate, stuck at more than 8% for 42 months, a post-Depression record. Meanwhile, President Obama jets to college campuses in the carbon-gushing Air Force One to prattle on about student loans to college students who won’t be able to find jobs.
Obama and his administration officials have made 435 taxpayer-funded visits to college campuses or other events targeting students since March 2011. Included have been 164 trips to battleground states, a new study shows, leaving him too busy to meet with his jobs council to find these kids work.
Eastwood’s empty chair reminds us of the poem by William Hughes Mearns that goes in part: “Last night I saw upon the stair, A little man who wasn’t there, He wasn’t there again today, Oh, how I wish he’d go away .. .”
Eastwood suggests that in November we can make our invisible president do just that.
About the only thing that Eastwood needed was to place an empty suit in that empty chair.
Meanwhile, Bill Whittle eschews the empty chair imagery for Obama in his new Afterburner and uses another — The Incredible Shrinking Man. The man who four years ago commanded arenas of adoring crowds now can’t fill his own nomination-speech venue. Instead of engaging the political media, Obama now has descended to magazines like People and Glamour. It’s a strange diminishment of an incumbent President, who should be engaging on the broadest possible stage to diminish his challenger. Instead, as this weekend’s sudden dash for New Orleans showed, Romney is beginning to successfully diminish Obama:
Obama’s Kardashian media strategy signals that his campaign is pretty sure he’ll lose if only the politically engaged and savvy vote. That’s a telling, if tacit, admission.