T.A. Frank has a post at Carpetbagger's new home asking what we should do about the potential for politicians using hidden earpieces to sound more intelligent than they really are, and I was so pleased with my suggestions that I decided to pass them on here.
My recommendation is that before any debate, interview, or rally, someone loudly ask in an authoritative voice "Please raise your hand if you're using an earpiece" and see who raises their hand. (Can you honestly say Bush wouldn't have fallen for that?)
Or what if we used ventriloquists to stand beside the politicos and mimic the voice of the pol's smartest handler, giving them a piece of false information and seeing if they repeat it? Or perhaps if they quickly said "Touch your toes" and see if they do.
To check for inner-ear pieces, we could quickly jab pencils in their ears and whoever doesn't say "ouch" is guilty. This would also be a good way of testing the Secret Service's reaction time.
Pacino for President
But seriously, none of this is necessary. Republican presidents do not speak for themselves, at least not since Nixon demonstrated the need for plausible deniability. Modern Republican politicians are little more than empty suits who say what they're told to say and are only given enough information to make the decision their handlers want them to make. Even Mr. Straight-Talking Maverick has become little more than his campaign's chief spokesman, and that role has now been outsourced to his more charismatic running mate.
Calling them flipfloppers would suggest that they give a damn what they're saying. They're actors playing a role, and nothing more. Sure, Robert DeNiro adds spice to the roles he plays, but nobody holds him accountable for the things his characters say. McCain and Palin are no different. It doesn't matter whether they're getting the information from an earpiece or if they just have a good memory; they're not speaking for themselves. And if, god forbid, they won the Whitehouse, their policies would be only slight variations of what a President Romney, Thompson, or Bush would do. It's not a question of what their policies would be, but rather how much deception their handlers have to use to get them to obey.
And honestly, are these earpieces such bad things? At least if they have someone feeding them the information, they won't sound so fricking stupid; like suggesting that Sarah Palin "knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America." Ouch, that's dumb. More earpieces, please!