Say goodbye to the GOP's Smoke and Mirrors Show, otherwise known as the Republican National Convention. The well-intended but poorly executed strategy to humanize the automaton-like Mitt Romney and make him appealing to voters was overshadowed by the gargantuan egos of the party's two insatiable, self-aggrandizing rock stars, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie, who took to the podium not to share warm and fuzzy Romenydotes or to faithfully lobby for their nominee but to selfishly devour the limelight in setting their own 2016 presidential tables.
As if that wasn't enough to derail Team Romney, there was the sad, geriatric unraveling of "mystery speaker" Clint Eastwood, whose bizarre, rambling conversation with an empty chair symbolizing "Invisible Obama" was a disastrous use of prime time network coverage. He was a mystery speaker alright, because it was an absolute mystery what the heck he was talking about. Enough with the Henry Fonda "On Golden Pond" old codger routine. The only thing missing was the goofy fishing hat. What was he thinking? Was this just a pathetic attempt by an aging Hollywood icon to stay relevant? And did you catch the cutaway of Ann Romney during Eastwood's unscripted, meandering, 3-times-as-long-as-planned meltdown? She looked as though dirty Uncle Harry had exposed himself at the July 4th BBQ. And rightly so: Eastwood seemed crazier than Charlton Heston in "Bowling for Columbine."
As for the Invisible Obama symbol, the irony isn't lost on us in the context of Ralph Ellison's award-winning classic Invisible Man which, as Cliffsnotes.com describes, "tells the story of a young, college-educated black man struggling to survive and succeed in a racially divided society that refuses to see him as a human being." Which makes Eastwood's reference a horrifically insensitive and inappropriate choice. Whichever unthinking campaign orangutan decided to give this precious airtime to Clint instead of using it to showcase the human qualities Romney's handlers insist he has, should be fired and forced to watch an endless loop of "Every Which Way But Loose." Funny, isn't this the same Clint Eastwood who Republicans crucified last winter over his Super Bowl ad they accused of being blatantly pro-Obama? What a difference seven months makes, huh?
With friend likes Christie, Rubio, Eastwood and the lyin' Paul Ryan, Romney needs no enemies. But in truth, Romney is his own worst enemy. No amount of amped-up "humanizing" from others can make him appear any less stilted and wooden...or any more likable, sincere, accessible and trustworthy. Even when sharing an emotional story of his parents' marriage and his father's death his delivery was robotic and unemotional. Come November he's going to have to convince voters all on his own that he's "human" enough for the most important job in the world.