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Obama and the cult of personality

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by pats1, Jan 20, 2009.

  1. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I would like to start off by saying that I have nothing against Barack Obama as a man, nor do I reject the merits of him as a politician. He has fulfilled the true American dream, working his way up the ladder from the son of a single mother in Hawaii to a student at Columbia and Harvard to the President of the United States. He is an intelligent, articulate, tolerant, and open-minded man, with excellent leadership qualities. He is a husband and a father. If he had not been elected in this most recent election, I have no doubt it would not have taken much longer – as he became a more experienced politician – to indeed have been elected. I may disagree with him on many of his policies, but I respect him as a man. However, we vote for politicians, not just men.

    It is in many of President Obama’s supporters where my discontent lies. From the time he set foot on the stage at the 2004 Democratic National Convention as a State Senator from Illinois, there has been a fascination with the man unseen in decades, only intensifying as the 2008 election drew closer. Many who voted this past November for President Obama did so because they felt he would be a more effective leader than Senator McCain and would offer a better course of action at this time in our country’s history; these voters I respect.

    There was another group who voted (or, in some cases, were too young to vote but were all too engaged in the mania surrounding the man) in favor of President Obama, though. This group fed the “change” machine, throwing their support behind the man who was not a Republican – apparently being one of those, they figured, meant you had to be an incarnation of the devil (Former President Bush), or an evangelical hick (Governor Palin).

    The more extreme sect of this group, numerous indeed, were those voters who valued the man of Barack Obama over the politician of the then- Senator Obama. To them, it was not the office of the Presidency that was important, but rather the charisma of the man who would hold it. The latter is a fine reason to support a strong religious or civil rights leader (Martin Luther King), but not a valid justification for electing a man to be President. And all too often, I found President Obama masquerading as the Moses who would lead the poor out of poverty, the socially oppressed to the head of society. All to the joy and thrill of his ever-enthusiastic supporters.

    Whether this was the type of campaign President Obama wanted to run or not is of no consequence, as the fact of the matter is, he rode the wave all the way to the shore. He made little noticeable effort to push back the racial overtones surrounding his campaign, and by not doing so, he secured the vast majority of the black vote in the election. Was the slogan “Yes We Can” a call for victory in an election campaign, or a racially-motivated call fit for a civil rights protest, not a run for office? This I never fully understood throughout the months and months President Obama crisscrossed the country.

    What’s a revolutionary movement for change without, well, something to change? What was really in need to dire change, and not just a policy adjustment? This too I never wrapped my mind around. President Obama constantly catered to what this voting group wanted: change – but was it really a change in “politics as usual,” as President Obama usually put it, or a change in the run of 43 stuffy white men as Presidents?

    In order to the former fly, Obama had to batter the merits of his predecessor at every turn in his campaign. The more things went wrong in America, the more it was blamed on Former President Bush. The more things were blamed on Former President Bush, the more disgusted the public would become with contemporary American politics. The more disgusted the public became, the more President Obama’s message of change resonated, meaning President Obama could greater emphasize the failures of the Bush administration – for surely it was an utter failure that ruined our country and caused the rest of the world to hate us with every fiber of their being.

    The voters took a heaping spoonful of this at every turn, but it was truly his promise of empowerment that won popular support. Much to President Obama’s benefit, a cult of personality formed around the man (not the politician). Come time for his election and then his inauguration, his supporters were every bit sucked in, chanting his name, wearing pins that featured only his portrait, and even tattooing the man’s face on arms. Are these people doing this because they think he would make a good politician to carry out the political duties of the President, or because he is a figure that has overstated the severity of the present American condition and promised dramatic social and (political) upheaval as a cure?

    Is it President Obama’s fault, though? Or have so many embraced his message in a sense that it was not meant to be taken, leading to expectations which many have called astronomically high? The reality is, President Obama is in no way more supremely qualified for his job than any other of his past competitors, from Senator Clinton and Senator McCain, but for whatever reason, he is the lone competitor who got the celebrity treatment known to few of our past Presidents.

