Sunday, September 30, 2012


Some campaigners will say anything to attain
        the office for which they have lusted.
If their actions, however, don't match what they say
        do they have any right to be trusted?            


Ordination confers upon preachers the right
        to proclaim from the pulpit God's Word.
Though they may have been given the right to proclaim,
they must merit the right to be heard!

Thursday, September 27, 2012


       President Obama is leading in the polls in most of the critical swing states. That sounds encouraging for Democrats, but it could be totally irrelevant. It matters not that the majority favors the President if the majority can’t vote!  
Photo by Richard B. Levine - Newscom
        Seventeen Republican state legislatures have enacted harsh voter ID laws, purged voter registration lists, and adopted other restrictive measures to intimidate, confuse, and make it much more difficult for poor people and minorities to vote, the vast majority of whom have been voting democratic in past elections. Surprise, surprise! These blatant attempts to keep people from exercising this fundamental American right are outrageous.
        Strenuous efforts are being made to register voters, but the process is so cumbersome that only a small percentage of the potentially disenfranchised can be registered in time for the election. Unless more courts act to overturn these restrictive laws that have been enacted on the pretext of preventing voter fraud, millions of Americans will be unable to participate in the forthcoming election.
        That is unconscionable, but have the two Republican standard bearers spoken out against what these states are doing? No way! They want to win by hook or by crook, and if they do win, that’s exactly how it will happen.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Jon Keller (c) moderates first debate between Republican
Senator Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth
Warren.  Photo by Barry Chin, Boston Globe staff
       For incumbent Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown to start off his debate with his Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren by questioning her Native American roots, on the basis of her fair-skinned appearance, was akin to the birthers’ charge that Barack Obama was not born in the United States and therefore is disqualified to be President of the United States.
        Both charges are shamefully racist. Brown’s attack on his opponent’s heritage was compounded on Tuesday by a disgusting video featuring several members of his staff leading a sign-waving crowd of chanting war whoopers and tomahawk choppers, whose antics were as disparaging to all Native Americans as they were intended to be insulting to Professor Warren.
        When asked about it, Brown said it was something he didn’t condone, but then, instead of apologizing for his staff’s inappropriate behavior, he tacitly excused them by immediately accusing Professor Warren of being the real offender!
        Right-wing Republicans have been quick to join in the attack. But many others have rushed to Elizabeth Warren’s defense as well. They rightly point out that Warren never claimed to be a member (citizen) of a tribe. What she said was that she has Native American roots on her mother’s side, and the records have shown that to be true.
        It’s a sad state of affairs when a United States Senator has to make his opponent’s racial heritage the central focus of his argument against her.


September 25, 2012 - President Obama addresses the United
 Nations General Assembly - AP Photo by Seth Wening
        President Obama is on the campaign trail today in Ohio, a critical swing state, where his opponent, Mitt Romney, is also campaigning.
       The President has been criticized for not meeting one-on-one with some of the foreign leaders who have gathered for the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, and for appearing on The View yesterday. Although he did address the Assembly, he left afterward to continue his campaign tour. It was obviously not an oversight but a well calculated decision based on his immediate priorities.
       Some of the President's supporters would have preferred he act "presidential" by meeting with as many of the other heads of state as feasible, thus putting the nation's foreign policy interests ahead of his personal political ambitions. They feel he would have won the respect of more voters by suspending his campaign schedule.
       Three points can be made in the President's defense: (a) he is very popular abroad and he has visited with and kept in close touch by phone with many of those leaders; (b) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is an able and highly respected surrogate, is meeting with those leaders in his behalf; and (c ) with the presidential election less than six weeks away, that has to be his number one political priority now. Whatever diplomatic damage to his international image might result from his opting out of any one-on-one meetings with other heads of state at this time is minimal compared to the potential disaster of a Romney presidency.
        The president has his priorities in order, and I’m sure the international leaders understand that. They're politicians, too!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


        Mitt Romney has finally released his 2011 tax returns, and no one is at all surprised by what they reveal. In order to be consistent with his insisting that he has never paid less than 13%, he took less than the full deduction of his charitable donations, knowing he can deduct those unclaimed donations in future years. Had he claimed the full amount of his charitable deductions tax experts are saying his effective tax rate in 2011 would have been under 10%!
        In addition to that maneuver, there were pages and pages of tax shelters and off-shore tax havens. That, too, was to be expected.
        The timing of the release was well calculated to get the thorny topic out of the way now, so that it would not be a distraction in the final month of the campaign.
        The issue may not go away, however, because there are still too many unanswered questions, and Ann Romney’s fear that releasing more returns would only give their opponents more things to attack, was obviously well founded.
             Mr. Romney’s tax returns reveal his character, and his values. While his giving to his Mormon church is commendable, the rest of the picture is not pretty. It makes his candidly disparaging remarks about the 47% of Americans who don’t earn enough to pay any income tax all the more egregious.


