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Old 02-07-2008, 01:08 PM   #1
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The Cult of Obama

And Obama Wept
February 07, 2008 9:43 AM

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpu...bama-wept.html

Inspiration is nice. But some folks seem to be getting out of hand.

It's as if Tom Daschle descended from on high saying, "Be not afraid; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: for there is born to you this day in the city of Chicago a Savior, who is Barack the Democrat."

Obama supporter Kathleen Geier writes that she's "getting increasingly weirded out by some of Obama's supporters. On listservs I'm on, some people who should know better – hard-bitten, not-so-young cynics, even – are gushing about Barack…

Describing various encounters with Obama supporters, she writes, "Excuse me, but this sounds more like a cult than a political campaign. The language used here is the language of evangelical Christianity – the Obama volunteers speak of 'coming to Obama' in the same way born-again Christians talk about 'coming to Jesus.'...So I say, we should all get a grip, stop all this unseemly mooning over Barack, see him and the political landscape he is a part of in a cooler, clearer, and more realistic light, and get to work."

Joe Klein, writing at Time, notes "something just a wee bit creepy about the mass messianism" he sees in Obama's Super Tuesday speech.

"We are the ones we've been waiting for," Obama said. "This time can be different because this campaign for the presidency of the United States of America is different. It's different not because of me. It's different because of you."

Says Klein: "That is not just maddeningly vague but also disingenuous: the campaign is entirely about Obama and his ability to inspire. Rather than focusing on any specific issue or cause — other than an amorphous desire for change — the message is becoming dangerously self-referential. The Obama campaign all too often is about how wonderful the Obama campaign is. “

The always interesting James Wolcott writes that "(p)erhaps it's my atheism at work but I found myself increasingly wary of and resistant to the salvational fervor of the Obama campaign, the idealistic zeal divorced from any particular policy or cause and chariot-driven by pure euphoria. I can picture President Hillary in the White House dealing with a recalcitrant Republican faction; I can't picture President Obama in the same role because his summons to history and call to hope seems to transcend legislative maneuvers and horse-trading; his charisma is on a more ethereal plane, and I don't look to politics for transcendence and self-certification."

Then there's MSNBC's Chris Matthews who tells Felix Gillette in the New York Observer, “I’ve been following politics since I was about 5. I’ve never seen anything like this. This is bigger than Kennedy. [Obama] comes along, and he seems to have the answers. This is the New Testament."

And behold, Obama met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.

The Holy Season of Lent is upon us. Can Obama worshippers try to give up their Helter-Skelter cult-ish qualities for a few weeks?

At least until Easter, or the Pennsylvania primary, whichever comes first...

- jpt

UPDATE: Let me be clear: I'm not saying there shouldn't be enthusiasm in politics. I'm merely touching on the fact that some Obama supporters' exhuberance seems to be getting a little out of hand. Obama himself joked about this at a Hollywood fundraiser, as noted in Men's Vogue:

“When Morgan Freeman comes over to greet Obama, the senator begins bowing down both hands in worship. ‘This guy was president before I was,’ says Obama, referring to Freeman's turn in Deep Impact and, clearly, getting a little ahead of his own bio. Next, a nod to Bruce Almighty: ‘This guy was God before I was.’”
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Old 02-07-2008, 01:47 PM   #2
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this is an interesting article, though i think it's more about the followers than the candidate who has gotten specific at various points about his policies especially in the last debate in Los Angeles.

this is what it comes down to for me. i'm not voting for a Republican. no way. the party thinks war is just another diplomatic tool, they are contemptuous of the rest of the world, and they hate me and wish upon me a social death. i can't vote for the party on a national ticket. end of story.

so what's the difference between Hillary and Obama? when it comes to policy, not a whole lot. sure, there are minor differences in health care and, say, which specific world leaders one would talk to and the other would not. but, generally speaking, they're in pretty much the same place and advocating incremental liberalism.

i don't doubt his brains, and i certainly admire his judgment. and judgment, as we have seen, certainly does trump experience. i have also been -- and everyone has to be -- extraordinarily impressed by his campaign. his money comes from hundreds of thousands of small donations, not from the ultra-powerful rolodex sitting on Hillary's desk. he's run a national campaign and succeeded against the most formidable name in the Democratic party, and a woman who's proven her skills over the course of the campaign as well. he's quite obviously been a brilliant manager, and has quite obviously picked brilliant people to run a campaign that has been tough, but never nasty (as opposed to Hillary).

that's enough for me. i feel he's more than qualified. politics isn't about who understands the issues better or has more experience, but about who can get other people to do what they want. about who is going to be more effective. for all of Hillary's obvious mastery of policy details, a wonk isn't as effective as a Great Communicator. i do think the Reagan comparisons are apt. Reagan was, arguably, less astute than Obama on an intellectual level, but he could get people to do what he wanted and he framed the debates in brilliant ways. this is what Obama has done, and what i expect him to do. i have much respect for Hillary Clinton. but i don't think she's going to be as effective getting legislation passed. there are going to be elements in Congress who would just as soon be caught tapping toes in the stall as they would be agreeing with Hillary Rodham Clinton. it's insane, it's not fair, but if we're going to clean up this horror show of a mess Bush has left, we're going to need someone who focuses on commonalities instead of differences, of points of union than points of dispute, and inspires people to work towards some sense of common good than to work to further their own ideological goals.

and i am desperate to get beyond the Baby Boom.
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Old 02-07-2008, 02:04 PM   #3
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By saying the GOP "hates" you, I assume you're refering to your sexual orientation. The majority of my family and friends are Republicans and none of them "HATES" gays. I know the media likes to portray all us conservatives as Westboro Baptist types but the vast majority of us are not.

