Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Barack Obama: the new Great Redeemer (RFK redux)[Must Read]
The London Times ^ | May 16, 2008 | Gerard Baker

Posted on 05/15/2008 2:33:41 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

Every decade or so the people who control the way we see the world anoint some American politician the Redeemer of a Troubled Planet.

In the late 1960s the media placed the halo on Robert Kennedy, the tragic dynast whose antiwar and civil rights credentials made him in life - as he remains to this day in death - a kind of devotional figure for most political journalists.

Kennedy at least had charisma and intelligence. But to prove that these were by no means necessary preconditions for the honour, it was conferred a few years later on Jimmy Carter, the plodding nonentity elevated by a willingly compliant press into Everyman, brandishing his steely sword of Truth against the Manichean mendacity of Richard Nixon's Republican legacy.

Partly because of the Carter embarrassment, the 1980s were barren years for the idolators. Try as they might, they couldn't work themselves into much ecstasy over Walter Mondale in 1984 or Michael Dukakis in 1988, though they had little flings with bit-part players Gary Hart and (I kid you not) Bruce Babbitt, a genial former Governor of Arizona.

But by the 1990s a new Democrat, or rather a New Democrat, was come among us, a man the media told us would lift our eyes from our selfish greed and rid the world of the ineffable misery left by 12 years of reactionary rule. It's hard to imagine now, after the battering he's taken from his old friends in the press these past few months, but Bill Clinton was once their idol. His cleverly cynical balancing act - promising a return to high-minded tolerance while executing mentally ill prisoners in Arkansas, for example - was lauded as a brilliant synthesising of traditional liberal ideology with the political realities of the modern age.

The alert among you will have noticed by now that what all these spiritually uplifting leaders have in common. They are all Democrats. Never in any of the chapters of this hagiography does a Republican, a conservative, appear in a remotely similar light. These alien creatures by contrast have always been portrayed as cartoonish representatives of the Dark Side of humanity, or, if they were really lucky, simply idiots, failed B-movie actors and irredeemably ignorant hicks with embarrassingly neanderthal views on women, religion and communism.

It's been a while coming - neither Al Gore in 2000 (before the luminescence created by his recent joint Nobel/Oscar triumphs) nor John Kerry in 2004 quite fit the bill. But it's fairly clear now that, with the near-certain nomination by the Democrats of Barack Obama everything is in place for the media to indulge in one of the greatest, orgiastic media fiestas of hero-worship since Elvis Presley.

You will not see a finer example of the genre than the cover story of this week's Newsweek, which was entitled “The O Team”. This rhapsodic inside account of Senator Obama's campaign reads a little like a cross between Father Alban Butler's Life of St Francis and the sort of authorised biography of Kim Jong Il you can pick up in any good bookshop in Pyongyang.

Mr Obama is portrayed throughout as an immanently benevolent figure. Not human really, more a comforting presence, a light source. He is always eager to listen to all sides of an argument, always instilling confidence in the weak-willed, resolutely sticking to his high principles and tirelessly spurning the low road of electoral politics. I stopped reading after a while but I'm sure by the end he was healing the sick, comforting the dying, restoring sight to the blind and setting prisoners free.

The panegyric included the now conventional wisdom in the media that Republicans have only ever won elections in the past 40 years through lies and fearmongering - smearing their opponents and spreading false fears that a vote for a Democrat would open the country to foreign invasion.

To be fair, the Newsweek credo was only the latest and perhaps most shameless phase of the pro-Obama liturgy in the media. Some cable TV channels prostrate themselves nightly before him. Most newspapers worship at the altar. They have already set up a neat narrative for the election between Senator Obama and John McCain in November - the Second Coming versus Old Grouchy, The Little Flower of Illinois up against the Scaremongering Axeman from Arizona.

There's a special irony here. Senator McCain is the Republican who has received probably the single most favourable treatment from the media in the past 40 years. He has been a favourite because he conformed to the first law of contemporary political journalism: the only good conservative is a bad conservative. His willingness to defy his party on everything from taxes to global warming, to take on George Bush, has earned him at least an honourable mention in the martyrology of American politics of the past 40 years.

But now that he's up against Oh! Bama! he will have to be recast in the more familiar Republican mould of villain and scaremonger-in-chief.

This media narrative is not only an outgrowth of the journalists' natural enthusiasm for a Democrat such as Mr Obama. It is also a clever ploy to pre-emptively de-legitimise any Republican critique of the Democratic nominee. It is designed to prevent Mr McCain from asking reasonable questions about Mr Obama's strikingly vacuous political background, or raising doubts about his credentials for the presidency.

The idolatry of Mr Obama is a shame, really. The Illinois senator is indeed, an unusually talented, inspiring and charismatic figure. His very ethnicity offers an exciting departure. But he is not a saint. He is a smart and eloquent man with a personal history that is startlingly shallow set against the scale of the office he seeks to hold. It is not only legitimate, but necessary, to scrutinise his past and infer what it might tell us about his beliefs, in the absence of the normal record of achievement expected in a presidential nominee.

