Le Figaro, France
The New and Surprising Life
of Clint Eastwood’s Chair
By Jean-Sébastien Stehli
Translated By Lindsey Cambridge
27 January 2013
Edited by Daye Lee
France - Le Figaro - Original Article (French)
It is without a doubt the most famous chair in the world: the chair that Clint Eastwood spoke to in front of thousands of disconcerted people during the Republican convention in Tampa last summer. Republicans thought they had found a distinguished representative from Hollywood, someone generally associated with Democrats. But the 10 minute and 41 second speech from the celebrated actor and director, during which he addressed questions to an empty chair meant to symbolize Barack Obama, will remain in the convention’s annals as one of the most embarrassing incidents to ever occur.
This chair was thought to be forgotten, burned even. It has just resurfaced in an improbable place.
CNN found the famous chair. It is installed in the most unlikely place in Washington: the office of the Republican Party’s chairman on First Street. This piece of furniture isn’t there as a keepsake, but as a reminder to Mitt Romney’s party of what to avoid in the future.
Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, shows each of his visitors the chair. It symbolizes everything the GOP has to do in order to take over the White House once again. The GOP became the party of “angry, white males” — much like Clint Eastwood — when the country’s demographic changed to a younger, more racially diverse and more feminine profile. The electorate alienated conservatives thanks to their positions on immigration and contraception — not to mention the numerous statements on rape during the last campaign — and to a certain disregard for the less wealthy voters. There was not only Romney’s speech in front of his donors concerning the 47 percent of the country who are dependent on government assistance, but after his defeat, there were remarks about the “gifts” Obama would have given to the less wealthy in order to “buy” his election.
The star chair of the Republican convention is the symbol of these monumental gaffes. It will compel the GOP to look at the world with new eyes, or else accept becoming a marginal player in American political life. If not, the chair could replace the elephant as the new symbol of the GOP.
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