The political blogs have been having a field day over the possibility that President Bush may have been wearing a wire of some sort during the first presidential debate allowing his aides to feed him answers to the questions he was being asked. In the age of TiVo the ability to immediately replay and examine live television and then save it to a hard disk for further examination later has led to a number of screen shots of the Presidents back during the debates making their way into the Blogosphere that do appear to show some sort of rectangular bulge under the President’s jacket. One such shot is over on the right that you can click on for a bigger version. The speculation picked up enough steam to prompt Dave Lindorff at Salon.com to write an article about it:
Oct. 8, 2004 | Was President Bush literally channeling Karl Rove in his first debate with John Kerry? That’s the latest rumor flooding the Internet, unleashed last week in the wake of an image caught by a television camera during the Miami debate. The image shows a large solid object between Bush’s shoulder blades as he leans over the lectern and faces moderator Jim Lehrer.
The president is not known to wear a back brace, and it’s safe to say he wasn’t packing. So was the bulge under his well-tailored jacket a hidden receiver, picking up transmissions from someone offstage feeding the president answers through a hidden earpiece? Did the device explain why the normally ramrod-straight president seemed hunched over during much of the debate?
Bloggers are burning up their keyboards with speculation. Check out the president’s peculiar behavior during the debate, they say. On several occasions, the president simply stopped speaking for an uncomfortably long time and stared ahead with an odd expression on his face. Was he listening to someone helping him with his response to a question? Even weirder was the president’s strange outburst. In a peeved rejoinder to Kerry, he said, “As the politics change, his positions change. And that’s not how a commander in chief acts. I, I, uh—Let me finish—The intelligence I looked at was the same intelligence my opponent looked at.” It must be said that Bush pointed toward Lehrer as he declared “Let me finish.” The green warning light was lit, signaling he had 30 seconds to, well, finish.
Lindorff’s article points out that there’s no shortage of reasons why this idea isn’t as preposterous as it might sound ranging from the fact that one of the rules agreed upon for the debates by both teams was that no cameras would be placed behind the candidates (which Fox happily ignored) to a mysterious incident with a speech Bush gave at a D-day event in France *. On Monday Bush’s campaign team wasted no time trying to laugh off the rumors:
“It’s not true. It’s ridiculous,” Bush campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel said.
“Some people have been spending too many hours looking at left-wing conspiracy Web sites,” Stanzel said. “Did you hear the one about Elvis moderating the third debate?”
Campaign officials declined to discuss it further because they weren’t certain a bulge even existed and do not want to appear to take seriously what they consider a “wild accusation.”
Actually this is far from being a ridiculous idea as the technology to pull something like this off is quite common and used every day by all manner of people. The ear bud used in this kind of setup is small enough to fit down into the ear canal where it would stay out of sight and it’s not like this sort of thing hasn’t ever happened before. Back in 1986 James Randi exposed Faith-Healing Preacher Peter Popoff as using this same technique live on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Popoff’s so-called God given psychic abilities turned out to actually be a small radio receiver in his ear that allowed his wife to feed him previously collected information from backstage. Now consider how far this technology has probably advanced since 1986.
Considering how stunningly inept at speaking the President can be at times when he isn’t working from a memorized script it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if it turned out he’s wired for most of his public appearances, let alone the debates. The real question is: Does it make a damned bit of difference either way? Sure, to folks like myself it’s another indication that this man can’t tie his own shoes without detailed instructions and the help of several aides, but we already know that anyway. It’s not like finding out he’s relying on a wire is going to make us think he’s unfit for the office he holds because we already think he’s unfit for the office he holds. The only people it might affect are the ones who haven’t made up their mind yet, but if all the other crap that’s come out so far—such as the report that there were never any WMDs to be found in Iraq—isn’t enough to get people to decide in favor of Kerry then I seriously doubt that finding out Bush has to have his debate answers dictated to him isn’t going to have any big impact either.
I haven’t been able to figure out why half the country seems so willing to blindly accept whatever bullshit excuses and justifications the Bush administration throws at them on a daily basis as though it were manna from Heaven other than they must be friggin’ idiots. I’ve said many times that I think most of my fellow Americans are morons and I fully admit that’s a pretty cynical viewpoint, but deep down inside I secretly want to believe that this isn’t really true. Yet every time I manage to start to convince myself that my cynicism is unjustified something happens to show me that not only is it justified, but the truth is actually much worse than my cynical side thinks it is. The fact that so many people in this country think Bush is the greatest thing since sliced bread these days is just one more victory for my cynical side.
*Video clip provided by Populist Politics.