Green Room

The genius of the empty chair

posted at 1:26 pm on August 31, 2012 by


I confess…at first, I didn’t know what to make of Clint Eastwood’s performance at last night’s RNC finale.  I thought it was uneven, it was definitely unscripted, and I wasn’t sure about the empty chair.  Upon further review I find that it was absolute genius, by far eclipsing Tina Fey’s 2008 send-up of Sarah Palin.

This particularly Kaufmanesque performance caused liberal/media heads to explode, and unleashed a torrent of Eastwood hate throughout social media.

First, the more serious elements of the monologue, with its simple yet devastating “let him go” riff.  Beyond the firing context, people need to be gently reminded that it’s OK to “let go” of their Hopenchange illusions, that the failure of this presidency does not directly reflect on their individual judgement, and that it’s OK to demand adherence to American exceptionalism.

Then, the chair.  With that vaudevillian bit, Eastwood successfully depicted President Obama as empty, a depiction that continues to ripple on beyond last night.  The chair bit exposed and clarified what we’ve known all along to be true; that the self-professed “blank canvas” was really nothing more than a vapid empty suit, delivering empty speeches, which begat empty policy, and resulted in empty governance.

The genius of Eastwood’s performance lies in that it enables us all to see the emptiness of the past four years and proves (as does Obama’s response) the potency of Saul Alinsky’s rule 5, beyond all reasonable doubt.  The left’s recoil confirms it.


Crossposted at El Tercer Riel (The Third Rail).

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Perfect. You understand why the Left is so angry. Rule #5 it is.

victor82 on August 31, 2012 at 1:47 PM

Great post! I agree with what you said. We saw that last night and I guess being seniors, we knew just what Clint was trying to say. Others, younger, might have taken longer to get Clint’s point? IMO, Clint did good!

letget on August 31, 2012 at 1:47 PM

Not a senior myself, but when Clint came onstage and delivered, I was really amazed at the deep-hitting context of his speech.

There is small wonder this man is, and will continue to be a legend.

Turtle317 on August 31, 2012 at 1:51 PM

Watching it again, one can see aspects of Will Rogers at work, i.e., the abstracted and folksy-seeming mockery that gently meanders around until it deftly delivers the jab you didn’t see coming. No one has really tried this on Obama. But I don’t think Eastwood was “trying” to do anything. This was just him. Eastwood combines classic American liberalism with no-nonsense “let’s get it done” pragmatism. Obama is not a classic liberal but a closet tyrant and he isn’t getting it done at all but making it worse — he’s gotta go. That’s Eastwood’s formulation. It’s a lot of America’s, too.

rrpjr on August 31, 2012 at 2:02 PM

And of course, it was racist that he treated the president in that way (according to libs):

eforhan on August 31, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Clint had many more subtle messages in that performance than many people got (including the empty chair which was certainly a reference to a guy that promised to give up the teleprompter and hasn’t been seen since). I think I got most of it and I was LOL.

I also wonder whether he laid down the gauntlet to the Hollywood conservatives. Seems more and more of our electorate take their views from People magazine (from a group that is only one lucky break away from wainting tables).

teejk on August 31, 2012 at 2:13 PM


cmsinaz on August 31, 2012 at 2:19 PM


thatsafactjack on August 31, 2012 at 2:23 PM

An empty suit sitting in the chair might have worked better —

natasha333 on August 31, 2012 at 2:26 PM

You know he wanted to say…..

“…..well, do ya…punk?”

BobMbx on August 31, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Since Obama has refused to talk to the serious press much less the people, the empty chair was appropriate. (Just ask the White House press who have been trying to get questions answered for months in a real press conference.)

When Obama creates a vacuum of that size Republicans would be foolish not to fill it. Empty chair, empty press podium, empty leadership.

rlyle on August 31, 2012 at 3:17 PM

As Rush pointed out today and now, thanks to the picture, I can see for myself, I LOVE the teleprompter!! And it WASN’T for Eastwood!

suzyque on August 31, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Some people seem confused about what was going on at the beginning. Fox didn’t show the chair for the first few lines, just him turning to his left to talk. It took a few moments to get what the set-up was.

But Clint’s skit was great. We enjoyed it thoroughly. He made wry points and deadly serious ones, plainly and simply. Awesome.

Allahs vulva on August 31, 2012 at 5:36 PM

No one can get the empty chair out of their minds. Clint did that. No going back. It’s something the media cannot undo. It’s so symbolic of Obama’s administrition and Obama himself.

He’s MIA. He’s absent. He’s an empty suit. He’s empty. He’s smoke and mirrors. He’s an illusion. He’s always golfing. He’s never there for the people. Time to let him go.

People now have a picture in their minds of Obama not being there. That it’s ok.

Oh, and laughed my ass off. It was a great skit.

MrX on August 31, 2012 at 11:39 PM

“…it enables us all to see the emptiness of the past four years…”

…but more importantly, it ALLOWS US ALL – in particular, those “on the fence” – TO REJECT OBAMA WITH CLEAR CONSCIENCE.

That’s something which seems to have evaded even the establishment Republicans.

Czar of Defenestration on September 1, 2012 at 5:40 AM

You nailed it, Jorge. I too had to watch it twice and watch the response it elicited to appreciate its brilliance.

The empty chair is perfectly iconic for this president. And its okay to fire him.

petefrt on September 1, 2012 at 8:25 AM

Awesomely awesome… and Clint’s bit with TOTUS & The Chair was pretty darn good, too. 😉

“Ask not what your TEA Party can do for you…” ~ DeepWheat

DeepWheat on September 1, 2012 at 11:17 AM

The empty chair was sheer genius! Thx Clint!

“You made MY day!”

Khun Joe on September 1, 2012 at 11:45 AM

This is exactly the kind of thing that the professional left love to hold up as “art”. Being more than an image, or even a talented creation, it’s purpose is to shock and to display the foolishness of others.

It succeeded perfectly. Not only in telling the empty chair why we reject everything he stands for; it also served to draw the vapid and deliberately obtuse criticism of the left to the forefront. What’s the topic on the left? Not that Clint is wrong, but that he’s just a senile doofus.

Yeah, pretty sure he’s tough enough to get over that. Meanwhile, they haven’t formulated a response to the content of the speech itself.

Doofus indeed…

PXCharon on September 2, 2012 at 8:45 AM