I keep waiting for Obama to bring more substance to his campaign but all I hear is a lot of fawning over his speaking skills and persona. So far his popularity seems based on personality and charisma. When he or his followers are asked what type of change he'll bring the answer is typcially something along the lines of "real change!".
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Old 02-07-2008, 02:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by MaxFisher


I keep waiting for Obama to bring more substance to his campaign but all I hear is a lot of fawning over his speaking skills and persona. So far his popularity seems based on personality and charisma. When he or his followers are asked what type of change he'll bring the answer is typcially something along the lines of "real change!".
I don't think many of the candidates on either side have really laid out their policies and plans on a national scale yet, unless you count their brief discussions in the debates. They've all laid out what they would like to see happen in terms of legislation and policy-making on their websites, though. That's why I've decided to support Obama. I did research on him and other candidates and after looking at his ideas and plans he would hope to be able to put into practice if elected, I decided that he's the best candidate for the job.
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Old 02-07-2008, 02:14 PM   #5
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And for the record, if any politician, or person for that matter, feels that a person should not have the same rights as they do because of the gender they're attracted to, I don't see how that could be called anything but "hate." It's no different than black citizens who were denied the rights and freedoms of whites 40+ years ago. If one doesn't think a feeling of hatred is what allowed that to continue for all that time (and allows it to continue on a smaller, but still unacceptable level today) I would question his or her understanding of life in general.
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Old 02-07-2008, 02:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by MaxFisher
By saying the GOP "hates" you, I assume you're refering to your sexual orientation. The majority of my family and friends are Republicans and none of them "HATES" gays. I know the media likes to portray all us conservatives as Westboro Baptist types but the vast majority of us are not.


when you treat me as less than a full citizen, when you compare me to pedophiles and think that my relationship is no different then bestiality, and when you say that it's your right of religious expression that allows you to call me variations of "abomination" and other buzz words like "lifestyle" and that you just "disagree," what other conclusions am i to draw?

(and i mean the collective "you" not you in particular)

so, show me you don't hate me by granting me full citizenship. and stop voting for people who are beholden to people who actually do hate me. it's far too easy to say that the real haters are the Fred Phelps of the world, and that everyone else is absolved and are just doin' what the bible says.
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Old 02-07-2008, 02:24 PM   #7
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This article is not surprising, and seems to be another attempt by the media to label or dismiss Obama. A lot of his support comes from those who reject the establishment (which includes the MSM).
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Old 02-07-2008, 02:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
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This article is not surprising, and seems to be another attempt by the media to label or dismiss Obama. A lot of his support comes from those who reject the establishment (which includes the MSM).

I agree. Although, it seems to have served him extremely well so far, so I encourage them to keep on knocking him. It only garners more support for his campaign.
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Old 02-07-2008, 02:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by ntalwar
This article is not surprising, and seems to be another attempt by the media to label or dismiss Obama. A lot of his support comes from those who reject the establishment (which includes the MSM).
What? The media is actively rooting for Obama.
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Old 02-07-2008, 02:35 PM   #10
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If his supporters want to proclaim him Jesus and JFK all rolled up into one, let them. I think it just shows their lack of perspective.

What should bother people, even Obama supporters is that the media is so absolutely and obviously in the tank for this guy, I think that at least deserves some heavy criticism.
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Old 02-07-2008, 02:45 PM   #11
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i think it's a stretch to say that the media actually *wants* Obama to win -- they don't. they don't have an opinion. they're the media. Anderson Cooper might vote a specific way, but CNN does not care who wins.

i do think the media is fascinated by him. and i think the reason why is that, yes, he is a new face in many ways, and, yes, his speeches are among the most stirring in the past 30 years. so i think this results in commentators being fascinated by him in a way that creaky known quantities like Hillary or McCain are not.

this is how the media works. it is media. there is no organized conspiracy at the networks to get Obama elected president (like there was at Fox to get Bush elected president -- that, by the way, is documented, and Roger Ailes was long on the Bush family payroll) and more that he simply translates very well on camera and he's able to provide something fresh and new to even grizzled and jaded pundits who've been through this a million times before and have a pretty good understanding of how the political apparatus works.
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Old 02-07-2008, 02:53 PM   #12
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I would echo Irvine. In the Democratic race, Obama is still the underdog. He's running against, as has been stated numerous times, one of the most recognized names in U.S. political history. The media knows that we as a culture love to root for the little guy. They're playing to that facet of society in order to get big ratings. Clearly, Obama has been gaining on Clinton in a huge way, but he's still got a long way to go in demonstrating his capabilities to lead the nation. The media is still portraying themselves as skeptical of his chance to get the nomination, hence all the shock and hoopla over all of his victories thus far.
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Old 02-07-2008, 03:00 PM   #13
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this is also why Kennedy beat Nixon in 1960. he just looked better on TV. it's how it is, and sobbing about some sort of "liberal" media -- which is a fabrication -- really isn't a good way to deal with reality and to support your candidate.
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Old 02-07-2008, 03:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
this is also why Kennedy beat Nixon in 1960. he just looked better on TV. it's how it is, and sobbing about some sort of "liberal" media -- which is a fabrication -- really isn't a good way to deal with reality and to support your candidate.
On a completely unrelated note, thank God Kennedy beat Nixon in 1960. I don't even want to think of what might've happened if Nixon was president during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
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Old 02-07-2008, 03:12 PM   #15
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honestly, my worry about Obama is safety.

it really is.
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