IMO, the Republican Party shot itself in the foot. They NEEDED a positive spotlight this week, and on the few occasions they had the opportunity to take it, they squandered it. They already had to share the post-Olympic spotlight with Hurricane Isaac, which meant they needed that positive spotlight THAT MUCH MORE, given the collective American attention was on the storm as opposed to the business of showcasing the GOP.
They even had a chance at redemption when Clint Eastwood got to speak, and mind you, everyone — at least at first — thought it would be a sight better than if Sarah Palin or GW Bush had spoken, but in the end, even Dirty Harry couldn't make their day. Eastwood was more like the "get off my lawn" type of guy from "Gran Torino" than he was Harry Callahan.
In addition to diverting attention from Romney's speech, the most Eastwood did was to create easy cannon fodder for the late-night circuit. Hell, by the end of Eastwood's speech, I found myself waiting for him to haul out a .44 to give us a modern version of Charlton Heston's "from my cold, dead hands" speech.
It probably wouldn't have been the worst thing he could do. It certainly would have been better than yammering at an empty chair. I got the metaphor, but it fell flat.
Romney took the high road in his speech. I was very pleased that he did; I wish (and hope) the GOP in general and Romney in particular would remain above the mudslinging through the fall campaign. I want this to be about who can best run the country, not who can sling the most mud. Then again, that's one of the reasons I never got into politics.