Eastwood disappointed by lack of bipartisanship

The actor and director says Simpson-Bowles may have been our last chance for political cooperation.

By Jason Notte Feb 8, 2013 12:27PM
Halftime in America is over and talking to the chair didn't work, so Clint Eastwood's taking his political disappointment directly to the people.

The actor, director and Man With No Name went on CNBC on Friday to lament the lack of bipartisan cooperation in Congress and to give some credit to former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson and former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles for at least trying back in 2010. He worried aloud that the intractable disputes between both sides of the aisle will lead to political complacency that will only further complicate national politics.

"It's almost like they don't give a damn," Eastwood said. "If they don't give a damn, why do they expect anybody else to?"

It's been an unusually active political cycle for Eastwood, whose appearance in Chrysler's "Halftime in America" Super Bowl ad last year in the middle of primary season made onlookers speculate which side he would take in the 2012 presidential election. He supported John McCain in 2008, but his dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama's economic policies led him to the Republican National Convention and his conversation with a piece of furniture standing in for the president.Image: Washington, D.C. (Bilderbuch/Design Pics/Corbis)

With Obama re-elected and the nation's economy facing more cliffs than Wile E. Coyote, Eastwood longed for 2010 and the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, best known as Simpson-Bowles. The plan would have cut the federal deficit by $4 trillion, reduced debt by 60% by 2023 and eliminated the deficit altogether by 2035.

Despite support for the measure from Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and McCain, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman sniffed at it as "unserious." The measure's tax tinkering was criticized and its spending cuts, especially those applied to Social Security, were savaged by detractors.

"They were just dismissed, and that was the end of it," Eastwood told CNBC.

The plan died in committee, with votes against it from such notables as failed Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan and Democratic Senate fixture Max Baucus. Amid recent drama, including the fiscal cliff, the "sequester" of spending cuts and the debt ceiling debate, Simpson-Bowles is getting a fresh look. Eastwood suggests it should be a long one, as Simpson and Bowles may be our last example of bipartisanship for a while. Why focus on them?

"They're probably smarter than most."

More on moneyNOW

Feb 8, 2013 1:13PM

 "If they don't give a damn, why do they expect anybody else to?"


Eastwood hits the nail on the head here. Every day people are feeling more disappointed with the lack of seriousness on money matters that the government displays. Then they get to feeling like why fight it? I'm a lost breed. Responsible is out of style. Charge up the cards and join the deadbeats. It needs to change from the top down...... and soon.

Feb 8, 2013 12:50PM
Politicians are really a piece of work.  No matter how much money they get they always spend more.  We need a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. 
Things with change when people vote for financially responsible politicians, rather than those who promiss them the most freebees.  Eventually you run out of money and we will end uplike Greece, etc.
Feb 8, 2013 1:33PM
These politicians are all millionaires, they have no idea of the needs of the average American and they never will. When this country cant borrow anymore money, then we will get serious.
Feb 8, 2013 1:29PM
I totally understand Eastwood's frustration as the rest of the nation feels the same way. With his speaking the truth about what happens in Washington only makes the situation there more exasperating as those that are in office are supposedly there to be working for the good of the nation and fail to do so. It is time for citizens of this country to demand term limits on the lying thieving bastards demand and any pay and benefits that they may receive while in office are to cease when leave office. I understand that this would be a hard sell in Washington as they are incapable of honesty.
Feb 8, 2013 1:32PM

Unfortunately Washington doesn’t get it either, most of Washington is run by political dynasties exacerbated by both political parties buying votes and taking care of family dynasties, and family businesses, and party agendas rather than providing the leadership and stewardship needed to ensure the survival and growth of our nation.

