Play Clinty for me

As Mr. Hayward suggests, the hard lines packed more of a punch for being delivered in the midst of a Bob Newhart empty-chair shtick from the Dean Martin show circa 1968. Indeed, they were some of the hardest lines of the convention and may well prove the take-home (“We own this country . . . Politicians are employees of ours . . . And when somebody does not do the job, we’ve got to let them go”), but they seemed more effective for appearing to emerge extemporaneously from the general shambles.

The curse of political operatives is that they make everything the same. A guy smoothly reading platitudinous codswallop while rotating his head from the left-hand teleprompter to the right-hand teleprompter like clockwork as if he’s at Centre Court watching the world’s slowest Wimbledon rally is a very reductive idea of “professionalism.” Even politicians you’re well disposed to come across as slick bores in that format. Which is by way of saying Clint is too sharp and too crafty not to have known what he was doing.