Like many other LGBT people, Iâve had a problem with Mitt Romney since he shifted â apparently without conscience – from promising to be better on gay rights than Ted Kennedy in 1994 to signing NOMâs federal marriage amendment pledge and making other antigay concessions to the Religious Right.Â That just makes him untrustworthy. And there was much in his nostalgia-laden acceptance speech Thursday night that I found frightening â such as the Cold War dinging of Vladimir Putin. But I was deeply moved by the story of his parents â how his father left a rose for his mother every morning and the absence of that rose was how she found out he was dead. As a very young anti-Vietnam War activist, I remember George Romney, especially how he cared so much about civil rights.Â I wish his son had as much integrity.
But the highlight of the GOP Convention for me was the speech by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.Â In truth, I got a little crush going during that few minutes of primetime. She was smart, tough, inspiring â and very funny. Talking about her dad starting a security business she said:Â âMy mom did the books at night.Â And at 18, I guarded the parking lot at the Catholic Church bingos. Now, my dad made sure I could take care of myself. Â I carried a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum — that gun weighed more than I did!â
The audience went wild, as they did when Hollywood movie icon Clint Eastwood, 82, took the stage as the âmysteryâ speaker. A silhouette of Eastwoodâs Confederate veteran Josey Wales character was in the background, but an old unfocused Dirty Harry showed up. With no script, the rambling Eastwood got a little Ron Paul/Libertarian outlaw on the Romney camp â in the primetime before Romneyâs acceptance speech â as he debated an empty chair that was supposed to be Barack Obama. Apparently, the audience loved it. On CNN, GOP pundit Alex Castellanos said Eastwoodâs demeaning stunt with the chair made it OK to laugh at Obama.
Social media lit up with messages about Eastwood â overshadowing Mitt, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. The Obama campaign tweeted out this photo in response, a contemporary version of Michael Douglas in The American President:
Ironically, the 1995 Aaron Sorkin-written Michael Douglas scene is on target, even now:
I actually prefer this shot, taken on the night the President gave the order to the Navy Seals to take out Bin Laden: