Word on the floor is there will be a mystery speaker at the RNC on Thursday night, and the buzz is that this mystery man will be none other than legendary actor Clint Eastwood. Speculation on this mystery speaker began on Monday when convention officials released a schedule with "To Be Announced" speaker slotted in before Sen. Marco Rubio takes the stage. The rumor was confirmed on Thursday by a close friend of the Romney family Paul Gilbert who said, "It's him. I can confirm that 100 percent."
Eastwood is a long time Hollywood supporter of the Republican Party; he first registered as a Republican in 1952 in order to support Dwight D. Eisenhower. But, as the Los Angeles Times put it in an article published last year, "the right and the left both like to claim the 81-year-old Eastwood as one of their own." His films have walked the right-left line as well, but that is a balance Eastwood has only found later in life. In the 1960s and '70s, Eastwood's Dirty Harry films were so against the progressive nature of the times, that film critic Pauline Kael called them a "deeply immoral ... right-wing fantasy."
A libertarian at heart, Eastwood has never voted for a Democrat in a presidential election, so it should come as no surprise that the actor is throwing his weight behind this year's Republican nominee. Back when the Republican race was still wide open, Eastwood expressed support for Herman Cain saying, "I love Cain’s story. He’s a guy who came from nowhere and did well, obviously against heavy odds. He’s a doer and a straight-talker, which I don’t see enough of from either party.”
In the same interview he expressed skepticism about Mitt Romney, who was then just another face in the GOP race. ""You have to admit — he looks like a president," Eastwood recalled with a tone that you’d have to describe as being slyly sarcastic. "I mean, if you were casting a movie where you needed someone to play president, you’d definitely pick him.""
Eastwood's own politics diverge on various points with the Republican party platform. He opposes the Iraq war. He supports abortion rights, environmental protection, and gay marriage; his support for gay marriage came out very publicly in a 2011 GQ interview when he made his stance jarringly known, "I don't give a fuck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We're making a big deal out of things we shouldn't be making a deal out of ... Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want."
Eastwood himself has had a little foray into the political sphere. He served a two-year term as mayor of Carmel, California where his major claims to fame were legalizing the eating of ice on sidewalks, and building public restrooms, beach walkways, and expanding library services.
With a politically charged half-time ad during this year's Super Bowl, Eastwood had Republicans worried that he may be showing support for Obama. "It's halftime in America, and our second half's about to begin."
If tonight's speaker is indeed Eastwood, then all those Obama rumors will be put to rest. But as critic Roger Ebert said, "If Clint Eastwood isn't the the Mystery Guest, anyone else will be a crushing disappointment."