The backlash against "Obama-mania" has really begun in earnest in the last week or so. Last night on CNN's The Situation Room, Carol Costello treated viewers to a Fox News-like presentation of more recent examples.
COSTELLO: Many political observers say they've never seen anything like it. Thousands wait in line to see him, and it seems with every speech, they always latch onto Obama's three favorite words.
OBAMA: Yes, we can.
COSTELLO: Obama supporters wildly respond, chanting enthusiastically along with their candidate. But it's a scene some increasingly find not inspirational but "creepy."
L.A. Times columnist Joel Stein is cited, calling it "Obamaphilia. Then two of the very serious people sect have their opinions presented, Conservative columnist David Brooks in the NY Times, through his alter-ego Dr. Retail:
Meanwhile, Obama’s people are so taken with their messiah that soon they’ll be selling flowers at airports and arranging mass weddings. There’s a “Yes We Can” video floating around YouTube in which a bunch of celebrities like Scarlett Johansson and the guy from the Black Eyed Peas are singing the words to an Obama speech in escalating states of righteousness and ecstasy. If that video doesn’t creep out normal working-class voters, then nothing will.
Or Joe Klein in Time magazine, in a piece called Inspiration vs Substance. None too subtle is Joe. Klein also introduced the descriptor "creepy" to Obama-mania.
"There was something just a wee bit creepy about the mass messianism ... [T]he message is becoming dangerously self-referential. The Obama campaign all too often is about how wonderful the Obama campaign is.
And although not mentioned in the CNN piece, the truly creepy conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer gets into the act yesterday with this Washington Post column The Audacity of Selling Hope.
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 cultish 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."
Krauthammer compares it to what he experienced as a young man growing up in Montreal, in what became known as Trudeaumania. The more obvious example to many Americans who remember the spring of 1968 is with Robert Kennedy. It would seem the traditional media's reaction to inspirational political figures has not improved in the intervening 40 years. If anything it's only gotten worse.
Or as Will Bunch succinctly put it:
But the real takeaway here is that passion + politics = cult.
God -- the real one -- save our political discourse.