Three Lessons Democrats Can Learn From the RNC

For the first time in decades, all of America can finally agree on something: Clint Eastwood has gone completely batshit insane. This was the real legacy of last week's Republican National Convention in Tampa, where the 82-year-old actor pretended to interview President Obama (AKA an empty chair) on live television. Democrats took notice as Eastwood melted down like an Oscar in a smelting oven, but avoiding octogenarian speakers wasn't the only lesson they should take away as they prepare their own convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, this week. Here are three more:

Leave the nuts at home: But then wouldn't the entire convention center be empty? Yes, well, we mean real nuts — the kind that can be used as a racist prop to throw at black people. "This is how we feed animals," two RNC attendees allegedly yelled at CNN camerawoman Patricia Carroll while hurling the hateful seeds. The attendees were ejected, and Democrats were duly warned: Serve only nonmissile-like food in Charlotte. Or — even better — don't be racist assholes.

Acts of God have an upside: When Tropical Storm Isaac coalesced over the Caribbean, it looked like God was about to go all Old Testament on the GOP (perhaps for worshiping false idols like Romney's hair). RNC organizers scrambled to save the event by scrapping the first day.

Yet the creator knew what he was doing. Yes, the storm flooded homes across the Gulf Coast. But Isaac also spared us the ignominy of listening to Gov. Rick Scott boast about what a great place he's made Florida. And it saved us from listening to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's affected drawl. Maybe Democrats can conjure up some meteorological reason for ditching Joe Biden?

Court the curmudgeon vote: We can only assume that's what Republicans were doing when they passed on displaying a hologram (albeit of Ronald Reagan) and instead invited Dithering Harry onstage. First, Eastwood blamed Obama for a war he didn't start. Then he pretended that the imaginary president had told him and Mitt Romney to go screw themselves.

The 12-minute speech was akin to slipping meth into your grandfather's morning smoothie and YouTubing the result. But Democrats can nonetheless glean something from the spectacle. The DNC could even put its own cranky old actor onstage. Imagine Woody Allen on an ottoman stuttering to a nonexistent Romney. "I, I, I knew that you were going to be conservative," Allen stammers. "I didn't know that meant mandating the missionary position!"

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Michael E. Miller was a staff writer at Miami New Times for five years. His work for New Times won many national awards, including back-to-back-to-back Sigma Delta Chi medallions. He now covers local enterprise for the Washington Post.

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