Rule of thumb: Celebrity entertainers damage rather than help the parties they support. Clint Eastwood just supplanted Barbra Streisand as the paradigm example. I found his performance at the Republican convention so excruciating I had to mute the TV after five or so minutes. I looked up from time to time to see if it was over. (Later I steeled myself to watch the whole thing. It's a professional obligation.) What on earth was he thinking?
And what on earth were they thinking? Talk about a blunder. Content is never king at these events: Success or failure is two-thirds stagecraft, and the Republicans had been doing pretty well, I thought. Actually, for a few moments, much better than pretty well. The testimonies from the retired firefighter and his wife and from one of Romney's former neighbors were quite something. Of course, what they said will need to be carefully fact-checked, but pending the outcome of that rigorously objective process I'd say those brief simple speeches (go to 1:38:00 in the video) were the most authentic and moving things I've ever heard emerge from an American political convention.
Deeply touching in themselves, they were also directly to the point -- who exactly is this guy Romney? They refuted the idea in which the Democrats are by now almost wholly invested, that Romney is a heartless self-serving capitalist monster.