Feb 8, 2013 1:27PM
Cutting social security isn't an option unless the amounts paid in are repaid, as it was never set up to be a tax it was set up to allow for money after one's working life so they wouldn't be a leach of the system.  The years of tax cuts and runaway spending in the 80's lead to politicians "borrowing" from monies they should've never had access to in the first place as it is a self sustaining program.
Feb 8, 2013 1:46PM
clint is an American who still cares. the politicians in washington have lost focus as to what they are hired to do. if the households of americans were as out of line as government we would all be done for. its time that washington is cleaned out. get rid of career politicians. force a balanced budget and make it a crime to belong to special interest groups. wall street and the rich care nothing about america. they are too busy counting their money.
Feb 8, 2013 2:32PM
They don't give a damm about the people. Our politicians are more like the mafia only the mafia doesn't mess with anybody unless they mess with them. None of them listen to the mandate of the masses. Just look at all these comment pages on the various articles and you can tell what the overwhelming majority wants our country to do and yet they do as they want and not what we want them to do. This country is of the few, for the few, and by the few.
Feb 8, 2013 2:07PM
Feb 8, 2013 1:15PM
Nothing will change as long as OUR representatives are bought and controlled by corporations, Wall Street and the Banks.  Our government has, long ago, been bought and paid for by "big money" Come to think of it, OUR government has slipped into the abyss of Fascism. If you were to google and read a study done by Dr. Lawrence Britt, titled "The Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascist Governments" I think you would agree that our government can be defined by all fourteen points.
Feb 8, 2013 1:15PM
We will never get bipartisanship. Half of congress is backed by the taxpayers wanting lower taxes and less spending. The half is backed by the mooching democrats wanting more free stuff and higher taxes on everyone else..
Feb 8, 2013 1:17PM
Impeach hussein and elect Clint for president.  He certainly can't do any worse.
Feb 8, 2013 1:52PM
People need to flood their governors, senators, congressmen's with e-mail and letters to stop allot of this madness of raised taxes, balancing the budget, Healthcare, gun control and military "Drones". The Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written to protect us- not bankrupt, divide, and oppress the American Citizen.  Make your voice count!
Feb 8, 2013 2:35PM

I could care less if anyone takes part in this BS called bipartisanship, I do care thatmy rights are under attack, freedom to travel,freedom of speech,freedom to disagree, freedom to spepnd my money I make on whatever I want and of course my freedom to have a firearm and use self defense instead of being a victim......so I'd like DC to solve the debt crisis they created,end these stupid wars,bring our troops home and drop some bombs instead of vegan meals and while your at it stop making every damn thing so expensive.

The poor should not have birth control,a house, a car,cell phone ,internet or food that they didn't work and pay for.

And as for you fair share people,stop hiding behind tax free programs and pay your own taxes!

Of course DC cares, ............ cares that the money keeps flowing in while they are still not behind bars or killed for betrayal!

Bring on the revolution, the bloodier it is, the longer before it will be needed again!

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants": Thomas Jefferson
Feb 8, 2013 2:19PM
The balanced budget, government spending and the deficit, gun control, military spending, use of "Drones" to kill american citizens, healthcare should be on a voter's ballot for the people to decide. Especially when our representatives cannot represent  the American people without  personal and bias agendas. 
Feb 8, 2013 1:43PM
flat tax, works for china. But Obama takes the route Greece is on. GO FIGURE
Feb 8, 2013 1:50PM

Everyone should read Dr. Joseph Stigletz's book, The Price of Inequality. He outlines how government should work for us all and how money and those at the very top (.01%) have gerrymandered the law and the rules to have governement and economics working against all of us. When only a very, very few (around 400 or so out of a population of 300 million) prosper and the rest of us suffer that is a recipe for disaster.

That disaster is currently brewing. Politicians and talking heads have us turning against each other. Eventually the only way out will be another civil war. Should that happen the US will cease to exist as China, India and the rest of the world move in to divide up the spoils of what was once a great nation. Unless we begin to forcefully hold those in public office accountable to us, the people and to the actual constitution (not the one cherry picked by folks like Rush Limbaugh) we will end this great experiment known as democracy.

Feb 8, 2013 2:16PM

When the Three Stooges; Pelosi, Krugman and McCain disagree with something you know it's a good idea!!

Feb 8, 2013 2:32PM
During Mr. Panetta's testimony in front of the Senate's Intelligence Committee, he was asked on more than one occasion, to give his impressions on the potential consequences of a triggered sequester.  Not only would it be disastrous for our fragile economy, he said, but it would seriously impact the military's readiness to that of "second" rate countries.

The United States' military budget is larger than all other countries combined; it is laughable to think that the sequester, which would cut military spending by ONLY TENTHS of a percent, would reduce the mightiest military to second-rate capacity.  It's likely that Mr. Panetta was ginning up fear to improve his boss's chances of winning the public-opinion debate.  AND THAT'S TOO BAD!

Mr. Eastwood is spot on,  there are no CURRENTLY ACTIVE politicians in Washington willing to compromise for the sake of the nation.

And how did those politicians find their way into their offices...?  That's what I thought. 
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