Saturday, September 22, 2012


September 14, 2012, East Brookfield, MA
Senator Connie Mack III (C)  poses with
my son Woody (L) and me (R) at the
celebration of  the 150th anniversary of
his grandfather's birth.
        Last weekend my son Woody and I were privileged to take part in a celebration of the 150th anniversary year of the birth of Connie Mack in the town of East Brookfield, Massachusetts. I was one of several speakers at the program on Friday night, which was devoted entirely to the life and times of “the Grand Old Man of Baseball.”
        The first speaker was Senator Connie Mack III, whose father, Connie Mack, Jr.,  I had known and liked very much, when I was working for the Philadelphia Athletics. We had a wonderful opportunity to reminisce and chat at dinner preceding the program. He was only ten when his famous grandfather died, and so was most interested in my recollections of his Dad and of the man we respectfully called “Mr. Mack.”
        The next speaker was Connie Mack’s biographer Norman Macht, with whom I have been exchanging phone calls and e-mails almost every day. He is working on his third volume, which will cover the final years of Mr. Mack’s life, including the period when I was with the A’s. I was so glad to be able to put a face with the voice of my hitherto unseen correspondent, who has been focusing on this biographical project for twenty-seven years! He will have written well over two thousand pages by the time the third volume is published. It was a special treat to be able to visit at some length with this fellow octogenarian, whose biography of Connie Mack is a one hundred year history not only of baseball but of America.
        Norman’s task that night was to cover the early years of Connie Mack. Woody and I were wondering how he would condense his vast knowledge of his subject into a twenty-minute talk, but he did a splendid job, sprinkling his historical time-line with humorous anecdotes. He was followed by Dick Rosen, President of the Philadelphia Athletic Historical Society, of which I am a Life Member. It was he who had issued the invitation for me to speak. I welcomed the chance to visit with Dick before and after the program.
        Dick Rosen had planned the well-coordinated program for that night, and was serving as Emcee. He had assigned himself the daunting task of covering Connie Mack’s years as manager of the Athletics. In those fifty years the Mackmen won nine American League pennants and five World Series.
        Following an intermission, Dick introduced me as “the last surviving member of the Philadelphia Athletics front office executive staff.” (That’s what happens if you live long enough!)  My topic was “Memories of Mr. Mack.” Since I was the only one there who had actually worked for Connie Mack, I was able to share my personal impressions and tell some stories, which the audience seemed to enjoy. I finished by reciting the poem I had written about the Athletics’ famous double play trio (Joost to Suder to Fain).
        Before leaving the stage, however, I told the audience they were going to hear something that no audience had ever heard before or in all likelihood would ever hear again. “What are the chances,” I asked, “of your having the person who sixty-two years ago wrote the theme song of Connie Mack’s Golden Jubilee celebration, The Connie Mack Swing, here in person to play it for you?” With that, the original sheet music was projected on the large screen, and I sat down at the piano near the front of the stage and played the song, as the audience clapped in rhythm.
        When I finished, Senator Mack was the first to leap to his feet. Never before have I ever been given a standing ovation for my piano playing! Maybe that’s what I need to do to sell copies of my book, because after the program people were lined up to buy autographed copies of A Sense of Being Called.    
        There was also time to visit with folks, before Woody and I had to continue on our way to Albany, New York, where we would spend the night en route to Cooperstown, which Woody had never visited before. I was scheduled to participate in the Sunday worship service at the First Presbyterian Church of Cooperstown, where my daughter Elsie is Pastor.
        Woody and I hated to miss the big doings in East Brookfield on Saturday, including the parade and other special events, but the folks there understood and sent us on our way that night with gracious words of appreciation for our having driven up from Princeton to participate in the Friday night program.
        It was a most memorable event for me, as I turned back the pages of time and relived once again my days with Connie Mack’s A’s.
        Woody enjoyed it, too, even though he is a died-in-the-wool Phillies fan!