    I do not know whether or not President Obama will turn out to have succeeded or to have failed (obviously I want to see President Obama generally succeed, which would mean the implementation of some non-Democratic policies which I support), but I do know that there is a giant contingent out there which is already hell-bent that he will be one of the greatest and most influential figures in history. I can only wonder how long it will take for those dancers and revelers and chanters to realize that they did not vote for a politician, but they voted for a man. Politics, economics, and public policy, whether President Obama intended for it or not, have taken a backseat to a cult of personality.
     
  2. Leave No Doubt

    Leave No Doubt PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It's a weird phenomenon, almost unprecedented. I can't even imagine having such a burden though-being the Messiah can't be easy:D

    "We live in interesting times". We'll be telling the stories of this adventure to our children and grandchildren.
     
  3. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    For many, Obama represents an ideal, a personification of the American dream. There is a lot of idealism surrounding Obama, and many of people who love him are young and new to politics and still not jaded. In addition, the response now is a natural response to the vast cynicism of government that Americans have endured since the Carter presidency. In that light, the cult you describe is really just a redefinition of patriotism that comes every now and then. It came with Reagan, with JFK, and with Roosevelt, for instance. The love of Obama is a love of America. The fact is, many of us, for the first time in our adult lives, are truly proud of this country. By electing Obama, we believe that America has once again become a beacon of hope for the world. Whether or not Obama can live up to the expectations remains to be seen, but already the election of a black man has sent a powerful message around the world.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2009
  4. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Hall of Fame Poster

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    #18 Jersey

    People are powerless over him....he has the "666" birthmark on his scalp!

    We're doomed....:rolleyes:

    Let me also add that I've seen many "qulified" men voted in as president and watched many of them flounder and with little lasting change as a result. I WANT change this time! Real, honest to God big changes and I think he'll accomplish that.

    Maybe it was time that someone outside the "system" got voted in. Maybe it's high time a more common and less accomplished person was our president...in my opinion, I think he's the right man regardless of anyone's commentary of observation of him. After all, qualifications mean squat if everything remains status-quo at the end of 4 or 8 years in office, doesn't it?
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2009
  5. MrBigglesWorth

    MrBigglesWorth Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I'd say they did vote for a politician on one hand. I was extremely disappointed when he backed the bailout. Nearly every citizen knew it would be a mistake. The major problem we face is perspective. Today's politicians look at things in terms of the immediate future and what they can do to ensure that they will get reelected. They don't realize that leadership is and should be meant to look at the longevity of the country and it's continued existence.

    I get your jive about the pop culture aspect. I do think if he even has a medioce presidency he will be known as the first black president.

    we can also say for sure if the internet didn't exist he wouldn't be president now. he would have never made it to the primaries.

    we will find out by summer if he is a changer or just another politician. to change things he's gonna have to tick some people off and we will be able to assess how he does it. will he lead or will he buckle with concessions to get this done. if he blazes the trail without regard of attaining a 2nd term then i have respect for him, but if he continues to cater to corporations then it will be more of the same.
     
  6. MrBigglesWorth

    MrBigglesWorth Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    every era has "interesting times"

    RFK used that in his speech in south africa.

    most generations face some kind of obstacle in the course of their life.
     
  7. MrBigglesWorth

    MrBigglesWorth Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    change will come when people demand it. how many people have been held accountable for the war in iraq and the economy?

    the people need to wake up and demand action
     
  8. MrBigglesWorth

    MrBigglesWorth Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I think history will remember Bush as much as Obama for Bush basically ensured Obama's presidency by being so awful.
     
  9. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Around a world that mostly has a misconception (or outdated conception) on the cultural acceptance of minorities in America.

    And is the fact that he is the first black president an achievement in the political spectrum of the social spectrum? I think we get those two mixed up too often; there is perhaps too much attention paid (at least in a political sense, as it relates to one's political merits) to being the first woman in an office, the first black, etc., etc.
     
