Free Markets, Free People

“We own this country!”

Clint Eastwood is 82 and an American icon.  It’s that simple.  He’s sort of the John Wayne of this era.  And he’s always been more “Republicanish” than the usual Hollywood crowd.

Last night he gave a speech, or a talk, or, well, whatever you’d like to characterize it as.  It was both interesting and at time hilarious.  That is, if you “got” what he was trying to do.

He said two things that to me are not said enough.  If for no other reason, I liked his speech (which, by the way, is the only speech I’ve watched) because he said them.  They are reminders that should be repeated over and over and over again.

The first is in the title.  “We own this country”.  Frankly, it’s time we started acting like it.  Because there are those who would weaken that ownership to the point of non-existence.  In fact, for the most part, that intrinsically American principle gets mostly lip service from our employees.

And yes, that’s the second line.  Government and politicians are our employees.  They work for us.  Not the other way around, although you wouldn’t really know that the way things are going.  When they’re not up to the job, we should fire them.

Anyway, Eastwood’s speech is getting the expected shredding in the press.  Breitbart points out that there are already 25 plus stories (5 in Politico alone) on Eastwood’s speech.  I don’t think anyone with any experience around politics and how it is covered today is the least bit surprised.  They don’t like seeing “the one” they helped elect mocked.

But despite the negative claims of the media, was the speech effective?  Well, I like Richard Fernandez’s take.  He does a nice job of laying out why, at least to the “common folk” it was likely a hit.

It was an old man’s delivery, but overstatedly so for effect. It was a cutting delivery and for that reason delivered in low key. But for all of Clint Eastwood’s rhetorical cleverness at the Republican convention it derived its effectiveness precisely because it wasn’t one of those “I take this platform tonight with pen in hand, bearing in mind the immortal words of Clancy M. Duckworth” type orations. It wasn’t the speech of someone who was running for office.

Rather it might have come from Mr. Weller down at the corner office musing on simple things to not very important people. How it wasn’t good form to mess things up continuously. How one might lose faith in a man who made one broken promise too many. How at the end of the day everyone either did the job or quit out of decency. Even Presidents.

There was no malice in it. Just a tone of regret. But it was redolent of memory too. Of simple things a world away from the Mountaintop; of sentiments a light-year from dramatic arcs, and of ordinary happiness in a universe apart from grand bargains and high-flown rhetorical visions. They were truths that everyone who has ever worked knows but has somehow forgotten because it was so ordinary.

But they were never known to those who had never worked a real job in their lives. And that is the wonder. That they never knew them. Thus the speech was at once us versus them; it was the check in the mail against the certainties of the heart. Every true challenge is built on the bricks of memory. And there were as many challenges in the Eastwood speech as the stones we stand on.

So will it resonate?  I think so.  For the very reasons I outline above.  Simple truths given by a man without a script, reminding us of the reality of the day.  Straight talk, no apologies, no waffling, even using a symbolic device (empty chair) to make his point without having to say it.

Political professionals on the left, liberal bloggers and the press will savage it for days.  But for those who saw it or will see it, my guess is they’ll pay little attention to those attacking him and more likely identify with the authenticity of the man they’ve “known” for decades.  He’s one of us, they’ll think.  He’s up there saying what we’d like to say if we had the podium and the ability to do it.  It wasn’t polished, but it was real.

That’s what folks are looking for these days.

Frankly, it was refreshing.


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33 Responses to “We own this country!”

  • They will savage Clint but hold a place of honor for that cow, Michael Moore.

    • “Mitt Romney is going to raise more money than Barack Obama,” Moore said. “That should guarantee his victory. I think people should start to practice the words ‘President Romney.’ To assume that the other side are just a bunch of ignoramuses who are supported by people who believe that Adam and Eve rode on dinosaurs 6,000 years ago is to completely misjudge the opposition.”

      That was confidence, but not for Obama.

  • I still love Clint, but I wish he hadn’t done that speech.  That stupid GM propaganda thing was bad enough.  He should stick to the silver screen.

  • Richard Fernandez is one of the best reads on the internet, and he was right about the Eastwood speech.
    It DID hit home…and nerves…as you can tell by the reactions across the spectrum.
    That it makes Mikey The Hut bat-shit crazy is a BIG plus…!!!!

    • I took it as a great tribute to Bob Newhart, who was the master at this one-sided comedy style.

