What to make of Obama
There’s an air of inevitability to Sen. Barack Obama’s run for the presidency, and a lot more than that.
Romney, in the end, failed to inspire. By contrast,
Barack Obama is nothing but inspiring–so inspiring that it is becoming
deeply creepy. The Boston Globe reports on a new music video touting
“Inspired by the speech Barack Obama delivered in Nashua the night
of the state primary, will.i.am [of the Black Eyed Peas] set Obama’s
text to simple guitar and a soulful melody, recruited 36 artists to
appear in a music video that was conceived, shot, and edited over three
days last week, and posted “Yes We Can” online over the weekend. . . .”
The unmoored passion is intensifying.
The video…depicts people who appear to be in some sort
of trance as they mouth along with Obama’s various rhetorical
flourishes from his speeches, then repeat the mantra “Yes, we can.” The
whole thing has the feel of a cult of personality.
We aren’t the first to make that observation. The other day one
Kathleen Geier, who says she voted for Obama and considers him “a good
progressive,” took to the liberal TPMCafe site to declare that she is
“increasingly weirded out by some of Obama’s supporters”:
She quotes from a Sacramento Bee article that she (and we) found “unsettling”:
“He looked at me, and the look in his eyes was worth 1,000 words,”
said [Kim] Mack, now a regional field organizer. Obama hugged her and
whispered something in her ear–she was so thrilled she doesn’t remember
what it was. . . .
She urged volunteers to hone their own stories of how they came to
Obama–something they could compress into 30 seconds on the phone.
As Geier notes, “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.”"
This is true, and troubling, and more than a few media folks and common folks are starting to notice…and be troubled.
ABC’s Jake Tapper notes other enthusiasts and detractors
from the enthusiasm, all on the Democratic left. “I’ve been following
politics since I was about 5,” Chris Matthews tells the New York
Observer. “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.”
On the other side, Time’s Joe Klein writes that there is “something
just a wee bit creepy about the mass messianism” of the Obama campaign,
which “all too often is about how wonderful the Obama campaign is.”
Adds the dyspeptic leftist James Wolcott:
“Perhaps 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 don’t look to politics for
transcendence and self-certification.”
What are we to make of Obama himself in the midst of all this adulation?
…Does anyone know Barack Obama well enough to say?
We’d better find out before we make him president.
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