Leave The Teleprompter Alone!
– by David Matthews 2
It was a moment of Internet insanity… an effeminate MySpace celebrity named Chris Crocker turned on his webcam in September of 2007 and started screaming about the criticisms of Britney Spears after her abysmal public appearance on MTV.
“Leave Britney Alone!” he shouted with tears running down his face.
Some people think that he was staging an act, that his hysterics were just part of a satiric comedy performance. But whether or not his tantrum was genuine, it certainly generated plenty of publicity and parody as others began impersonating Crocker and begging that they leave HIM alone, along with a growing list of other train-wrecks that needed to be “left alone”.
Well I think we need to have a repeat of the mascara-running shrill voice in front of ever conservative and neo-conservative talk show host, and have him screeching a new message…
LEAVE THE TELEPROMPTER ALONE!
In their eternal quest to find some way to denigrate and condemn President Barack Obama, conservative and neo-conservative talk show hosts have decided to focus their efforts on Obama’s eloquence, and specifically on the tool that speakers both public and private have been using for years.
As a former stage actor, I know the biggest fear in any kind of performance is forgetting your lines. In public speaking, this is even more so, because it is all about what you say and how you say it.
And Obama’s chief asset is his eloquence. This is a tremendous difference from the condescending drawl from Bill Clinton, or the shrill tones from Hillary Clinton, or the fumbling, bumbling Texas redneck buffoonery from George W. Bush, or even the grandfatherly tone from George H.W. Bush. In fact you have to go back to the late Ronald Reagan to find someone as eloquent as Obama.
So the cons and neo-cons have decided to pick at Obama’s use of the teleprompter. They have accused him of having a love affair with the teleprompter. They have accused of him of being nothing BUT a teleprompter. They have even CALLED him a teleprompter! Rush Limbaugh, the unofficial boss of the Republican Party, now refers to Obama as the TPIC, or TelePrompter-In-Chief.
And I have to wonder… is this the only thing that the cons and neo-cons have LEFT? Are their stances so pathetically abysmal that they have to resort to picking on the fact that Obama uses a teleprompter? What’s next? Picking on what kind of tie he wears? Counting the number of pinstripes on his jacket? Critiquing on the color of his dress shirts? How about how he has his hair done? The brightness of his smile? These were the same losers that were throwing fits during the campaign as to whether or not he wears a flag pin!
You would think that they would be spending their time going after the particulars of Obama’s programs, wouldn’t you? Maybe questioning how tax increases would help the economy, or perhaps trying to question how his programs would spur job creation?
But no… we have to hear the constant nagging about how Obama uses a teleprompter, as though he was the first president to have ever used the device.
Then again, for a political faction that has nothing left to offer but bitter divisiveness, the cons and neo-cons have found a relatively easy target in the teleprompter. After all, picking on the teleprompter doesn’t require any kind of persuasive argument or proof to back up. It’s like complaining that President Obama is breathing air.
Plus, the teleprompter doesn’t get paid for what it does. Not unlike speechwriters and political advisers, the teleprompter is there 24-7 without any kind of coffee breaks or vacation leave.
But more importantly, the teleprompter doesn’t have anyone to come to its rescue. It has no special interest groups that can badger the media and browbeat members of Congress to condemn what the cons and neo-cons are doing. There’s no fear of retribution going after an inanimate object like the teleprompter. It’s probably the safest target for them to attack. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.
Had the cons and neo-cons attacked the speechwriters or the political consultants that create the speeches that President Obama would be reading off the teleprompter, they would be soundly condemned in the media for picking on the helpless people working diligently behind the scenes. They might even face a backlash from their own speechwriters and consultants. Instead, like schoolyard bullies, they go after the things that don’t fight back.
Let’s get brutally honest here… if this is the best that the cons and neo-cons can offer right now, then they have really lost it.
Sure President Obama sounds more eloquent with the teleprompter than without it. Everyone does. That’s not a classified secret. It’s something that politicians and members of the media have used for years. Yes, even the air-fluffed ego-driven members of FoxNews, the beloved channel for cons and neo-cons alike, use a teleprompter. But it’s not like Obama can’t speak without it. His recent town-hall meetings are proof of that.
Now compare that to his predecessor… the man who kept comedians entertained for years with his running gaffes about how ticket counters fly, how human beings and fish could co-exist, how struggling parents put food on their families, and how OB-GYNs practice their “love” with women. George W. Bush was a walking-talking justification for the use of teleprompters.
Never mind the one time when Bush Junior really USED the teleprompter and talked about how the Iraqis were trying to buy Uranium yellow-cake when they weren’t. The infamous “16 words” that shouldn’t have been in the State of the Union speech but still somehow ended up on the teleprompter. What then, guys? Did you blame the teleprompter then? Oh, wait, you didn’t. You attacked the people that questioned what the teleprompter said. After all, if it was on the teleprompter and the president said it, then it MUST be true, right?
The conservatives and neo-conservatives have one thing in common with Chris Crocker’s “Leave Britney Alone” rant, and that is that their public rantings come off as petty and childish. Perhaps that is what President Obama truly meant when he said in his Inauguration that we need to get rid of our childish things.
This is supposed to be a game played by adults. Let’s keep it at that level.