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So Clint’s performance was not an original idea, but it was a good one. Interesting piece from Smithsonian.

As part of yesterday’s showings at the Republican National Convention, famed actor and director Clint Eastwood startled and amused viewers by mock-debating an empty chair, meant to represent President Obama.

Many who saw the scene thought it to be strange and bizarre, let alone unconventional, for a forum that is usually meticulously directed. Delegates on the convention floor, however, loved it.

But it turns out that the history of debating empty chairs is a rich one, stretching back to at least 1924 when Democratic vice-presidential nominee Burton K. Wheeler took a stab at an invisible President Calvin Coolidge.

American History

Safire’s Political Dictionary describes the event, quoting from Wheeler’s autobiography Yankee From The West.

In Des Moines, I hit on an original showmanship gimmick. The hall was jammed to the rafters… I said, “You people have a right to know how a candidate for President stands on issues, and so far President Coolidge has not told you where he stands on anything… so I am going to call him before you tonight and ask him to take this chair and tell me where he stands.” People in the auditorium began to crane their necks to see if Coolidge really was somewhere on the premises. I pulled a vacant chair and addressed it as though it had an occupant. “President Coolidge,” I began, “tell us where you stand on Prohibition.” I went on with rhetorical questions in this vein, pausing after each for a short period. Then I wound up: “There, my friends, is the usual silence that emanates from the White House.” The crowd roared in appreciation.

Safire’s dictionary also brings us more tales from history. In 1949, when John Foster Dulles ran for a Senate seat against Herbert Lehman, the former governor from New York, Dulles pulled a similar stunt. This time, though, Dulles made a habit of it. “Dulles traveled with a “prop”–an empty chair he debated in lieu of Lehman,” says the dictionary.

Years later, in 1966, the empty-chair-debate came up again during a race for governor of New York. Again, in Russia this time, an empty chair was left to stand in for Boris Yeltsin who had refused to participate in a televised debate.

via The Long History of Americans Debating Empty Chairs | Smart News.

Demonstrating once again her capacity for enormous stupidity, Debbie Blabbermouth Schultz criticizes Republicans for carrying on with their convention. Is she even cognizant of the fact that Obama’s on a three-state campaign swing, and chatting with Redditors, never coming close to Louisiana? Meanwhile, “win at all costs” Mitt Romney canceled an appearance in Richmond, VA, today so he could head to New Orleans.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the DNC and a Florida congresswoman, dinged Republicans on Thursday for not scaling back their convention further out of respect for Americans caught in the path of Hurricane Isaac.

“They could have taken things down a notch,” Wasserman Schultz said at a Democratic press conference rebutting the Republican convention. “I think it probably was an example of their continued focus on winning at all costs.”

While she said she agreed with the RNC’s decision to scrub the convention’s first day because of safety concerns, “parties and the special interest-funded bashes” still were held “in spite of the fact that our state was getting hit and Tampa was still in the path of the storm.”

via DNC Chair: GOP Placed ‘Winning At All Costs’ Over Respect For Storm Victims | TPM2012.

It’s interesting that he would make such a proclamation. I think he’s wrong about the reason why, though. It’s not just about how much money they raise and spend – what they stand for matters most.

In an appearance on The Huffington Post’s webcast on Thursday, filmmaker Michael Moore revealed that he is less-than optimistic about President Barack Obama’s chances against Mitt Romney.

Moore said the election’s going to come down to fundraising, and that Romney will have an edge over Obama.

“Mitt Romney is going to raise more money than Barack Obama,” Moore said. “That should guarantee his victory. I think people should start to practice the words ‘President Romney.’ To assume that the other side are just a bunch of ignoramuses who are supported by people who believe that Adam and Eve rode on dinosaurs 6,000 years ago is to completely misjudge the opposition.”

via Michael Moore: Practice the words ‘President Romney’ | The Daily Caller.

Looks like Clint Eastwood will be the “mystery speaker” at the RNC tonight. I wonder if he’ll go all “Dirty Harry” with his speech?

Clint Eastwood will be speaking at the Republican Convention in Tampa on Thursday according to Fox News. The network’s website is reporting that a GOP source confirmed “that Eastwood is indeed the mystery speaker”. Thursday night’s line-up has a “To Be Announced” speaker scheduled ahead of Senator Marco Rubio and GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney himself. Eastwood’s name was floated earlier this week as the speaker along with former VP nominee Sarah Palin, Donald Trump and even a hologram of former President Ronald Reagan. No stranger to politics, Eastwood served as the Mayor of Carmel, California from 1986 to 1988. He supported John McCain in 2008 and endorsed Mitt Romney earlier this month at a Sun Valley fundraiser. “Now more than ever do we need Mitt Romney, I’m going to be voting for him,” the Oscar winner said as the GOP nominee stood next to him on August 4.

via Clint Eastwood To Speak At Republican Convention on Thursday: Fox News – Deadline.com.