Here’s a rather blunt question for any Trump supporters who might be stopping by: How do you live with yourselves? There are myriad reasons for asking, but there’s one specific topic that we need to talk about today.
After blasting through eight years in which nearly every Republican — Trump supporter or not — routinely criticized President Obama for using the exact same technology that every politician in the western world uses when delivering prepared remarks (including Mr. Reagan), the GOP nominee for president has chosen to apparently reject his improvisational-meets-kamakaze rally style, replacing it with scripted remarks fed to a teleprompter.
It’s not difficult to ascertain why Obama was so thoroughly ridiculed for using prompters. The dog whistle, in this case, hasn’t been so subtle. The point: to characterize Obama as a dummy — a neophyte who was only smart on paper, requiring that his words are electronically fed into his brain because he’s clearly incapable of something. Memorizing everything? Perhaps the goal was to demystify his compelling oratory style. Regardless, the attacks simply came off as stupidly nearsighted and petty.
Obama isn’t the only victim, though. Trump himself made a big deal out of Hillary’s use of “promters” (sic).
Bad performance by Crooked Hillary Clinton! Reading poorly from the telepromter! She doesn't even look presidential!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 2, 2016
Teleprompters are so foreign to Trump, he apparently doesn’t know how to spell the word. (“Telerompters” with a second “p” is the correct colloquial spelling. Actually, the word began as a brand-name, spelled “TelePrompTers,” with the caps included.)
Trump also said on Fox & Friends last May, “She reads off a teleprompter, you notice. She’s reading off a teleprompter; she always does. She really doesn’t have her own words.”
She doesn’t have her own words, eh? Shorter: Hillary doesn’t bullshit her speeches, like I do.
Fast forward to this past week when we find a newly “pivoted” Trump reading his stump speeches using prompters. Why? Because this is how it’s supposed to be done, yet for the better part of a decade, the GOP led us to believe it was a sign of illiteracy or perhaps even a red flag pointing to a Manchurian candidate who’s being puppeteered by invisible enemies. Nevertheless, what is Trump doing to improve his chances? He’s using a prompter, which he should’ve done from the beginning and is only now discovering after literally every poll is forecasting an epic Trump loss in November. So, bring on the prompters.
And, on cue, Republican bootlicker, Sean Hannity, had nothing but praise for the addition of the unobtrusive perspex screens:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Let me ask you this. He gave two speeches, this is what I — this is what I think is the secret sauce.
KELLYANNE CONWAY: Yes.
HANNITY: He only talked about Hillary and Obama, he was on prompter. I like him on prompter myself, my own personal preference. But he stayed on a very powerful Donald Trump message. It was totally him, and he made very powerful points, but he outlined the failures and offered solutions.
Hannity continued by reading from his own prompter, tossing to a commercial break.
But when the black guy or the woman does it, they don’t have their own words. As I hinted, the irony is that many of the attacks against Obama’s use of prompters were recited by pundits and politicians who were, themselves, reading the criticisms via prompters. Sarah Palin comes to mind.
This is perhaps the most ridiculous weapon in the GOP’s anti-Obama, anti-Hillary arsenal, and it represents another massive contradiction emerging from the “opposite day” line of attack. Imagine being a Trump supporter today, forced to respond to pro-Obama co-workers who happened to notice Trump’s routine usage of the devices. Making matters worse, what if this Trump supporter had spent eight years repeating the teleprompter nonsense and, today, is forced to defend it while also defending Trump’s use of prompters. No wonder Trump’s people are so off-the-rails. In defending their guy, they can’t find a consistent argument using both hands and a flashlight.