POSTED August 30 2012

Clint Eastwood, GOP “mystery guest”


I love John Wayne as an actor. Never much liked his hawkish support of the Vietnam war. I love Ginger Rogers as an actress. Never much liked her support of the House Un-American Activities during the McCarthy era.

I love Clint Eastwood as an actor/director. I liked the Chrysler “Made in Detroit”  he narrated that aired during the SuperBowl last January. I liked it last October when he told GQ, “These people who are making a big deal about 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 … Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want.” When I read about a month ago that he had endorsed Mitt Romney, observing something to the effect that he had first met the GOP candidate when he was making Mystic River in Massachusetts, I wondered if he was being playful when he sad of Romney, “Thought he was too handsome to be governor but thought he might be a good president.”

It was confirmed this afternoon that Mr. Eastwood will introduce candidate Romney tonight at the Republican Convention. Eastwood, a lower-case l Libertarian and a self-described “Eisenhower Republican” endorsed John McCain four years ago. So, not surprised  by the Romney endorsement. Yet I don’t understand aggrieved Eastwood fans who are shocked, shocked by his endorsement avowing that they will never see another Eastwood movie. Did these people also stop listening to Frank Sinatra when he endorsed Nixon? Did they stop listening to Ray Charles when he endorsed Reagan? Can’t you be a great artist and have politics different than mine?

Your thoughts?



  1. Jennifer Kotter says:

    scary sad, but I like his filmography too! how to reconcile?

  2. movieirv says:

    Would he be doing this if he didn’t have a movie to promote? This along with not having a problem with the Eastwood family reality series shows an uncharacterisitc lack of good judgment on Mr. Eastwood’s part. I think the cat has been out of the bag the last few days about Clint’s appearance on Romney’s behalf. I get he doesn’t endorse all of the party’s beliefs, but many will read it differently just by his appearance. the fact that he is/was a Repblican had little impact on moviegoers and I doubt it will now. Some of his films–Million Dollar Baby, in particular–reflect he is not a person who necessarily take the party line on partiuclar issues.

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  4. His speech was really pathetic, and it’s possible that it did the RNC a lot of damage. As Rachel Maddow points out, his stuttering may even wind up getting more press coverage than Romney’s squeaky-clean delivery. So, on balance, I’m actually sort of glad that he decided to appear and that he wound up doing it all ad-lib.

  5. I thought Clint’s remarks were fine, trenchant and funny. I don’t think gaining vile (always unkind, never funny or trenchant) Rachel Maddow’s approval is ever a worthwhile goal.

  6. DeeDee says:

    It is Senator Marco Rubio not Governor Mario, check your facts

  7. […] Editor’s note: Carrie Rickey was the film critic at The Philadelphia Inquirer for 25 years. She writes for many publications, including the Inquirer and The New York Times. Follow her at […]

  8. thom says:

    As a writer, you should check your postings for grammatical errors and misspellings. you have several.

  9. Claire Noegel says:

    Please just leave ‘ole’ endearing Clint Eastwood alone. He’s an old man. We can forgive him for his inept performance last night. I am sure his heart was in the right place. I might not agree with his politics, but the man makes such thoughtful, pensive movies.

  10. […] Editor’s note: Carrie Rickey was the film critic at The Philadelphia Inquirer for 25 years. She writes for many publications, including the Inquirer and The New York Times. Follow her at […]

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  12. GrampaSez says:

    “candidates have strip-mined” (Say the same about yourself as you investigated this story?)
    “hair uncombed and a little wild” (Sort of like Einstein?)
    “triggered unintentional amusement ” (Dishonest much? You had no clue of comedic aspects?)
    “the actor’s apparently improvised act” (Ever used that term to describe your favorite pianist?)
    “Roger Ebert …sad and pathetic …unworthy ” (Couldn’t insult, yourself, needed help?)
    “not the best hour for the former mayor” (Will you be calling OBAMA the “former president”?)
    “prominent Republicans …criticized the actor” (I believe you hate ROVE as much as Eastwood)
    “surprise me, a little, is that the GOP would invite Eastwood” (Drip sarcasm much?)
    “non-Republicans ..Twitter … GOP convention “tainted” his movies” (LIBS like YOU?)
    “…libertarian …pro-gay …hardly one to toe party line” (Invoke false nasty caricature of GOP)
    (MANY of us are “libertarian” on some of these issues despite your attempted sabotage)
    “have they watched Eastwood’s movies? You can’t pin this guy down ideologically”
    (in spite of your biting and sarcastic attempt to do so, then you SWITCH COURSES and try to set conservatives against him with your NASTY IMPLICATIONS that REPUBLICANS probably are uniformly anti-gay, anti-“choice”, anti-“ecology”)

