After years of jokes that President Obama needs a teleprompter to deliver speeches (a fact that makes him, instead of more humanizing to some in television media, seemingly more robotic), liberals got a bit of a freebie from Senator (and potential vice presidential nominee) Marco Rubio today, as he interrupted his own speech to note that he forgot his last page. Proving that it’s only stupid and annoying if the other side does it, Ed Schultz immediately picked up on this tonight, joking that Sen. Rubio doesn’t “know his material” because of the gaffe.
In a segment about how lukewarm the Republican Party appears about their brand new nominee Mitt Romney tonight, Schultz took a moment to note that “Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was supposed to be the guy who could shore up Romney’s conservative credentials by joining him on the ticket as vice president.” He ceded that Sen. Rubio was a “great attack dog… on everything from the economy to teleprompters.” And then he lost a page of his speech, paper being a sort of low-resolution teleprompter of a long-gone generation. His guest, Howard Fineman, deadpanned that he, too, forgot the last page of his speech tonight, and, ending the segment, Schultz took one last dig: “Howard Fineman never uses a teleprompter– he knows his material, unlike Marco Rubio.”
The segment was lighthearted ribbing– not exactly in the same realm of ire that people like Sean Hannity have injected into their teleprompter jokes– and certainly not the worst thing Schultz has said about Rubio (he once called the Senator “not a real American,” predating even the bizarre theories about the Senator over at WorldNetDaily). But there was still something unsavory about Schultz picking up the enemy’s weapons. Sure, the instinct to take a jab at Republicans after the seemingly interminable gripes that the President used technology to make it easier to read his own words must be strong among liberals like Schultz. The “teleprompter” jokes are annoying and contribute nothing– being able to orate extemporaneously has much to do with how to win the presidency of the United States, but almost nothing with how one actually runs the nation. There is something disingenuous, however, about spending four years calling the other side’s teasing needless and time-consuming and, upon the first chance present, striking with exactly the same joke. As my colleague Jon Bershad so succinctly argued, two political wrongs don’t make a right– and neither do rhetorical ones. Stupid teleprompter jokes don’t cancel out.
The segment via MSNBC below:
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