The Far-Right news service Newsmax has provided the following summary of an interview conducted by Mario Lopez for the entertainment-news show Extra:
“Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood praised Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson—saying that either ‘would be better than what we got.’ . . .
“’I think there’s quite a few of them who are really good people’ in the 2016 Republican field. . . .
“Eastwood praised Trump as someone who might possess the qualities that voters want in a candidate.
“’People are looking for somebody who is outspoken and who isn’t afraid,’ he said. ‘And he seems to have kind of a fearless attitude.’
“’I like Ben Carson because he is kind of a common-sense guy.’ . . .
“Referencing his much-maligned speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Eastwood said he did not think he would be invited to next year’s parley in Cleveland.
“’They might not want me this year because I’ll be talking to chairs and doing something stupid,’ he said.”
Given Eastwood’s political record, none of this should be especially surprising.
That said, I will admit that the fact that he has singled out Trump and Carson is surprising to me. In films such as Unforgiven and Gran Torino, Eastwood has treated core American themes with considerable nuance, exploring the spaces in which redemption and revenge, hardness and guilt, and reflexive bias and basic human feeling are often difficult to distinguish.
But, in praising Trump, Eastwood seems unable or unwilling to distinguish arrogance from confidence and bombast from bravery.
Likewise, in praising Carson, Eastwood seems unable or unwilling to distinguish commonsensical political views from a sort of placid ignorance about many political issues.