Recently, famous actor/director Clint Eastwood sat down with CBS News’ Katie Couric to discuss his new film, “Hereafter.” During the course of the interview, Eastwood had something shocking (for Couric) to say about President Obama.
“Clint Eastwood, legendary actor and director, told Katie Couric that while President Obama is a ‘nice fella,’ he’s ‘not a fan of what he’s doing at the moment.’
“During an interview about his latest film ‘Hereafter,’ Eastwood told Couric that the president is not ‘governing’ and he’s laying out lines in the hopes that people will believe him ‘so he can stay in his position.'”
That is rather bold talk coming from the Hollywood community known for its liberal conformity. Democratic presidents such as Barack Obama can regularly rely upon money and endorsements from the film industry. Indeed, Hollywood conservatives, at least those brave enough to admit to being such, are very rare. Indeed, it is said that in Hollywood conservatism is the political belief that dare not speak its name.
That last is perhaps as exaggeration. There are open Hollywood righties, including Kelsey Grammer, Jon Voight, and even Ron Howard’s brother Clint Howard. And Clint Eastwood, who supported John McCain against Obama, is more nuanced in his politics than most. Eastwood is also not exactly enamored of any high profile politician currently, by the way.
Indeed, if one could put a label on Eastwood’s politics, it would be “libertarian.” During his one foray into elected office, as Mayor of Carmel, Calif., he reformed local ordinances that made it hard to build or renovate private property. Then-President Reagan, a good friend, called to congratulate Eastwood, wryly wondering how an actor who had starred in a movie with a monkey could get elected to anything.
Clint Eastwood made his name in the late 1960s and early 1970s in a series of violent westerns such as “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” as well as a series of police films as his iconic character “Dirty Harry,” beloved by conservatives for its take-no-prisoners attitude toward criminals. Eastwood also played the foulmouthed, no-nonsense Sergeant Thomas Highway in “Heartbreak Ridge,” a celebration of Marines fighting in the early 1980s Grenada War. His “Firefox” was a Cold War thriller that actually showed the Soviets as the heavies. Eastwood’s “Space Cowboys” was a rousing space adventure.
But other Clint Eastwood films are more nuanced, especially when it comes to violence. “Unforgiven” and “Gran Torino” are meditations on the consequences of violence that would have been unheard of during Eastwood’s spaghetti western days. “Million Dollar Baby” depicts a mercy killing of a paralyzed female boxer that proved controversial. “Invictus” celebrated Nelson Mandela’s attempt to reconcile blacks and whites in South Africa through their mutual love of sports.
So Clint Eastwood can’t be put in a box or given a label, either as an artist or as an observer of the political scene. He is a rare individual and, if you don’t like it, then make his day.
Sources: Clint Eastwood on Obama: Nice Fella but “Not a Fan”, CBS News, October 21st, 2010