Sunday, July 19, 2009

POTUS Needs a TOTUS Tsar

President Obama has been experiencing reliability problems with his teleprompter. While delivering a speech on his non-stimulus Stimulus Bill, TOTUS fell over, crashed to the floor, and shattered in pieces. How symbolic!

POTUS has appointed a horde of tsars for almost everything, but he needs one for the TOTUS. The TOTUS is chronically unreliable, leaving POTUS verbally naked.

President Obama is a gifted orator, but he is speechless without his teleprompter. POTUS without his TOTUS sometimes sounds like a Doofus. He becomes a collection of “ahs” and “uhs” and “ohs”. On one occasion he ad libbed a tasteless remark. He taped a segment on Jay Leno’s show, and commented that he had improved his bowling on the White House bowling alley. He said he even bowled a 129, to which Jay responded “That’s very good Mr. President.” The TOTUSless POTUS had the last word; to wit “It’s like the Special Olympics or something.”

On another occasion he was well into his remarks before the National Academy of Sciences, diligently reading from TOTUS when it finally dawned on POTUS that he was repeating himself. On St Patrick’ Day TOTUS told POTUS to thank himself for inviting himself, which POTUS dutiably did.

So far, President Obama is the POTUS with the Mostus TOTUS. SCOTUS doesn’t even use a TOTUS.

TOTUS is a clutch he cannot do without. In essence he is addicted to it. Attempts to wean him from the teleprompter last year failed.

POTUS has made a bargain with Faustus over TOTUS.

Mass rallies, small appearances, country fairs, even his opening remarks at a press conference, have to be read from TOTUS. He cannot leave home without it. Too bad the great actor Karl Malden just passed away. He could have taped an ad for TOTUS’ manufacturer: “TOTUS: Don’t leave home without it.”

At press conferences, he even maps out the order of questions by reporters, and at a recent press conference, the second question went to a blogger whose question had been planted by the White House.

Had President George W. Bush experienced any of these gaffes or practices, the media would have excoriated him. Pretty soon, they will start saying “That’s just Obama.”

By way of comparison, Governor Palin’s electrifying convention speech was not disrupted when her teleprompter malfunctioned. Her delivery was flawless even if the teleprompter was not. Similarly, President Sextus Clinton was delivering a speech once when his teleprompter failed. He didn’t miss a beat, delivering the rest of his speech from memory.

At some point the public will realize that no matter how soaring the President’s speeches are, he is not eye balling the people when he talks to them. His eyes are simply flickering between the twin TOTUS’ and talking at the public – not to them. Eye contact with TOTUS is not eye contact by POTUS with the people.

Even Vice president Biden, who should glue himself to a teleprompter, got into the act. One of his two teleprompters fell over during heavy winds at the Air Force Academy graduation. Biden quipped: “What am I going to tell the president when I tell him his TelePrompTer is broken. What will he do then?”

POTUS needs a tsar to ride rein on TOTUS. If a tsar can deliver GM and Chrysler from the jaws of bankruptcy, then clearly a tsar can control a simple mechanical device.

President Obama has appointed a host of tsars and tsarinas so far – somewhere between 19 and 39 – it’s hard to count, since some are not formally labeled as tsars, and most tsars do not have to be confirmed by Congress. We do know that President Obama has appointed more tsars than tax cheats to his cabinet.

We have an Afghanistan-Pakistan, AIDs, bailout pay, bank bailout, border, cybersecurity, Darfur, domestic violence, energy and environment, faith based, Gitmo closure, green jobs, health reform, infotech, intelligence, Iran, Middle East, millennium bug, non-proliferation, regulatory, stimulus accountability, TARP, terrorism, trade, and urban tsars, but no TOTUS tsar.

Not all tsars are successful. For example, we now have the sixth drug tsar in the War Against Drugs. His predecessors were as successful as many of the Russian tsars. Nicholas II was, of course, executed with his family by the Bolsheviks on July 17, 1918. His grandfather, Alexander II, survived four previous attempts on his life, but was assassinated on March 13, 1881. Paul I was assassinated on March 23, 1801.

Peter III was assassinated in prison by guards, who may or may not have been acting on the behest of his non-Russian wife, Catherine the Great.

Ivan VI was also killed in prison, but only after 20 years of imprisonment. Peter the Great had his oldest son, and successor, Alexei imprisoned and killed.

Nicholas I is suspected of having committed suicide.

The fate of the Russian tsars is not a good omen for Obama’s tsars. The President has already in just six months lost two tsars. Former Senator Tom Daschle withdrew as health tsar because of tax issues and Steven Rattner, the car tsar, has just resigned, perhaps because of his involvement in a pay to play scandal in New York.

President Obama’s biggest challenge is not Afghanistan, Blue Dog Democrats, deficits, Detroit, the economy, global climate change, healthcare, Iran, Iraq, Limbaugh, Republicans, Sotomayor, stimulus, Tarp, terrorism, or Gitmo. It’s communications; without his ability to communicate, he succeeds at nothing.

He needs a TOTUS tsar. Caesar was betrayed by his close friend Brutus. POTUS runs the same risk with TOTUS.

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