Obama is Burt Lancaster in a remake of “The Rainmaker” or “Elmer Gantry”

Obama, the platitude salesman

By Charles Krauthammer, Jewish World Review

There’s no better path to success than getting people to buy a free commodity. Like the genius who figured out how to get people to pay for water: bottle it (Aquafina was revealed to be nothing more than reprocessed tap water) and charge more than they pay for gasoline. Or consider how Google found a way to sell dictionary nouns – boat, shoe, clock – by charging advertisers zillions to be listed whenever the word is searched.

“Hope” Is Not a Political Program
by: Michael Medved

Senator Barack Obama inspires enthusiasm that borders on ecstasy for his growing legion of followers. Instead of focusing on specific policies, his rapturous supporters embrace the sacred word “hope.” But amidst all the claims that Obama’s themes are fresh and unprecedented, it’s worth remembering that other politicians sought power by marketing hope. When John Kennedy ran for President—and very narrowly beat Nixon—he used “High Hopes” as his campaign song, with the refrain, “he has high/apple-pie/in the sky/.hopes!” Bill Clinton billed himself as “The Man from Hope” – making constant reference to his Arkansas home town – and wrote a book called “From Hope to History.” Even Jesse Jackson drove his enthusiastic campaigns with the slogan, “Keep Hope Alive!” Barack Obama may offer himself as “the Hope Pope” – in the phrase of David Brooks – but fuzzy invocations of change and hope can’t hide the truth about proposals that mean more taxes, bigger government and less freedom.

And now, in 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.”

“We are the hope of the future,” sayeth Obama. We can “remake this world as it should be.” Believe in me and I shall redeem not just you but your country – nay, we can become “a hymn that will heal this nation, repair this world, and make this time different than all the rest.”

And believe they do. After eight straight victories – and two more (Hawaii and Wisconsin) almost certain to follow – Obama is near to rendering moot all the post-Super Tuesday fretting about a deadlocked convention with unelected superdelegates deciding the nominee. Unless Hillary Clinton can somehow do in Ohio and Texas on March 4 what Rudy Giuliani proved is almost impossible to do – maintain a big-state firewall after an unrelenting string of smaller defeats – the superdelegates will flock to Obama. Hope will have carried the day.

Interestingly, Obama has been able to win these electoral victories and dazzle crowds in one new jurisdiction after another, even as his mesmeric power has begun to arouse skepticism and misgivings among the mainstream media.

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.”

You might dismiss as hyperbole the complaint by the New York Times’s Paul Krugman that “the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality.” Until you hear Chris Matthews, who no longer has the excuse of youth, react to Obama’s Potomac primary victory speech with “My, I felt this thrill going up my leg.” When his MSNBC co-hosts tried to bail him out, he refused to recant. Not surprising for an acolyte who said that Obama “comes along, and he seems to have the answers. This is the New Testament.”

I’ve seen only one similar national swoon. As a teenager growing up in Canada, I witnessed a charismatic law professor go from obscurity to justice minister to prime minister, carried on a wave of what was called Trudeaumania.

But even there the object of his countrymen’s unrestrained affections was no blank slate. Pierre Trudeau was already a serious intellectual who had written and thought and lectured long about the nature and future of his country.

Obama has an astonishingly empty paper trail. He’s going around issuing promissory notes on the future that he can’t possibly redeem. Promises to heal the world with negotiations with the likes of Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Promises to transcend the conundrums of entitlement reform that require real and painful trade-offs and that have eluded solution for a generation. Promises to fund his other promises by a rapid withdrawal from an unpopular war – with the hope, I suppose, that the (presumed) resulting increase in American prestige would compensate for the chaos to follow.

Democrats are worried that the Obama spell will break between the time of his nomination and the time of the election, and deny them the White House. My guess is that he can maintain the spell just past Inauguration Day. After which will come the awakening. It will be rude.

February 21, 2008 | 9 Comments »

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  1. Laura, I emailed it to Ted since I didn’t have your email and because it’d be irresponsible to publish such an accusation because it is so serious of a candidacy killer. (I did not see the Chris Matthews incident you mentioned.)