Friday, September 21, 2012


        People who know that before entering the ministry I worked for the Baltimore Orioles and that I’m still very much an Oriole fan may be wondering why I haven’t commented on the fact that they are now running neck and neck with the New York Yankees atop the American League East.
        The reasons for my silence are rather complex, but let me try to explain. First of all, as one who has suffered through fourteen straight losing seasons with “them Birds,” I have to admit that I’ve been holding my breath throughout the summer in anticipation of another collapse, like the ones that have occurred in recent years after the Orioles have got off to a good start. I was enjoying it while it lasted.
        And then it looked as if it were going to happen again, when the O’s started falling off the pace in mid-season and soon found themselves ten games behind the red-hot Yankees. Meanwhile, the pesky Tampa Bay Rays were hanging tough, and Oriole fans like me were thinking, “Here we go again!”
Adam Jones hits an 11th inning two-run homer on
September 19 to give the Orioles a win over the
 Seattle Mariners and their 15th straight extra-inning
victory. (Ted S. Warren AP Photo)
        But lo and behold, they clawed their way back from their ten-game deficit, and today they are twenty-one games over .500 and fighting for the lead in their division! Along the way they have won fifteen straight extra-inning games and a slew of one-run games, while their closer, Jim Johnson, is leading the Majors with 45 saves.
        So why not write about it? Having been an Episcopalian for thirty-one years before realizing that I was predestined to become a Presbyterian, I must confess that I have never completely lost touch with my Anglican roots. Many Episcopalians like me are a bit superstitious, although we won’t admit it. So we resort to various euphemisms, like not wanting “to tempt fate” or “to presume we can know how the future will unfold” or “to impose our will on God.”
        But all baseball players are superstitious, and as a former player as well as an erstwhile Episcopalian, I didn’t want to jinx the Orioles by glowing about how well they are doing. And as a committed Presbyterian I certainly do not believe in gloating about it! Not that my writing about it would precipitate a disastrous losing streak, but too often it just seems to work out that way.
        So I’ve held off—until now! Regardless of what happens the rest of the way, the O’s have given their long-suffering fans something to cheer about. Whether or not they win their division or secure a wild card berth, it has been an amazing season for the Baltimore Birds. And Buck Showalter has my vote for “Manager of the Year” for the way he has turned around a team that with a few exceptions is made of up no-names, has-beens, yet-to-be’s, with players coming and going throughout the season, including a parade of twenty-six pitchers!

        So, allow me to put in writing what I’ve holding back for too long:

                                 GO, ORIOLES, AND MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!


Thursday, September 20, 2012


       Mitt Romney has always been short on specifics as to how he would help low income Americans, if he is elected President. He has offered no plan, just platitudes.
        Now we understand why! It’s because he thinks that the 47% of Americans who pay no income tax are moochers who could never be convinced “to take responsibility and care for their lives.” So why waste his time worrying about a plan for them? They’re not going to vote for him anyway.
        The irony is that many of them are Republicans who would have voted for him, before they heard the disdainful remarks he made about them at a private $50,000-a-plate fund raiser. Now that they know how Romney really feels about them, they may well have second thoughts about voting for him.
        I should certainly hope so!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


        Everyone’s talking about the recently released video of Mitt Romney’s self-damaging comments about the 47% of Americans who pay no income tax, whom he accused of looking upon themselves as victims, of feeling entitled to health care, to food, to housing, and everything else.
         “My job is not to worry about those people,” he said, “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” As if all those people are lazy, good-for-nothing, moochers! What an outrageous insult to hard-working Americans whose income is insufficient to warrant their paying income taxes! Who wants a President who thinks like that?
         In disparaging nearly half of the American population, including many of his own supporters, especially seniors on fixed incomes, Romney has drawn harsh criticism even from conservatives like Bill Krystol, founding editor of The Weekdly Standard, and  New York Times columnist David Brooks.
         While I was having lunch yesterday with my daughter Ellen and her husband Mike, my son-in-law wondered if Romney was including himself among the 47% who pay no income taxes. A good question, given that many suspect that there have been years when Romney paid little or no income taxes. His refusal to reveal his tax returns only fuels that suspicion.
         If he isn’t in the 47%, one could argue that he certainly has aspired to be, given his manipulative moves to avoid paying taxes!
         Of course Romney was not thinking of himself, when he made those remarks, but it would be amusing if someone pointed out to him the irony of his broad-sweeping and totally inappropriate charge, especially when instead of apologizing for his gaffe, he has been attempting to justify it.
        Romney’s attitude toward the poor and to those less fortunate then himself is a stark reflection of the faulty theology that assumes that those who are poor deserve to be poor. “They aren’t taking “personal responsibility and care for their own lives.” Conversely, those who are rich deserve to be rich. “I built that business!”
        Mitt Romney and his super-rich friends like Sheldon Adelson need to take heed to Jesus’ words:  “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:23).

