Eastwoodmania: The press wanted an unscripted convention, and now they got one

I do love how the press corps has been whining for for decades about how these conventions are too scripted, too planned, too inauthentic and inorganic. And the moment we have a genuine TV moment they’re all shocked and horrified. I suspect that the smug condescension wouldn’t be nearly so raw and nasty if the target had been Romney and the act had been performed in Charlotte. But I don’t think partisanship explains it all. There’s a tendency for the political press to get so cozy with the political pros that they start to think alike. Breaking out of the groupthink about how things are done can produce a sharp negative reaction (particularly when you’re watching it live and have some deeply-set expectations about what is smart or even possible). That doesn’t mean, necessarily, that the groupthink is wrong. As conservatives in particular should appreciate, sometimes “the way we’ve always done it” is actually the right way…

I still think putting liberals and professional Democrats in the position of attacking Clint Eastwood instead of Mitt Romney is an unambiguous win. I think the controversy and buzz is useful because it’s pulling in the less politically engaged to hear sharp criticisms of Obama. Those who don’t like those criticisms will not hold them against Romney and those who find them persuasive …. will find them persuasive and that’s a good thing for Romney. Also, the simple fact that Clint Eastwood felt comfortable riffing about how Obama’s got to go, has to help others get over that psychological barrier — which was a big theme of the whole convention — is a significant cultural breakthrough. This wasn’t a game changer, as they say, but it did put points on the board — and not for Obama.