    • Walt Coogan says:

      Get a grip, Gramps. Of course not all Republicans are anti-gay, anti-choice, and anti-ecology, but the GOP agenda is decidedly hostile to all those constituencies. Eastwood is pro-gay marriage and he has condemned opponents of gay marriage, he is pro-choice, and he is pro-environmental protection, pro-gun control, pro-civil rights, anti-censorship, and anti-war. Therefore, aligning himself with the Republicans in such a visible way makes little rational sense and even seems “masochistic” (to borrow one of Eastwood’s words), especially since the GOP is not serious about balancing the budget and hasn’t been serious about the task for decades.

  13. GrampaSez says:

    Your lack of comprehension seems to indicate that you’re a lib. “An old man, 80-something, with PERFECT AWARENESS of his abilities – AND limitations, USES THAT IMAGE to LAND ZINGERS against DEMOCRAT ADMINISTRATION INCOMPETENCE in front of THOUSANDS, with impeccable timing, and to STANDING-Os from his INTENDED AUDIENCE. The OLD MEN in the audience GOT IT, while many of the ‘WOMEN’ in the audience were nodding to the nearest OLD MAN asking for an explanation. EXPECT LIBS to go nuts with insults and innuendo, to include reference to Eastwood’s LIBERTARIAN BELIEFS.”

  14. Judy says:

    For a man of his age I thought he was wonderful. Instead of critizing him we should be praising all the wonderful things he said. We DO own this country and if somebody is not doing their job they need to be “let go”. Clint is from the ole school and I truly appreciate his honesty and bravery for sharing his opinion. Our problems are not within the presidency. It is now and always has been our Congress and Senate. Those guys need to get to work and pass laws to help the American people. We put the money in the bank which allows them to have a paycheck. There’s not a poor man in Washington. We need term limits and their benefits should be no more than what the American people have. Get off your butts and get to work! You don’t mind at all working the American people to death while you waste our money. You’ve certainly not done very much in the last 3 1/2 years to help US! In the meantime there are millions of us suffering out here.

    Thank you Clint Eastwood for your comments. You did a great job and don’t let all these negative people get you down. As usual the media doesn’t tell the whole story. They SHOULD be praising you and empathizing the points you made. I am so happy that someone FINALLY had the guts to say what I’ve been thinking and saying for years and that is “if their not doing their job let ’em go”. As voters we continue to re-elect these cronies. We need to clean house in Washington.

    • Walt Coogan says:


      Yes, the problems indeed lie with a dysfunctional Congress and the unconstitutional Filibuster. But then why would replacing Obama with Romney constitute a panacea? Eastwood did possess some politically transcendent gold in the midst of his dirt and dung, but he should have brought that gold to the surface, shaped it, and presented it in some forum where it would have resonated more sensibly, as opposed to a Romney endorsement at the RNC.

  15. Walt Coogan says:

    Ms. Rickey,

    I am surprised that Eastwood would speak at the RNC for two reasons.

    1) To my knowledge, he has never even attended a national political convention before, let alone spoken at one. Historically, he has expressed himself through his films and otherwise maintained a low profile. Even though he served as mayor of Carmel for two years, Eastwood never granted a national interview while campaigning. In the past, he has tried not to associate himself too closely with any national political agenda, in part to maintain a broad appeal to movie audiences and in part because he doesn’t neatly align with either major party’s agenda.

    2) Eastwood basically has nothing in common with today’s Republican party. He actually matches up with liberals and Democrats on most issues and while Eastwood constitutes a fiscal conservative in the classic sense of wanting to balance budgets, the Republicans have not been a fiscally conservative party for decades (as Eastwood has admitted in the past) and their current agenda of cutting taxes and increasing defense spending means that they not serious about returning to those roots.

    In other words, Eastwood lost a lot to gain nothing.

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