Saturday, September 15, 2012


From John the Baptist we could learn about humility.                            
        He testified that Jesus was a greater man than he.
"There comes one after me," he said, "far mightier than I,
        whose shoestrings I am not worthy to stoop down and untie."
John could have thought of Jesus as a threat to his renown,
        a rival prophet on the rise, while he was going down.
Indeed, John did confess that, when he said, "He must increase!"
        And still without the least regret, he said, "I must   decrease!"
Hats off to those who play the role that John the Baptist played
        without resentment or ill will, when on them it is laid.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


AP Photo by Charles Dharapak
        It has been said that it is better to keep one’s mouth shut and be thought dumb, than to open it and remove all doubt.
        What an appropriate adage for Mitt Romney, who following the recent attacks against the American consulate in Benghazi and against the American Embassy in Cairo, opened his mouth and removed all doubt that he is not qualified to be President of the United States.
        His totally inappropriate remarks revealed not only that he knows nothing about foreign policy, but that he lacks the character, wisdom, and personal leadership to deal with an international crisis.
        For Romney to politicize such a tragedy at a time when America is under attack by Islamic extremists, and to criticize the President as he did, with his usual misrepresentation of the facts, was outrageous and inexcusable. He showed he has absolutely no understanding of the complexity of the situation.
        What a contrast between Romney’s blustering comments and the President’s thoughtfully worded response, which was appropriately forceful yet sensitively tactful. Secretary Hillary Clinton’s remarks at the State Department this morning were also brilliant, as she condemned the offensive video that triggered the attacks, while making it clear that the violence against our diplomatic personnel and property was totally unjustified and would not be tolerated. The killers will be brought to justice.
        Romney’s utter lack of diplomacy scares the living daylights out of me. The man is a threat to American’s best interests in the world. He shoots from the hip, without thought of the consequences of his blustering remarks. Even moderate Republicans at first were critical of the timing and the tone of his comments. Only a few ultra-conservatives came to his defense immediately. Rush Limbaugh, the Screamer, is on Romney’s side, of course. They deserve each other!
        I dread the thought of Mitt Romney as President of the United States. He is itching to get us into another war, and time and again his belligerent remarks have been irresponsibly dangerous to our national interests. Shame on him, and shame on those weak-kneed Republicans who are now excusing or defending his incompetence and his deceitfulness, even when confronted with facts that glaringly expose the falsity of his accusations against President Obama.
        But then what else can you expect from a Party that has lost its scruples?

Sunday, September 9, 2012


        I have a Republican friend who hates Barack Obama. In an exchange of e-mails he has refused to acknowledge that President Obama has accomplished anything. He accuses the President of spending all his time playing golf and basketball and taking vacations.
        When I took strong exception to those charges, and pointed out some of the President’s many achievements, despite the unrelenting opposition of the Republicans, my friend wrote back, saying “I disagree and I don’t want to discuss it any further.”
        That is the attitude of too many Republicans, who simply refuse to face the facts. Their hatred of Barack Obama blinds them to the truth. They make some outlandish and totally unsupportable charge, and then close their ears. They will not listen to reason.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


