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Barak Obama Criticised Over 'Cult-Like' Rallies
The Telegraph (UK) ^ | 2-23-2008 | William Lowther

Posted on 02/23/2008 3:09:08 PM PST by blam

Barack Obama criticised over 'cult-like' rallies

By William Lowther in Washington
Last Updated: 4:24pm GMT 23/02/2008

For many it is simply a sign of his charisma. But for a growing number of Barack Obama sceptics, there is something disturbing about the adulation with which the senator and Democratic presidential frontrunner is greeted as he campaigns for the White House - unnervingly akin to the hysteria of a cult, or the fervour of a religious revival.

Thousands wait in line to see him wherever he stops. Members of the audience have taken to rushing the stage during campaign rallies, forcing the public-address announcer to plead with them to back off.

Fainting has become common at Obama rallies

And when Mr Obama eventually takes the platform to rhythmic chants of his mantra-like slogan, “Yes we can, yes we can!” fans swoon with euphoria.

Now critics are quietly voicing the fear that Mr Obama and his campaign have deliberately adopted the tone and tactics of an evangelical preacher, whipping up “Obamamania” at the expense of more serious discussion of policy and government.

There is “something just a wee bit creepy about the mass messianism” deployed by the black senator and his supporters, observed Joe Klein, the veteran political commentator the first to latch on to the political potency of Bill Clinton, then an obscure Arkansas governor, early in the 1992 White House campaign.

“The message is becoming dangerously self-referential,” he wrote in Time magazine. “The Obama campaign all too often is about how wonderful the Obama campaign is.”

At no fewer than six of Mr Obama’s recent rallies, young enthusiasts have been so overcome with excitement that they have fainted in front of the stage.

Indeed, fainting has become so common that a team of medical volunteers is ordered to be on hand to treat the victims, and Mr Obama has interrupted his own speeches to give his followers a blow by blow commentary of their recovery.

A senior Obama official, who would talk only on condition of anonymity, told The Sunday Telegraph that the campaign was worried that the cult charges would stick and harm their candidate.

He acknowledged that Mr Obama generated wild enthusiasm and devotion among young fans - most of them voting for the first time - but insisted this was due to the senator’s “charisma and the political inspiration that informs his speeches.”

Barack Obama's rallying pop song

A brilliant speaker, Mr Obama often uses the rhetorical trick of rapidly repeating words and slogans and using catchy phrases that tend to attract young Americans, while having very little substance.

Favourites include the call: “We are the hope of the future. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Dr Sean Wilentz, a Princeton historian and stern critic of the current administration of George W.Bush, said: “What’s troubling about the campaign is that it’s gone beyond hope and change to redemption.”

When Oprah Winfrey endorsed Mr Obama in Iowa last month she proclaimed: “I believe he is The One.”

At the campaign’s “Camp Obama” - a training programme run ahead of primaries in key states - volunteers are schooled to avoid talking to voters about policy, and instead tell of how they “came” to Obama, just as born-again Christians talk about “coming to Jesus.”

New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote: “Obama’s people are so taken with their messiah that soon they’ll be selling flowers at airports and arranging mass weddings.”

Obama fever has also broken out on the internet - and a rash of new sites has opened, poking gentle fun at the senator’s over-the-top campaign.

One shows him dressed as a pharaoh, another as a sumo wrestler and a third as a Navajo Indian, complete with blue-and-white feathered headdress.

A site called “Is Barack Obama the Messiah?” has a doctored photo of Obama standing on a flight of stairs, Christlike, above an adoring crowd while a ray of light beams from above.

Millions of people have watched a “Yes We Can” video on the internet’s YouTube website, in which celebrities including Scarlett Johansson and the Black Eyed Peas sing the words to an Obama speech in what Mr Brooks describes as “escalating states of righteousness and ecstacy.”

He added: “If that video doesn’t creep out normal working-class voters, then nothing will.”

In Mr Obama’s defence, Robert Caro, historian and biographer of President Lyndon Johnson, said: “Today, attacks on the cult of personality seem really to mean attacks on the ability to make speeches that inspire.

“But you only have to look at crucial moments in the history of our time to see how crucial it was to have a leader who could inspire, who could rally a nation to a standard, who could infuse a country with confidence, to remind people of the justice of a cause.”

Others suggest that the Mr Obama’s opponents are behind the charge that he is encouraging a cult of personality, being otherwise unable to explain how a first-term senator has managed to dazzle his way to the top.

Some blame Hillary Clinton’s campaign - desperate to slow Mr Obama’s momentum - for trying to skewer her opponent with the cult label.

And in a tart dig at Mr Obama, the near-certain Republican presidential candidate John McCain said last week: “I do not seek the presidency on the presumption that I am blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save my country in its hour of need.”

Mr Obama later told a crowd that he would “take it down a notch.”

But for now the fervour his campaign has generated has been working. He has won the last 10 state caucus and primary elections and as a result has a growing lead in the delegates who will choose the Democratic candidate at the party’s convention in August.

On the most recent count by the authoritative website, Real Clear Politics, Mr Obama has won 1,185 delegates to Mrs Clinton’s 1,024, with each needing 2,025 needed to win the nomination.

The next major test will come on March 4 with the Texas and Ohio primaries, in which a total of 334 delegates are at stake.

Mrs Clinton’s closest advisers have readily admitted that in order to remain a viable candidate she must win both of these elections.

A month ago she was leading in each state by about 20 points, but this weekend Mr Obama drew almost even with her in Texas and had more than halved her lead in in Ohio.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: antichrist; barackhusseinobama; barak; chebama; cult; cultofobama; cultofpersonality; husseinobama; lendmeyourears; nobama; obama; obamamessiah; obambi; rallies; sheeple; sixsixsix; themassesareasses
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1 posted on 02/23/2008 3:09:09 PM PST by blam
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To: blam

I’m so old... I remember times when “glorious leaders” were thing of the third world only.


2 posted on 02/23/2008 3:11:55 PM PST by alecqss
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To: blam

http://obamamessiah.blogspot.com/2008/01/consumated-by-handshake-obama-handshake.html


3 posted on 02/23/2008 3:13:10 PM PST by TornadoAlley3 (Everytime McCain reaches out to conservatives, conservatives get poked in the eye.)
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To: blam

4 posted on 02/23/2008 3:14:41 PM PST by Old Sarge (CTHULHU '08 - I won't settle for a lesser evil any longer!)
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To: blam
Bad stuff coming, and it's been done before:


5 posted on 02/23/2008 3:15:05 PM PST by Madame Dufarge
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To: blam
“But you only have to look at crucial moments in the history of our time to see how crucial it was to have a leader who could inspire, who could rally a nation to a standard, who could infuse a country with confidence, to remind people of the justice of a cause.”

Oh, really? Just what is that 'cause' of Obama's, and what kind of 'justice' are you talking about... Stumped you, hah...

6 posted on 02/23/2008 3:16:02 PM PST by Zeppo (Every mighty mild... seventies child... Beats me (Metric - Combat Baby))
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To: blam

Bringing in the phony fainting campaign workers was the last straw for this socialist’s scam.


7 posted on 02/23/2008 3:16:47 PM PST by ncalburt
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To: blam
A site called “Is Barack Obama the Messiah?” has a doctored photo of Obama standing on a flight of stairs, Christlike, above an adoring crowd while a ray of light beams from above.

First photo in this thread:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1975072/posts?q=1&;page=1

It looks like a pan montage but I wonder if it is doctored in a misleading way or not. Anyone know?

8 posted on 02/23/2008 3:16:55 PM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurture™)
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To: blam

reminds me of the 1938 Nuremberg Rally.


9 posted on 02/23/2008 3:17:44 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: blam

It’s not his fault Americans are numb and dumb as rocks! “I’ll just spew out this crap and they will suck it up” is working just fine for Barak. These liberal empty heads are looking for a savior.” Please, we need someone who will think so we don’t have to”


10 posted on 02/23/2008 3:18:24 PM PST by ronnie raygun (Id rather be hunting with dick than driving with ted)
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To: blam

It is all kinda reminding me of James Earl Jones character Thulsa Doom in Conan! LOL

“My child, you have come to me my son. For who now is your father if it is not me? I am the well spring, from which you flow. When I am gone, you will have never been. What would your world be, without me? My son.”


11 posted on 02/23/2008 3:19:03 PM PST by Names Ash Housewares
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To: blam

Obama acknowledged the criticism of the enthusiasm that’s risen in recent weeks. “And ya know what? Well they make fun of you all too by the way,” Obama said. “They make fun of you guys. They say, ‘All these people who are following Obama they’re delusional. They just like pretty words, they don’t really understand what’s going on.’ Lets get real.”

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/02/23/694036.aspx

Cult leaders love to tell their brainwashed followers that their families just don’t understand what is going on and that its “them against us”.


12 posted on 02/23/2008 3:19:06 PM PST by keepitreal
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To: blam

More Cool-Aid Please


13 posted on 02/23/2008 3:19:35 PM PST by CGASMIA68
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To: TornadoAlley3

Wow, that is beyond creepy. Maybe hillary isn’t the Anti-Christ.


14 posted on 02/23/2008 3:21:14 PM PST by Eagles6
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To: Madame Dufarge

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuremberg_rally


15 posted on 02/23/2008 3:21:42 PM PST by Peelod (I do renounce Hillary! and all her pomps and works.)
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To: steve86

I see that NYMAG-”New York” published the photo without any warning it was doctored. I don’t know what the situation is.


16 posted on 02/23/2008 3:21:44 PM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurture™)
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To: steve86

I think it ran in a magazine.
Someone said about the Dem runners “One is a Senator from New York that was born in Illinois. The other is a Senator from Illinois that was presumably born in a manger.”


17 posted on 02/23/2008 3:23:16 PM PST by geopyg (Don't wish for peace, pray for Victory.)
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To: Madame Dufarge

Yep. And the problem is, the people this man appeals to have zero knowledge of the history they are doomed to repeat, mostly thanks to our public school system that is more interested in social engineering than education. They have engineered but good to produce a mindless citizenry that will be in lockstep with their evil disguised as good.


18 posted on 02/23/2008 3:24:09 PM PST by informavoracious ("Help me, Obama-Wan Kenyabi, you're my only hope!" do I need to point out this tagline is sarcasm?)
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To: blam
While the overzealousness of a lot of Obama supporters at rally's is true this writer goes too far himself in describing the phenomenom to the point of clearly trying to make some points for the Clintons. While the Clinton line of "Less Hat, More Cattle" Clinton is just as guilty of speeches heavy on the cattle and light on the hat. "I've been fighting 35 years" "Ready on day one" etc are weak platitudes that, coupled with her history, personality, and voice just simply don't inspire. Her 60-year more haggard look doesn't help either.

So as fervent as some Obama supporters are, for a variety of reasons, there is nothing exactly irrational going on, just the fervor that follows a cult of personality. The writer digs too hard to paint a Jim Jones/Scientologist cult - Obama's just a rock and media star.

19 posted on 02/23/2008 3:24:34 PM PST by torchthemummy ("The law of unintended consequences has not been repealed." - Fransam)
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To: blam

20 posted on 02/23/2008 3:25:59 PM PST by kiriath_jearim
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