Was Clint's Speech a Brilliant Piece of Backlash Jiu-Jitsu?
The big hilarious joke on Twitter today is that the alleged disaster of Clint Eastwood’s speech was in fact a secret agent mission, sent on a kamikaze run by the Obama campaign to sink Romney’s big night.
Makes perfect sense….because without Clint’s stumble…the masses of Twitter would have been spending the night high-fiving and celebrating what a wonderful speech Romney gave? How it completely changed their minds about the man and made them see him in a fresh new light?
Obviously not. The range of potential reaction to Romney’s speech ran from unrelenting scorn to apocalyptically negative. This is the Backlash Era - where conversation is driven by the roving lynch mobs of Twitter, with professional journalists scraping at their heels desperate to keep up with the pace. During this time, it is not possible for Romney - or for any candidate - to receive a sustained positive response to a speech. The very worst thing they can do is deliver a speech that gets their supporters feeling great and all riled up and thinking it was terrific, as their enthusiasm would only engender an even bigger Backlash. The rule of the Backlash Era is that hype will only generate a greater blowback, so positive reaction is not, in the short to medium term, possible.
It is a rule of the Backlash Era that the candidate whom people are thinking about the least on election day will win. I previously suggested that in a more open world the best thing a candidate could do would be to skip their own conventions and if possible, steer clear of the debates as well.
But this is not possible. So given that, how does a candidate manage to be the centerpiece of his own convention, speaking before thousands of adoring acolytes on live national television and avoid a backlash? The best way I can think of is by throwing the Twitterati something bigger to Backlash against then your own speech. Since Newsroom wasn’t airing this week, they had to figure, what could inspire a backlash that is not only bigger, but ultimately, more of an irrelevant sideshow than having an enormous Hollywood star take the stage and do something completely off-kilter and to the caustic eye of Twitter, absolutely bizarre. And then with Twitter safely distracted, the candidate would get up and give a solid but somewhat forgettable speech right after. The Backlash would all but certain to fly over your head right onto the wacky Hollywood star.
This morning on Twitter, Eastwooding is the #1 trending topic. Mitt Romney is not on the list.
By the laws of the Backlash Era, we predict a significant bounce, so long as he can stay out of the news all weekend and then go into hiding once the Democrats start meeting. Provided they haven't lined up an imploding celebrity of their own.