        As I predicted (What A Difference!) President Obama's approval rating got a nice bump following the Democratic Convention. The Gallup Poll reported a seven-point boost over his pre-convention rating.
        Many factors combined to produce the positive result, including especially powerful speeches by keynoter Julian Castor and First Lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday night, Massachusetts Senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren, women's reproductive rights activist Sandra Fluke, and former President Bill Clinton on Wednesday night, and Senator John Kerry, Vice President Joe Biden, and President Barack Obama on Friday night, and many others. The speakers were on target and well-coordinated, and the cumulative effect was an  impressively persuasive case for the reelection of the President.
        The positive, upbeat tone throughout the convention and the genuine enthusiasm of the delegates were contagious, and hitherto undecided viewers were obviously favorably impressed, as reflected in the bump in the President's approval rating. It was considerable higher than the pundits were predicting, given the minimal effect of the Republican Convention on Mitt Romney's approval rating.
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak 
         For me the most inspirational moment of the entire convention was when former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, accompanied by Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, walked out on stage to lead the delegates in the Pledge of Allegiance. Still recovering from the effects of the assassination attempt that nearly took her life in January, 2011, she was greeted by shouts of "Gabby! Gabby!," as she waved to her admiring audience.      
         I'm sure that the Pledge of Allegiance has never had a greater emotional impact on those who joined her in the Pledge that night. There weren't many dry eyes in the convention hall as she spoke the words, and I dare say among those watching at home, including yours truly.

Friday, September 7, 2012


        After watching the final night of the Democratic National Convention, I repeat even more emphatically what I wrote in my blogpost following the first night: what a difference between this week and last week!
DLM Press. Pacific Coast
        To all the reasons I gave for saying how much more inspirational, uplifting, positive, and substantive the Democratic Convention was than the Republican Convention, let me add another difference that occurred to me after watching the last two nights. It was the difference in the way the delegates at the two conventions looked at their respective candidates.
        The expressions on their faces told it all. The DNC delegates were genuinely inspired by President Obama. They looked at him with obvious affection, respect, pride, and gratitude. They hung on every word, and they nodded in agreement and expressed their approval with vigorous enthusiasm.
        I didn’t see that same spontaneous affection, respect, pride, and gratitude on the faces of the  RNC delegates. Their enthusiasm seemed somewhat hollow to me. It was as if they were trying to make themselves like their candidate, as if they were listening for things they could agree with, especially Mr. Romney’s attacks on the President.
        I said in my earlier post, there was a positive thrust to the DNC, whereas the tone of the RNC was much more negative. The faces of the delegates at the two conventions seemed to reflect that difference, but I admit that observation might have been influenced by my own
reactions to the two speakers.
        Last night Bill Clinton skillfully answered every one the Republican false charges against the President. Tonight John Kerry gave a brilliant tribute to the President’s foreign policy, leaving no doubt as to who is the more qualified person to be the commander-in-chief of our armed forces and to handle our nation’s international affairs. Vice President Joe Biden’s acceptance speech was a powerful testimony to the President’s leadership and to the personal qualities he has most admired about Barack Obama after working with him so closely during their first term in office.
       The various speakers were well coordinated and they set the stage perfectly for the President, whose acceptance speech more than lived up to everyone’s high expectations. I can’t imagine how any truly open-minded person, after watching both conventions, could fail to choose Barack Obama and Joe Biden over Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


I profess to be innocent of the sins of my forbears,
        but am I, really?
I disclaim my complicity in the cause of your plight,
        but can I, really?
I say I hear your angry rhetoric,
        but do I, really?
I wonder why you do not trust my worthy declarations,
        but should I, really?
I claim to identify with you in your struggle,
        but have I, really?
I know there is something I can and must do,
        but will I ---really?

(from If I Do Say So Myself)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


San Francisco Chronicle 
        Having watched the Republican National Convention and now the first night of the Democratic National Convention, my immediate reaction is, what a difference!
        The speakers tonight had far more substance and their tone was far more positive than that of their Republican counterparts. The Republicans spent more time criticizing President Obama than they did praising Mitt Romney. The Democrats were just the opposite. They spent most of their time praising the President and making the case for his reelection.
       There was a highly visible difference in the make-up of the attendance at the two conventions as well. The inclusiveness and diversity of the Democratic delegates was in marked contrast to the almost totally white Republican audience. It was exciting to see a microcosm of America tonight!
        I should mention one other important difference. There was something electric and exciting in the air at DCN. The delegates were much more emotionally involved, it seemed to me. Their enthusiasm was palpable, and they responded empathetically to the speakers.The Republicans were loudest when their speakers were negative about their opponent. The Democrats were loudest when the speakers were positive about their candidate!
        The effect was inspirational. It was a great start for the Democrats, and with some excellent speakers yet to come, including former President Bill Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, and President Obama himself, I'm going to be glued to my television set. If  the speakers can maintain the same high level in terms of style and substance for the next two nights, I'll be surprised if the President doesn't get a bigger boost in the polls following the convention than the Republican candidate did following the RNC.
        That's assuming there are enough independents and swing voters still left out there to make a difference.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012


