‘New Yorker’ Cover Shows Clint Eastwood’s RNC Speech Wasn’t So Crazy

The New Yorker‘s new cover recalls Clint Eastwood’s strange “empty chair” RNC speech, summing up the first presidential debate between President Barack Obama and GOP hopeful Mitt Romney accurately, and without a single word.

The October 15, 2012 New Yorker shows a political cartoon-style illustration of Mitt Romney raising his finger to object and rebut his opponent, pictured as a simple, empty chair pulled up to the stage-left podium. It is worth noting that The New Yorker is normally a liberal rag, so the cheeky cover represents an interesting editorial choice. Has the New Yorker switched sides?

Heck no!

The articles inside the October New Yorker are, as expected, generally sympathetic to President Obama, joining what has become standard left-wing media fare over the past several days: Trying to figure out how the heck President Obama could have lost the debate to this Mitt Romney guy. The cover may be brutal, but the content defends the POTUS largely without vitriol and with genuine aplomb. Some excerpts:

David Remnick:

” ‘The President has always been someone who takes the truth seriously and has a great faith in the American people and their ability to handle big ideas,’ Burns said. ‘He doesn’t patronize them. He uses the campaign as an educative process. He wants to win but also wants to be clear about his ideas…. He took complex ideas like Medicare and the debt and tried to explain it to people so they can understand them while at the same time not being patronizing. And he is doing this with an opponent who is completely dissembling on every issue!’ “

John Cassidy:

“Having defied the conventional wisdom by suggesting a couple of days ago that Romney might have a big night, I’d love to defy it again and argue that Obama did a lot better than most of the pundits said he did,” Cassidy writes. “Stephanie Cutter, one of Obama’s campaign managers, came on direct from the post-debate spin room. ‘We feel pretty good about the President’s performance in there tonight,’ she said. Uh-oh, I thought, Did she just say ‘pretty good’? And there was worse to come: ‘He wasn’t speaking to the people here,’ Cutter went on. ‘He wasn’t speaking to the pundits. He was speaking to the people at home.’

IQ promises more in-depth debate coverage as election season rolls on. Until then, the polls are pretty clear that Romney emerged the big winner this week, even as fact-checkers plug away at some of his more dubious claims. Here’s the cover of the New Yorker that is the subject of this article: