See if you encounter a creepier political paragraph this election season:
For a long time now, I have listened to [people who don’t support Barack Obama] with forbearance and with a sense of duty — not to some principle of open debate or of the inherent merit in the free exchange of even meritless ideas, but rather out of obligation to the candidate whose cause I champion.
Thus does the novelist Michael Chabon admit in the Washington Post that the only reason he listens to opposing views is out of drooling deference to the man who would be president of the United States.
Read the entire op-ed for yourself and tell me if there are any coherent reasons for why Obama is the best candidate, much less evidence that Chabon is the go-to guy on ideas bursting with merit. All I come away with is a parade of nostrums and what Irving Howe once called a “dithyrambling” style founded on sheer emotion. (Apparently, Ayelet Waldman, Chabon’s wife, is just as over the moon about Barack, which has this useless skeptic wondering if she’d throw Michael and the kids under the bus to save the Moshiach from the South Side.)
What is it about Obama that has otherwise sensible people ascribing superhuman characteristics to him, as though he were Savonarola awaiting the flame?
Liberals exhausted and demoralized by eight years of George Bush seem to be saying that the tonic they crave most is not really “hope” or “change” but a captive mind. (The disturbingly unedited “Yes We Can” video only reminds me of this ditty.)
My friend and PJM correspondent Daniel Koffler has given a good explanation for why Obama may be sounder on economics than his mushy rhetoric lets on, but Daniel is in the minority.
It seems that everywhere one turns, “Obamamania” is edging dangerously close to a personality cult that guarantees to disappoint (as all personality cults do). Since when has politics been this pristine and pretty?
The candidate himself seems to only encourage this noxious trait among his supporters.
Joe Klein quotes this gobbet from Obama’s Super Tuesday speech: “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.”
To which Klein adds: “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.”
James Wolcott voted for Hillary on Tuesday, part of the reason being that he’s an atheist and, well, he “found [himself] 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.”
Jeralyn at TalkLeft is disenchanted with Obamamania: “Barack Obama is a first term Senator running for President. As with all candidates, a speechwriter writes his major addresses. His words aren’t gospel and even if they were, gospel is what I expect from Republicans, like Huckabee.”
“How can we truly bring about real political change if the movement the Obama people are building is devoid of ideological content, content merely to mouth gauzy generalities about ‘coming together’ and ‘yes we can’?” asks Obama supporter Kathleen Geier.
Ron Chusid dissents and sounds genuinely de-programmed: “To most of us Obama is not the Messiah. He is just one of several potential candidates to survive the process to oppose a candidate we do not find acceptable. Others find both candidates to be acceptable, but for a variety of reasons prefer Obama.”
Michael Weiss is the New York Editor of Pajamas Media. His blog is Snarksmith.