Charlie Crist just got an endorsement that is probably making him and the GOP cringe right about now.Medal of Honor winner Bud Day has publicly endorsed Crist for the Senate, but in doing so, peeled back the curtain on the Republican's race problem. And Adam Serwer gets to the heart what that tiresome teleprompter joke really means. More below the fold.
Here's a little background on Bud Day. He's a war hero and I would think that if one were a Republican, one would be over the moon to have garnered this fine upstanding medal of honor winner's endorsement:
George Everett "Bud" Day (born February 24, 1925) is a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel and Command Pilot who served during the Vietnam War. He is often cited as being the most decorated U.S. service member since General Douglas MacArthur, having received some seventy decorations, a majority for actions in combat. Day is a recipient of the Medal of Honor.
So, I bet Charlie Crist was ECSTATIC to receive his endorsement, right? Maybe not so much. Here's how Day described Marc Rubio and President Obama:
"You know, we just got through (electing) a politician who can run his mouth at Mach 1, a black one, and now we have a Hispanic who can run his mouth at Mach 1," Day said. "You look at their track records and they’re both pretty gritty. Charlie has not got a gritty track record."
Day confirmed he was speaking of Obama and Rubio.
He then goes on to hit Obama for using one of "those reader things":
"You’ve got the black one with the reading thing. He can go as fast as the speed of light and has no idea what he’s saying," Day said. "I put Rubio in that same category, except I don’t know if he’s using one of those readers."
He reduces non-whites to their ethnicity because as he sees, only whites have societal value. And there's a lot to be disected concerning his mentioning of the teleprompter. I hadn't thought of it this way before, but Adam Serwer over at The American Prospect makes an excellent point about the GOP and conservatives in general making such a big deal over Obama's use of a teleprompter:
The "teleprompter" jibe has always fascinated me because it's such a clear response to the white anxiety that the president's obvious intelligence provokes in some conservatives. As Day inadvertently reveals above, the teleprompter is a kind of catch-all symbol for all the easy breaks minorities get at the expense of whites, which is why it's a favorite trope of people like Rush Limbaugh who inexplicably blame "affirmative action" for Obama being president. They're so used to exaggerating and mythologizing the effects of affirmative action that they actually believe anyone who isn't white who has achieved a position of prominence actually doesn't deserve to be there, which conversely reassures them that they are in fact superior. It's a bedtime story that rationalizes all nonwhite excellence as the product of easily removable external forces, and its very existence hints at the fragile ego of the person who tells it.
What makes this particular fairy tale interesting though, is that Rubio himself used against Obama at CPAC, while standing around a bunch of teleprompters. Again, the reason why this isn't hypocrisy is because conservatives who buy the teleprompter trope believe that Obama, as a black liberal, needs a teleprompter because he's secretly an imbecile. Rubio was signaling that he was a member of the conservative tribe, that he accepted the implicit worldview of conservatives that modern America is unfair to white people and privileges undeserving minorities, at the same time identifying himself as one of the "deserving" ones. In doing so he flatters his audience, first by reinforcing their worldview, next by complimenting them for having found one of the few "deserving" nonwhites. Day obviously, isn't buying it.
This struck me like a bolt of lightening. And it all makes so much sense. The teleprompter is the right's crutch to go to because Obama is so obviously intelligent (more so than most of the white thinkers on the right's side) and deserving of the Presidency, that it makes them feel better to think that he can't speak without one. The problem is that it's obvious he's far more intellectually superior to them all on his own. I think he proved that at the televised Republican summit. The image of Obama as an imbecile just doesn't jibe with reality, so the teleprompter jab is an easy target.
So, as the right wing pundits are pushing back against the portrayal of the GOP and conservatives as having a race problem, here comes Bud Day to muck it all up. And I'll never see that teleprompter joke in the same way again.