Obama and his teleprompter: Part 1

I post on another blog populated with liberal commenters.  They evidently do not like my frequent references to Obama’s teleprompter.  So, I gave them a two part blog all about that very subject…

Some have complained about my frequent references to Obama’s teleprompter.  I’m glad it was brought up. It’s high time for an entire blog entry – or two – to be devoted to Obama and one of his, um, “frequent travel companions.”  My post about this is big enough that it has to be split into two.  And it’s going to even be posted in two different years.  How about that?

This is an issue that cuts acros ideological lines.  Not only have conservatives gotten mileage out of this, but none other than the sitting Vice President himself, Joe Biden, has had fun with it.  In case you didn’t know, he works for Obama.  As Obama has said, “Nobody messes with Joe.” 

But it doesn’t stop there.  Another Democrat and former Vice President, Walter Mondale, has been critical of Obama’s use of teleprompters.  He referred to them as “idiot boards”  and pointed out that Obama can’t connect with Americans when he uses them. 

If people really have a problem with this, don’t worry about me — a mere blogger — talking about it.  Clearly, you should direct your complaints to the likes of the above named pair of Democrat Vice Presidents.  Their words are a little more important than mine.

So, why do I, as a conservative, echo the sentiments of liberals like Biden and Mondale regarding Obama’s teleprompter, aka TOTUS (Teleprompter of the United States)?  Hasn’t Bush used a teleprompter?  Or other presidents?  As a history buff, I have visited many presidential homes and museums.  Even Herbert Hoover, after his presidency, used an ancient version of a teleprompter!  It was on display in the Hoover Presidential Museum and Library in West Branch, Iowa.  This obviously was a very primitive version, nothing like the fancy TOTUS used by Obama.  And let’s be clear….we cannot call it “Hoover’s TOTUS” since Hoover was not president when he used it.  If Truman or Eisenhower used one of these during their presidencies, then we could call it a TOTUS.  Anyway, back to Hoover.  Hoover’s did not even have an electronic screen.  No, sir.  It had a paper scroll, with the words all in upper case (sounds like someone SHOUTING in a blog comment or something — had to be hard on Hoover’s eyes) moving through the machine.  There was only one teleprompter, so I assume Hoover didn’t get to have the “tennis head” effect like Obama.  Ah, the joys of modern technology.  Obama can have two teleprompters perfectly coordinated so he can move his head back and forth.  Even if they printed the same scroll and set up two of these devices on either side of Hoover’s podium, he couldn’t really get a good “tennis head” effect because invariably, one would scroll slower or faster than the other.

So, anyway, the preceding discussion of Hoover’s teleprompter vs. Obama’s TOTUS really says nothing about why I frequently talk about Obama and his teleprompter, or why I don’t complain because Bush used one.  Well, nobody “misunderestimated” Bush’s speaking ‘abilities.’  Bush wasn’t exactly promoted as a good, uh, “speaker.”  Obama, on the other hand, absolutely WAS promoted as a good speaker.  And sadly, when he has gone “off prompter” there have been some very offensive statements made.  Other times on the campaign trail, when the teleprompter messed up Obama has had difficulties compensating.  Guiness should have created a category for presidential candidates who used the words “um, er, ah, uh,” etc.

Early in the era of “hope and change,” Obama hosted the Prime Minister of Ireland.  He needed a teleprompter to say a few words of introduction.  The teleprompter screwed up and Obama ended up thanking himself for inviting the Prime Minister (a line to be spoken by the PM).  It took some time for Obama to figure out that these were not his lines.  He’s just reading words.  There is no thought behind them.  It’s just whatever appears on the screen.  This gaffe caused a major growth in teleprompter jokes, with numerous blogs and social networking accounts being created as the fictional character of Obama’s Teleprompter. 

This is a man who was touted as more intelligent than previous presidents (and not just his immediate predecessor).  He is supposed to be an academic.  He is allegedly a constitutional law professor.  Professors typically manage to lecture without using teleprompters.  Was Obama able to do this?  He is supposed to be far superior to the average person — in more than just attitude.  His buddy, Valerie Jarrett, spoke of his “burden of being so bright.”  Ultimately, he does not need to use a teleprompter as a crutch.

Obama has had to take a teleprompter to a grade school classroom.  He’s an academic.  He’s allegedly a former professor.  Can he not connect with students?  Can’t he speak from the heart?  Does EVERYTHING have to be prepared for him?  The man won a presidential election.  Does he lack the confidence to be spontaneous and just speak?  Or is it that his handlers are terrified of what might actually come out?

Franklin Pierce memorized his inauguration speech.  Teleprompters didn’t exist in 1853.  NOBODY is asking Obama to memorize lengthy speeches or avoid the use of modern technology.  The problem comes with overuse of it.  The problem is when he uses it for things like talking to elementary school children, or introducing foreign leaders.  The problem comes when if the teleprompter malfunctions, Obama continues reading what’s on the screen.  We’d like to see the REAL Obama, warts and all.  Not merely a hollow front man for someone else.

And this is where I’ll stop for this post.  Stay tuned for Part 2….next year.    With that, I’ll say Happy New Year, folks!