Saturday, February 16, 2008

Cult Of Personalities

I saw Charles Krauthammer's piece yesterday, and chose to ignore it. Sadly, No!, however, took up the challenge, and did it just right.

Krauthammer's column is the most cogent in the latest right-wing criticism of Barack Obama, which boils down to the claim that he is creating a cult of personality.
[I]n the most amazing trick of all, a silver-tongued freshman senator has found a way to sell hope. To get it, you need only give him your vote. Barack Obama is getting millions.

This kind of sale is hardly new. Organized religion has been offering a similar commodity -- salvation -- for millennia. Which is why the Obama campaign has the feel of a religious revival with, as writer James Wolcott observed, a "salvational fervor" and "idealistic zeal divorced from any particular policy or cause and chariot-driven by pure euphoria."


ABC's Jake Tapper notes the "Helter-Skelter cult-ish qualities" of "Obama worshipers," what Joel Stein of the Los Angeles Times calls "the Cult of Obama." Obama's Super Tuesday victory speech was a classic of the genre. Its effect was electric, eliciting a rhythmic fervor in the audience -- to such rhetorical nonsense as "We are the ones we've been waiting for. (Cheers, applause.) We are the change that we seek."

That was too much for Time's Joe Klein. "There was something just a wee bit creepy about the mass messianism," he wrote. "The message is becoming dangerously self-referential. The Obama campaign all too often is about how wonderful the Obama campaign is."

As someone who has engaged in creating the mythic RONALD REAGAN cult since the 1980's, I find it difficult to imagine how Krauthammer manages to square that particular circle in his own mind. Doing similar things with the even less worthy George W. Bush makes the notion that the left is somehow losing its collective mind, tossing out the left-wing version of the Hitlergruss and goosestepping down the boulevards of America - it's opera bouffe of the most horrific sort.

Except, of course, these people - Krauthammer, Tapper, Klein - are all quite serious. I am quite sure we shall see more of this kind of garbage should Obama win the nomination. On the heels of Liberal Fascism, they really have no choice.

There are days I hate reading about politics, because these people are so goddamn dumb.

Virtual Tin Cup

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