        The Republicans are asking the wrong question, and the Democrats need to make that point.
        The question is not, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”  The question should be, “Is our nation better off now than it was four years ago?” The answer to the latter question is a resounding YES!
        Our nation is moving in the right direction. Even though unemployment is still far too high, for the past twenty-seven months istead of losing jobs, we are gaining jobs. Thanks to the stimulus, more than four million private sector jobs have been created. Many small businesses have been helped.
        The housing market is improving; home prices are rising.
        Thanks to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, women are now getting equal pay for equal work.
        The American auto industry was on the verge of collapse and is now thriving again.
        So, too, a major financial crisis was averted by the Wall Street bailout. The Stock market is flourishing. The Dow Jones Average is nearly double what it was four years ago.
        With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, more than thirty million previously uninsured Americans now have health care coverage, and millions more are benefitting or will soon be benefitting from its other provisions. Because of the Affordable Care Act, the life of Medicare has been extended by at least eight years, at no increase in cost to individuals.
        As to international relations, we are far better off than we were four years ago. The war in Iraq has ended. The end of the war in Afghanistan is in sight. Osama Bin Laden, the leader of the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization, and many of his henchmen have been eliminated. Al Qaeda, while still a threat, is far less so now than four years ago. America’s place of leadership and respect in the community of nations has been restored.
        These are only a few of the reasons why our nation is better off now than it was four years ago, and if our nation is better off, then everyone is better off, even those who are unemployed, for there is more hope for their future now.
        That is, unless the Republicans win the election and take us back to where we were four years ago!

Sunday, September 2, 2012


It is said that the future belongs to the young,
but that saying is simply not true.
That's because when the bell of the future has rung,
that day's young will be somebody new.

Why does each generation repeat that cliché,
as if it were something profound?
For will not tomorrow be always today
to those who will still be around?

Furthermore, there's no comfort at all in the thought
that the future belongs to the young.
For we are the future for those who once thought
that the hope of the world on us hung!

Though I know what they mean when they say what they say,
such a word from believers is odd.
For what hope for the world is there really today,
if the future belongs not to God?

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Clint Eastwood addresses an imaginary Barack Obama
 seated in the chair to his left.   Getty Images
        I've always enjoyed Clint Eastwood's movies, but I didn't enjoy Clint at the RNC Thursday night.
        He looked seedy and unkempt, and his slurred speech and the way he stumbled over his words, made me wonder if he'd had too much to drink before he appeared.
        I don't think I'm the only one who thought his routine was totally inappropriate. Some of the delegates enjoyed his raw humor, but others, including Ann Romney, seemed uncomfortable with it.
        The Republicans had a grand time bashing the President, but no one, not even "Make my day" Clint, has the right to be so disrespectful of the President of the United States. Had the President actually been sitting in the chair, Eastwood would not have had the guts or the gall to address him that way.
        For the movie actor/director to respond to his imaginary conversationalist in a manner that suggested Barack Obama would use the kind of foul language Eastwood made it perfectly clear he was using, was offensive, and those who laughed at it were just as disgusting to me.
        Eastwood's unscripted routine was an embarrassment to the program planners, who have been trying hard to put their best spin on it. The not-such-a-mystery guest speaker displaced the video that would have set the stage for the Man of the Hour, Mitt Romney. Not only that, it wasted a valuable chunk of prime time television, when the networks were covering the convention.
        Because Eastwood ignored the clock, Senator Marco Rubio had to rush through his lengthy introduction of Governor Romney, who in turn appeared later than he was supposed to. The next morning the blogosphere was buzzing with comments not about Romney's acceptance speech, but about Eastwood's weird performance.
        The devil in me wants to say to the Republicans, "It serves you right!" But the better part of me rues the fact that millions of viewers had to be exposed to such a distasteful exhibition by the iconic Clint Eastwood.

PS Now it has been revealed (see this morning's NY Times front page article) that it was Candidate Romney himself who invited Eastwood to speak, following the actor's endorsement of Romney at a campaign fund raiser in Idaho earlier this summer. Romney's top aides, Russ Schriefer and Stuart Stevens, provided the talking points for Eastwood, who chose his own way to present them, ignoring in the process the blinking red signal to stop. Need we say more?