Saturday, October 06, 2012

Teleprompter obsession: Inanity or inSanity?

At first I resisted the idea that Obama's opponents were motivated by racism, but after four years of observing them, I finally realized that quite a lot of it really is racism. One of the factors provoking this better-late-than-never insight is because I work next to a guy who loves Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and the book of racialist "science" The Bell Curve. I don't know this guy that well, but one of the first things I did learn about him was that The Bell Curve is like his Bible. And he hates hates hates Obama. He spends half the day in the office reading right-wing web sites.

All these sore-headed middle-aged white men just cannot believe that a black man could have done so well for himself when they themselves did not do nearly as well, in spite of all the advantages of being white. And so they believe that there MUST be a conspiracy afoot to make Barack Obama succeed. They think that his presidency is some kind of massive, unfair affirmative action conspiracy.

Understanding the fundamental racist basis for their hatred of Obama really helps to understand the weird things they obsess over, like Obama's use of a teleprompter. So many of us liberals thought that all you had to do to address the teleprompter issue is to point out that all politicians use a teleprompter, so it's no big deal that Obama does. And yet, this doesn't make them STFU about the teleprompter. For years I was baffled about the fact that they keep talking about it. I mean, didn't they hear the part where ALL politicians use it? Why doesn't that seem to make any difference to them?

Back in April Romney and Sean Hannity agreed that it was smart to use a teleprompter. (see link)

And yet just a few days ago I got into a debate with a friend of a FB friend who was obsessed with Obama using a teleprompter.

Every president has used one since Eisenhower, and Mitt agrees it's a smart thing to do. And yet for some reason, the right-wing keeps going on and on about using a teleprompter. Back in March, R
obert Schesinger in USA Today calls their obsession "inane."

And it would be inane - silly and lacking any sense - unless you understood the real reason behind it.

And Rick Santorum provides the key in his criticism of Obama's use of the teleprompter:
See, I always believed that when you run for president of the United States, it should be illegal to read off a teleprompter," Santorum said at a Gulfport restaurant. "Because all you're doing is reading someone else's words to people.

"Reading someone else's words" - this is what they want to believe about Obama - not that he's using the teleprompter the way people use notes when they're making a speech, to help him remember his key points, etc. - they believe that a black person is incapable of writing good speeches - they believe a black person has to be told what to say. And liberals resist believing that this is what conservatives really believe because it seems insane. We don't want to believe racism this hard-core is still so prevalent.

But what other possible reason can they believe they are scoring points to mention Obama uses a teleprompter? Of course their "reasoning" is never stated aloud. They don't need to - those who already believe that about black people pick up on the dog whistle. The rest of us are baffled and call it "inane."

It's only inane if you can't hear the dog-whistle.  And that is what a goodly percentage of our opponents are really about. Any time they are saying some weird nonsense, and you can't understand why they think it matters, consider the dog-whistle.