  10. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Hall of Fame Poster

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    #18 Jersey

    Now is not the time for vengence, but you've been singing that tune for a few weeks now. Wasting time and effort "attempting" to prosecute & punish people for the economy and the Iraq conflict are ridiculously foolish.

    Biggles...how about some POSITIVE words from you for once? Everything you write is dark and angry...we have little time to waste and it's time to move on and forward...RIGHT NOW.

    You & I agree on more than we disagree, but I don't want to debate every little difference we have. The cup is half full and life is still better than the alternative, isn't it?
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2009
  11. Leave No Doubt

    Leave No Doubt PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    They're milestones, and they represent past hard-fought battles to get where they got. I'm not sure how "political" that is and I'm really not sure those kinds of milestones dictate who we elect.

    Maybe I'm naive but I'll give the American people credit enough that right about now they could care less about "first" anything. They care about getting a job, paying their bills, avoiding foreclosure, etc. America has been Godsmacked:(
     
  12. Michael

    Michael Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #12 Jersey

    It's just the rapture of the church of latter day Democrats. The orthodox liberals. It's a religious thing for them. A blind faith that can't be understand by those of us who think and look at reality and facts.
     
  13. TheGodInAGreyHoodie

    TheGodInAGreyHoodie Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    The only other president in my life time that had this kind of following was Ronald Reagan. With RR was not quite as big, but it was close.
     
  14. Lifer

    Lifer Banned

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    I loved it when he wrote "President Obama". tee-hee.
     
  15. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    yeah, has a ring to it, doesn't it?

    Relax, boys and girls. America's just coming home.

    PFnV
     
  16. apple strudel

    apple strudel Banned

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    Without Bush (and the effects of 30+ years of right-wing policies) there is not half the mania over Obama. Most of this is relief that the Republicans are out of power - the nation is exhaling and wants to feel good again instead of being told to be afraid of everything.
     
  17. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey

    Excellent and thoughtful thread, Pats1 (as opposed to the useless mud pie post of Michael above).

    I can only speak for myself as to why I voted for Obama, both in the primaries and in the general election:

    He was consistently the ONLY ADULT IN THE ROOM. Think of it. Every time Hilary Clinton, John Edwards, John McCain or someone else was throwing long-bomb schtick and superficial innuendo out there, Obama kept his poise and stayed on the issues.

    Those other campaigns had internal battle royales going all the time (particularly the Clinton and McCain/Palin ones).

    It all comes down to the fact that the US, now more than ever, needs a mature and steady hand at the helm - - one that can run an efficient operation and not be sidetracked by "Joe the Plumber" or "Union Pandering".

    I agree, many voted for him based on the charisma thing. Ironically, the more one actually gets to listen to him and follow him a bit, it becomes pretty obvious that he is actually boring, careful and pedantic. I find his speeches to be very stilted - - it's his voice that most people get lost in a swoon about. Perhaps it's my past as a linguist for the Defense Department, but I find the actual words he speaks rather careful and unprovoking.

    Good examples of this being someone who, at times, tends to be too careful and safe, would be his awfully tepid handling of the Blagojevich scandal - - he was too legal and proper - - should have condemned the Ill. Gov. right there and then. Another would be his debate performances, where he simply played "rope a dope" defense the whole time and focused on merely not losing his lead. He allowed the ridiculous Joe the Plumber thing to mushroom out in that second debate.

    Further look at his reactions to crisis situations so far. McCain positively wet the bed during the "TARP/Gotta cancel the debate and fly to DC to save the world" fiasco. That was one of the two major factors for the November election of Obama that historians will poiint to decades on. The other, quite frankly, was the Palin choice. That was inexcusable for a candidate who based his reputation on always putting his patriotism first.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2009
  18. Lifer

    Lifer Banned

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    call him, President Obama, please.
     
  19. apple strudel

    apple strudel Banned

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    I'm sorry, but why is this important? Not to be uselessly argumentative but you certainly knew who I was talking about so it's like like it was confusing.
     
  20. Lifer

    Lifer Banned

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    humor much?
     

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