  2. I have been a McCain proponent for years. What brought me to him originally is that John McCain is the quintessential example of non partisan government. I see that blind partisan behavior is the Achilles heal of democratic systems. It is now common for the party, not in power to trade the benefit of their country for the power over that country. I see this of both parties in the US, Israel, France etc.
    McCain historically distanced himself from the Republican Party by following his conscience. The Republican Conservatives hate McCain almost as much as the Democrat Left hates Joe Lieberman for the same reason. They do not follow party law on command.
    Now, John McCain will run for President of The US as a Republican in an election that will be a battle for the center. I am encountering a political attitude where people refuse to even listen to anything about the man except that he is not a Democrat. And they hate him. They hate this man who introduced the first green bill in Washington, they hate the man who authored with Ted Kennedy a comprehensive and in my opinion, acceptable guest worker program, they hate the man that led the fight and is responsible for campaign finance reform, they hate the man who put the gang of 14 together that placed seven Democrat Senators and Seven Republican Senators together to break deadlock in Washington. They hate a man that voted against the Tax Cuts. They hate the man that fought for anti torture policies in military prisons.
    They hate John McCain and say they want change. Here we are in an election where quite possibly John McCain’s opponent will be a man who was born in the age of Jim crow Law that went to Ivy League schools and is in a position to be President of the US. A man who has yet to serve one complete term in the US Senate with absolutely no history of legislative accomplishment at the national level. A man who in his partial Senate term has done little but run for President. A man who during his Senate Career has abstained from more votes than his total of yes and no votes. With little more than Baptist Pulpit rhetoric he is followed blindly. They want change and they support a person who rose from Jim Crow to Presidential favorite for one reason. He is Black. What is the change they want?

  3. correction: the name of the horse was EL BURAK, close but no golden ring .actually the name Barak in Arabic is the same as the Hebrew Barauch which means in both Hebrew and Arabic blessing, Ha .. what a blessing?

  4. Obama is 43.75% Arab although he touts himself as a African-American and all three of his names are Arab. Yeshua said, Joh 5:43 I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. That is thought to be about the anti-Christ or anti-Messiah. An Arab os an anti-Christ/Messiah even if he goes to a church.

    Atlas Shrugs: Obama: Arab American?This is information originated by a Kenneth Lamb.***

    I just stumbled upon it tonight. I’m not sure if hyperlinks are allowed here, so if you want the source, just copy and paste one of these sentences into google and you’ll find it.

    Excerpt:

    “Mr. Obama is 50% Caucasian, that from his mother. What those who want Mr. Obama to write history by becoming “America’s first African-American president” ignore is that his father was ethnically Arabic, with only 1 relative – a maternal grandparent, ethnically African Negro.

    That means that Mr. Obama is 50% Caucasian from his mother’s side, and 43.75% Arabic, and 6.25% African Negro from his father’s side.

    The question no one wants to answer – particularly Mr. Obama and his supporters, is, “Why do you think he has an Arabic name? Why does his father have an Arabic name? Why does every ancestor on his father’s side have an Arabic name?”

    The answer is obvious: They have Arabic names because his father’s side of the family tree is Arabic.

    Need proof? Research the Kenyan records for yourself. You will find that his father was officially classified as “Arab African” by the Kenyan government.”

    ***Barack Obama: Washington Post, Chicago Tribune investigations confirm autobiography lies; now asking: Is “African-American” a lie too? – by Kenneth Lamb

    Remember Kahane. Remember 911.

  5. Depends on how the rumor-that-shall-not-be-named fact-checks out…it’s a nomination killer, for sure.

    You have me intrigued, what is this rumor?

    BTW, did chris matthews wet his pants on the air when speaking about obama?

  6. My guess is that he can maintain the spell just past Inauguration Day. After which will come the awakening.

    Depends on how the rumor-that-shall-not-be-named fact-checks out…it’s a nomination killer, for sure.