Monday, February 11, 2008

Obama as Messiah, the Trance-Inducer Part V

Over at Besty's blog she highlights Joe Klein (Primary Colors) observations in Time:
  • And yet there was something just a wee bit creepy about the mass messianism--"We are the ones we've been waiting for"--of the Super Tuesday speech and the recent turn of the Obama campaign. "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." 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.

Obama as Messiah, the Trance-Inducer Part IV

Loves me like Barack

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Obama as Messiah, the Trance-Inducer Part III

From The Wall Street Journal Web Site

Best of the Web Today - February 7, 2008

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 Obama:

  • Inspired by the speech Barack Obama delivered in Nashua the night of the state primary, [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 split-screen video features clips of the candidate speaking alongside shots of R&B singer John Legend, actress Scarlett Johansson, rapper Common, jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, actor-singer Nick Cannon, rocker Ed Kowalczyk, and others echoing Obama's spoken words in song. set the song's tempo to synch up with the New Hampshire audience, which supplies the song's rhythm with chants of "We want change, we want change!" . . .
    "I do think it allows people an accessible way into politics," Jesse Dylan said. "Rallies can be dry, but Will has taken the words and dramatized them with these wonderful artists and it gives people an easy way to become passionate."

The video, which you can watch here, 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."
    But he's not Jesus! He's not going to magically enable us to transcend the bitter partisanship that is tearing this country apart.

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, Times 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? A cynic would say that he is a manipulator if not a demagogue, exploiting the gullible to further his own ambitions. A more charitable view is that his intentions are all to the good, that he has simply figured out how to tap into a genuine desire for inspiration in politics, and that if elected he will use his political powers to do good for the country.
Each view seems plausible, but which is correct? Does anyone know Barack Obama well enough to say? And if not, isn't he the candidate who has a problem with authenticity?

Obama as Messiah, the Trance-Inducer Part II

From the American Thinker Obama as Liberal Messiah
By J.R. Dunn

When liberals refer to "leaders", they're not talking about the same thing as everybody else....

...To a convinced liberal, a leader is in no way limited to anything as mundane as running a country. A leader is a transcendent being, someone more than human, someone with a touch of the divine.....

.....Barack Obama is our new liberal messiah, offering redemption for our country's original sin......

...Republicans simply don't need that kind of emotional crutch....

Obama as Messiah, the Trance-Inducer Part I

Is Barack Obama the Messiah?
"... a light will shine through that window, a beam of light will come down upon you, you will experience an epiphany ... and you will suddenly realize that you must go to the polls and vote for Obama" - Barack Obama in South Carolina. January 2008....

Timothy Noah will periodically feature tidbits from the press:

Is Barack Obama—junior U.S. senator from Illinois, best-selling author, Harvard Law Review editor, Men's Vogue cover model, and "exploratory" presidential candidate—the second coming of our Savior and our Redeemer, Prince of Peace and King of Kings, Jesus Christ? His press coverage suggests we can't dismiss this possibility out of hand. I therefore inaugurate the Obama Messiah Watch, which will periodically highlight gratuitously adoring biographical details that appear in newspaper, television, and magazine profiles of this otherworldly presence in our midst............
....Readers are invited to submit similar details—Obama walking on water, Obama sating the hunger of 5,000 with five loaves and two fishes—from other Obama profiles. And also, of course, to repent, just in case the hour approacheth nigh.....

The Obama Trance

From World Magazine

“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” With heads cocked, many onlookers seemed to glaze over with trance-like admiration for the man they believe will reinvent American politics.

Montgomery Advertiser

......Obama's charismatic approach to politics had the Sunday afternoon crowd in a virtual trance with constant give and take between him and his audience.........

Global Politician

....Everyone is telling me he’ll tickle my fancy. I’m supposed to be endeared. Apparently he does all sorts of amazing trance-like things to you: he’ll “look into your eyes,” “inspire” your political senses, and when he speaks to his audiences, he bestows upon you feelings you “haven’t felt in ages.......

...........So there’s some obvious style… and style… and then more style. It’s with this pseudo-performance that Sen. Obama speaks of change (“change” is the substance, by the way). His victories have been impressive and his base in undeniably excited. When pressed, however, his followers cannot specifically name why they have granted him their proud support, other than vague allusions to “change” (a theme Ward Cleaver, ahem, Mitt Romney has also tried to run with).Change is fine, I suppose, but its proponents in the Obama campaign do not seem to recognize its politically neutral nature. High taxes, socialized medicine, and submission abroad would all constitute “change,” would they not? Some of the boldest changes to ever transpire were regressive and reactionary. None of that is good. (Food for thought: we’re the most affluent and leisured democracy in human history. We must be doing something right. Maybe we shouldn’t change all that much?)....... on the Trance

...This has nothing to do with Barack Obama's race, creed, or ideology. I do not doubt for a moment that Mr. Obama is a sincere Christian and patriotic American, and that he truly believes himself the New Man for the New Age.
I fear him rather on two accounts. The first is that he has no policies. He offers vague "feel good" on every domestic issue, and magic in foreign policy. Simply by his being Obama, and not Bush, the conflicts will go away. He will withdraw from Iraq. He will ignore Iran. And he will invade Pakistan (to get at Osama). People who say things like this, whether or not in a dream-like trance, are not eligible to be commander-in-chief. Or rather, should not be.
For the second problem with Mr. Obama is that he is eminently electable. Republicans do not seem to realize just how electable. For while Barack Hussein Obama does not entirely resemble the late Pierre Elliott Trudeau (who had his policy wonk side, and more native malice), he has that mystical androgynous quality that comes across hypnotically on TV.
It was the women who put Trudeau in power, and kept him there: the women's vote in English Canada, plus the Liberal fiefdom in Quebec. It is the ditzier range of women in the borderline Red States that could elect President Obama: lonely women, and to some extent, their weak, "sensitive" men.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Housing Overvaluation in the UK

The present economic slowdown in the US is attributed to the subprime market and overvaluations of properties. The mortgage problem in the UK from London's Daily Mail:

"Thousands of families are at risk of plunging into negative equity if house prices fall by even a small amount, experts warned yesterday"....[more]