Eastwood overshadows Romney’s speech at RNC

Last week, Tampa, Fla., hosted the Republican National Convention where the Republican party officially nominated former Gov. Willard Mitt Romney of Massachusetts to represent them in the 2012 presidential election. According to the Nielsen Company, 33 million Americans tuned in live to watch him accept it. I, however, was not one of them.

The Los Angeles Times reported 17 percent fewer Americans watched Romney accept the nomination than Sen. John McCain four years earlier in St. Paul, Minn. I find this to be fascinating in a year where many Republicans think they have a chance against the incumbent.

Clearly the American people disagrees. Either that or they just don’t care. After the lack of a substantial poll boost, that is very possible.

But in reality, every one of us should have watched the RNC, or at least take this opportunity to catch up on some missed coverage online. Why? It was entertaining. Because the convention is designed to showing the party at its best, there is no way the Republicans would allow someone to go up to the podium in front of the entire audience and the American public and ad-lib a speech — that would be a terrible idea.

Oh, wait. They did.

The Oscar-winning director and actor Clint Eastwood yelled at an empty chair the night Romney accepted the Republican nomination. It seemed so awkward of an “interview” that it felt like it was thrown together right at that moment.

I would have thought they would want to avoid that situation because national conventions give parties the chance to have a solid few days of news to themselves and that news should be surrounding the nominee, not a guest speaker at the convention.

Overall, it seems that Eastwood’s speech was popular from political pundits to students alike. While it would seem fitting that Romney would be the focus on the night he formally accepts the nomination, Eastwood and the invisible president took in, it seems, just as much press. Just walking around campus, I heard people mention Eastwood and his bizarre rant to Invisible Obama, and not once did I hear anyone mention Romney’s speech.

Of course, if time allows, you should watch the governor’s speech as well, but, just to warn you, it lacked the entertainment of Eastwood’s. Romney knew how to get the crowd going. He spoke of his “humble beginnings” (his father was a former governor of Michigan), to opening his own business, to the love of his family, and of course his displeasure with the current administration.

My favorite Romney line: “I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed.” Somehow, Mitt, I doubt that. If he succeeded, you would not be standing in front of millions of people and have the opportunity to say such a thing.

Another good line from the governor came just under halfway through his speech. He questioned that if people felt something special was happening when the president was elected, why were they not feeling that way now? “If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn’t you feel that way now that he’s President Obama?”

Sir, your audience probably did not feel something special was happening during that election. And many Americans seemed to think the passing of the Affordable Care Act was special, in case you were wondering.

Aside from the entertainment value, however, as being part of the voting population, we should make informed decisions about who we cast our ballots for in the fall. Whether you are a Republican, Democrat or independent, it is worth watching a wide variety of speeches to get a feel for other parties’ ideas and platforms. This way, if the party you want does not win, at least you will be prepared for the incoming administration, or maybe know what the rest of America is getting itself into while you pack your bags for Canada.

Finally, even if I missed most of the live coverage for the RNC, I still hope to catch some major speeches at the Democratic National Convention this week, including the president’s speech tonight. Maybe if I am lucky, someone on the left side of the aisle will start yelling at an inanimate object too.

_Joanna is a senior in LAS. She can be reached at [email protected]_