#Eastwooding

Clint Eastwood is a man of many roles: he’s a movie star, American badass, producer, director, and even politician.  Most recently, he can also add empty chair talker to the list.  Eastwood attended the Republican National Convention this past Thursday, August 30th. He was attending the convention to give an endorsement speech prior to Republican candidate Mitt Romney taking the microphone, and things got a little wacky.  Eastwood began talking and asking rhetorical questions directed towards Barack Obama to an empty chair on stage.   Almost immediately after the speech aired on television, Clint’s stint at the convention became a huge buzz on social media networks, such as Twitter, where #invisibleobama was trending.  Not only were people talking about Eastwood’s strange chair conversation, but people also began posting pictures of themselves reprimanding empty seats as well, giving rise to the internet’s newest sensation, #Eastwooding.

Romney may not have known what the outcome of bringing Eastwood to the convention would be, but it was certainly a strategic move on his part. It is safe to say that even if no one was expecting such a social media buzz about the speech, Romney was definitely looking to add star power to his campaign. Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, have become celebrities in their own right over the last four years. Obama has even taken to trying to downplay his celebrity in this election. This article from the Washington Times discusses Obama’s relationship with George Clooney. Obama is quoted as saying, “Clooney keeps his distance so that [the President] won’t be criticized for hanging out with Hollywood celebrities.” So it makes sense for Romney to try to bring in some celebrity credit, since after all, he is competing with the President who hangs out with George Clooney and was nominated by Oprah Winfrey. Who could be better to compete with those two celebrities than Clint Eastwood? Both candidates are trying to walk the fine line of celebrity endorsement. Obama has a little too much, and Romney has a bit too little. Why does celebrity endorsement even matter though? Celebrities are able to make campaign’s multidimensional and bring in more funds.

Mitt Romney knew what he was doing when he brought in Clint Eastwood. He knew that Eastwood is a celebrated and respected actor that everyone can easily recognize. What the Romney campaign did not realize was the unintentional social media phenomenon that #Eastwooding would become. This trending topic got people from all over the country posting pictures of themselves speaking to empty chairs. Not only did it spark a riot via social media outlets, it also turned a national holiday, Labor Day, into National Empty Chair Day where people were encouraged to continue to post more pictures of empty chairs. Coincidence? We will let you decide that one. As for the Republican Party, their intentions of bringing in Mr. ‘Dirty Harry’ himself were well thought out and calculated in hopes that he would be able to rally the voters who are currently undecided to choose their candidate. Instead, the Republican National Convention of 2012 will forever be known for Clint Eastwood yelling at an empty chair as opposed to what issues the party stands for in this election. These unintentional acts can make or break a campaign. Will #Eastwooding have a lasting impact on the campaign? Will the President soon become #invisibleobama? Only time will tell.

Alexandra HussCaroline MerrillAlyssa MorrelloLauren Van Trigt, Daniel Williams

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3 thoughts on “#Eastwooding

  1. I think that Mitt Romney had good intentions in bringing Clint Eastwood to the convention as an endorser, but in the long run I don’t think this was helpful in helping Mitt Romney win the election. Although it did create a lot of “buzz” on social media, I don’t think that Clint’s speech was useful in getting Mitt Romney and the Republicans views on certain topics across.
    -Hannah Brewer

  2. I can understand Mitt Romney’s reasoning in bringing in such a high profile celebrity but I don’t think this helped him in any way. Instead of bringing positive light to the campaign I think it turned into something that had no relevance to Romney at all. Although there was a lot of conversation and as Hannah said above, “buzz” on social media, I think this act steered away from the Republican views and created a completely different topic that wasn’t related at all.

  3. I think you have to look at the goal of the Romney campaign to gage if this Clint stunt was successful. Was the goal of the Romney campaign to get people talking about the Republican party? Or was it to get people to understand party views? If it was to get more people talking they certainly succeeded by using this celebrity. Although Eastwood’s speech was disorganized and ridiculed it created a visual that helps reinforce (whether you agree or not) the republicans basic point of view, the Obama administration hasn’t fulfilled their promises, failed our country, and left americans empty.

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