Saturday, January 29, 2011

Grand Old Party Member: An Interview With Clint Eastwood

The Wall Street Journal (well, I guess now it's the hipper sounding WSJ) interviews Clint Eastwood who, among other things, declares his party registration:
If he wasn't a Democrat back in 1992, was he an independent? "No, I was a registered Republican," he confesses happily. "I became a Republican in 1951, the first year I could vote. Eisenhower was running [for president] and we were all in the Army. He ran on the fact that he'd go to Korea [and end the war]. I don't know if that was anything more than a show, but he went there, and the Korean War did end." He then adds with a smile, like the easy-going Eisenhower Republican he is, "But I've supported Democrats along the way."
The youngster interviewing Eastwood acts like this is a big shock, but actually Clint was well known to be a Republican back in the Eighties when he was mayor of Carmel. At the time, he was one of the few Hollywood personalities - Bruce Willis was another - who was an active Reagan supporter.

And, no one, least of all Eastwood, wants to remember this, but the "Dirty Harry" movies had a strong political subtext. Back in the "soft on crime" Seventies, Dirty Harry shocked liberals by suggesting that the best way to fight crime was through police work and prisons. not through gassy speeches about how poverty and "society" were the root causes of crime (a stock character in all of the "Dirty Harry" movies was the liberal DA/politician lecturing Harry on how "the old ways don't work any more"). These films were once widely regarded - and despised - as being little more than "right wing" revenge fantasies. "Fascist" "racist" "sexist" those were some of the words to describe Dirty Harry. Only problem was the movies were immensely popular precisely because of their political content. So, Eastwood has been one of the good guys for quite a while, even if he admits to voting for Democrats.

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