By Jim Lakely
The Czar of the Teleprompter: that might come to be known as a revealing nickname for Barack Obama, and I think I like it the best—especially since I thought of it. After all, being called The Czar of the Telestrator has sure given NBA televison analyst Mike Fratello some panache.
Anyway, as this story in Politico notes, the smartest and most eloquent man ever to roam the halls of the West Wing goes nowhere—and is nothing—without his teleprompter.
Well, OK. Not "nothing." He’s still a radical even in his pajamas. But Obama is not the same "elegant," articulate Lightworker that has now become legend, not without a script scrolling before his eyes. (No wonder Hollywood lefties related to him so much.)
This was supposed to be the president that would inspire our youth. Obama would bring out our best as a people—not to mention staff his administration with the best and brightest. But The Czar is addicted to his Blackberry, and more practical (for him) technology, too.
Obama uses the teleprompter like the late, great Bob Hope used his cue cards—not even the smallest thing can be said on camera without them. Though at least Bob cracked jokes about his use of cue cards; Team Obama doesn’t think it’s very funny when this issue is broached.
Let’s go to the script, as it were, from Politico:
Obama’s reliance on the teleprompter is unusual—not only because he is famous for his oratory, but because no other president has used one so consistently and at so many events, large and small.
After the teleprompter malfunctioned a few times last summer and Obama delivered some less-than-soaring speeches, reports surfaced that he was training to wean himself off of the device while on vacation in Hawaii. But no such luck.
Why would Obama "wean himself off" the teleprompter when doing so leads to "less-than-soaring speeches"? For a guy who is all words, that’s political suicide. Better to stick to the script, because Obama turns into the Wizard of Uhs when he has to free-lance.
In a break from his routine, Obama did not use a teleprompter during his pre-Inauguration speech at a factory in Bedford Heights, Ohio — and his delivery seemed to suffer. He paused too long at parts. He accentuated the wrong words. And overall he sounded hesitant and halting as he spoke from the prepared remarks on the podium.
The irony, of course, was that our previous president was supposed to be the dumb, inarticulate one. But how often did Chimpy McTorture rely on the teleprompter? Not very much, it turns out.
Obama has relied on a teleprompter through even the shortest announcements and when repeating the same lines on his economic stimulus plan that he’s been saying for months — whereas past presidents have mostly worked off of notes on the podium except during major speeches, such as the State of the Union. [snip]
Bush, [said Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer], “would use the teleprompter for his major big events, but when he would travel around the country or do events, he would almost always work off of large index cards.”
Well, America voted for change. And we’ve changed to an entirely scripted president. Veteran White House photographers and cameramen note in the story that the effect is jarring. Not only is it nearly impossible to get images and video of Obama and all the people with him on stage without the teleprompter in the shot, it is even strange to the viewer.
“He uses them to death,” a television crewmember who also covered the White House under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush said of the teleprompter. “The problem is, he never looks at you. He’s looking left, right, left, right — not at the camera. It’s almost like he’s not making eye contact with the American people.”
Yeah. I noticed that, too. But you can understand it. The Czar is not really talking to us, as much as lecturing us. And would you want to look the American people in the eye after heaping crushing debt upon future generations and sending the stock market tumbling every time you speak?