      • That’s what I took it as, as well. The little stammers, hesitations and apparent train of thought derailments were hallmarks of Newhart’s bit. As if he couldn’t quite believe what asininity the other party was indulging in. thought it was a pretty spot on <i>homage</i>. Guess folks just don’t like classic comedy anymore.
        Then again, folks seem to think Russell Brand and Dane Cook are <i>hi-larious</i>, so hell with them

  • “We own this country”
    Shoot, how can we own it when we didn’t build it.  It was built by big government, honest.  It was built by people ‘other than us’.  That’s what we’re supposed to take away from all this.
    The ‘rich’, the self reliant, the successful, they might have ‘helped’, but in reality, everything was done by someone else.  To the President and his apologists, this truth is self evident (well, except for him becoming President, he notes “I won”, I guess HE did that himself).
    “You didn’t build that yourself” is half the thought, “it was built by others” is the logical extension and only completion for that thought.  Through a mysterious process, no one ever actually does anything themselves, it’s always done by ‘others’.
    Don’t dig too deep at that, you might realize it’s akin to saying ‘the other line always moves faster’.
    “We own this country” – there’s nothing illogical about that.  And it will remain true, until the government (those who want your wealth so they can give it to others) finally take everything we own, because they think we work for them.

  • The Romney camp should build on this theme.  Especially since Romney is more of a Executive than a Policy Maker, anyway.  Which is probably why he’s perceived as a flip flopper.  He does the job assigned.   Ask any executive, and they’ll tell you, “I support this initiative 100%”.  You can say that’s a libability but compared to a policy maker who thinks his wishes supercedes Congress’, Public and Constitution, its not. 

    From a campaign perspective, we really need someone to fix what is broke and not work on adding new stuff.   Changing course in a sinking ship, like Obama, doesn’t solve anything.  

    • Romney should agree to go on a debate hosted by FOXNews. Obama will never show up, so he will have the empty chair to debate with.

  • Only problem is it’s a right-wing over-simplification.  Government works for the people.  When politicians do not do the people’s will, they should be fired.   Who are the people?  Republicans are always saying the people are on their side.   Well, liberals aren’t on their side—aren’t we considered part of ‘the people’?

    • And, we, must be, what, little piles of dog-poo you can scrape off your shoe?  Or can we be safely disregarded after you’re done slapping a racist, right wing, wacko, knuckledragger label on us?
      Republicans aren’t on your side Tad, aren’t we considered part of ‘the people’?
      “When politicians do not do the people’s will, they should be fired.”   Polls, you know, those things that say we all love us some President Obama, well, those polls indicate most of us didn’t want Obamacare – yet we have it Ted, and Harry Reid, and Barack Obama gave it to us.  As you say….they should be fired Tad.

    • Oh for goodness sake … this is just childish. Check your freakin’ premise.

    • Clint was talking about the people as a whole. Liberals make up about 20%, and can’t win a major election outside of San Francisco without adding in the vote of socially conservative blacks and hispanics.

    • Well, liberals aren’t on their side—aren’t we considered part of ‘the people’?

      >>>> No.

    • Government works for the people.

      Not according to the people, as shown in recent polling.  Where were you?  Or where was your head?
      Oh…never mind…

    • don’t you mean ‘the only people that matter’.  The rest of us are greedy war mongering rednecks who don’t count.  

      • Forgot racists dude…we’re racists.  No, no, RICH  racists.

        • Yeah, but those are the money men who pull strings from the shadows.  Everybody knows the votes come from the rednecks.


    • .”  Government works for the people.”
      A nice theory. In reality gov’t. seems to think we work for them. Kelo vs. City of New London, various environmental decisions by courts and bureaucrats, etc.

  • A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 60% of Likely U.S. Voters believe that the next president will be a Republican. Twenty-five percent (25%) considerate it unlikely that President Obama will be succeeded by a Republican. Sixteen percent (16%) aren’t sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

    • We gonna have to give you a crash course in polls.    If the poll isn’t favorable to the anointed one, it’s wrong.

  • The networks, the press and their liberals buds hate seniors – especially Reaganesque senors.  Clint Eastwood most certainly made my day!
    The brilliance of the movie director inside of Eastwood showed through as he adapted a theme and a scene that would work with the hitch in his giddy-up.

    • Clint ALINSKIED the Collective…!!!  I LOVE THIS.  And they are MAGNIFYING the whole deal.  Everybody is wanting to hear what he said because of the shit-storm!