If the past 40 years have taught us anything they have surely taught that premature canonisation is an almost certain guarantee of subsequent deep disappointment.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2008; democrats; election; elections; gop; mccain; media; obama; obamamessiah; rfk; rfkjr
Excellent!
1 posted on 05/15/2008 2:33:42 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

2 posted on 05/15/2008 2:38:32 PM PDT by The_Republican (Ovaries of the World Unite! Rush, Laura, Ann, Greta - Time for the Ovulation!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

Great read..... there is only room for one redemmer in the world and it is not Obama-rama...


3 posted on 05/15/2008 2:38:46 PM PDT by Kimmers
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet
...a personal history that is startlingly shallow set against the scale of the office he seeks to hold

Yup.

4 posted on 05/15/2008 2:42:25 PM PDT by GnL
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

Someone in the London media gets it.


5 posted on 05/15/2008 2:44:46 PM PDT by Always Right (Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

6 posted on 05/15/2008 2:44:57 PM PDT by OB1kNOb ("We like Mr. Obama and we hope he will win the election." - Ahmed Yousef, Hamas PM advisor)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

I’m at a loss for how Obama managed to assume this role, outside of the massive media promotion, especially beginning on election night 2004. You’d figure since he was in the state senate for 8 years Illinois would be a veritable paradise and have an afterglow from Obama’s aura. But I didn’t notice much inspired leadership coming from him all those years (or from anyone else for that matter) and if the Democratic and Republican U.S. Senate frontrunners hadn’t fallen to scandals, Obama would still be toiling away in obscurity in Springfield.

Sure, he is physically appealing and suave and well-spoken and all that, but where is the substance? This is a time in our history in which we need substance by the ton and, so far, I haven’t seen it in Obama.


7 posted on 05/15/2008 2:52:42 PM PDT by Southside_Chicago_Republican (Christos anesti!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet
"The Illinois senator is indeed, an unusually talented, inspiring and charismatic figure." His talent lies in his ability to bamboozle the retarded. This talk of charisma is total BS. His presence is very unimpressive and his ability to speak and the BS about his alleged eloquence is just not true. His manner of speech is mechanical "be dada be dada be da" That's his speech pattern. There is nothing more to it. "His very ethnicity offers an exciting departure." That's the whole thing. His "ethnicity is the sole reason for the creation and praise of false abilities and talents supposedly possessed by this mediocre clown.

But he is not a saint. He is a (smart and eloquent) More pandering to his ethnicity man with a personal history that is startlingly shallow set against the scale of the office he seeks to hold" Now that's the truth.

8 posted on 05/15/2008 2:58:21 PM PDT by isrul (Help make every day, "Disrespect a muzzie day.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: The_Republican
The Illinois senator is indeed, an unusually talented, inspiring and charismatic figure.

I'm sick of hearing this boilerplate, particular from Obama's critics as if it's above debate. I dispute he's any of the above.

9 posted on 05/15/2008 3:01:58 PM PDT by Oratam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet
"McCain is the Republican who has received probably the single most favourable treatment from the media in the past 40 years. He has been a favourite because he conformed to the first law of contemporary political journalism: the only good conservative is a bad conservative. His willingness to defy Betray would be the more appropriate word his party on everything from taxes to global warming"

Actually, a pretty good assessment of the dishonorable reprobate.

10 posted on 05/15/2008 3:03:54 PM PDT by isrul (Help make every day, "Disrespect a muzzie day.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

Everyone really needs to get this movie and watch it.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078841/

Obama is 100% Chance the Gardner


11 posted on 05/15/2008 3:07:24 PM PDT by HereInTheHeartland ("We have to drain the swamp" George Bush, September 2001)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: HereInTheHeartland

I saw it in the theatre when it first came out. It is eerily like what’s happening now. Also look for “Idiocracy” and you’ll see where we’re headed.


12 posted on 05/15/2008 3:19:13 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (McCain could never convince me to vote for him. Only Hillary or Obama can!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet; All
Why don't we turn the MSM's deification of Obama into an opportunity to permanently de-claw the IRS?

This post (<-click), while addressing taxes, helps to explain why government "leaders" like Obama are actually in contempt of the Constitution that they have sworn to defend, foolishly following in the footsteps of FDR's dirty federal spending politics. In fact, the article referenced below shows that Obama is the #1 federal spending proposer in the Senate for '08; Clinton is #2.

Obama, a big-shot federal spender
The people need to reconnect with the Founder's division of federal and state government powers. The people then need to wise up to the major problem that the federal government is not operating within the restraints of the federal Constitution, particularly where constitutionally unauthorized federal spending is concerned.

The bottom line is that the people need to send big-shot, Constitution-ignoring federal spenders like Obama home as opposed to trying to send people like him to the Oval Office. The people need to get in the faces of the feds, demanding a stop to constitutionally unauthorized federal spending while appropriately lowering federal taxes - or get out of DC.

13 posted on 05/15/2008 3:22:40 PM PDT by Amendment10
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Southside_Chicago_Republican
I’m at a loss for how Obama managed to assume this role, outside of the massive media promotion

...part of this is a result of all the Dem losses from 1994 to 2004 - their bench strength was gutted...to me, Obama's ascendance signals weakness on the part of the Dem's...

14 posted on 05/15/2008 3:27:30 PM PDT by ghost of nixon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

15 posted on 05/15/2008 3:37:50 PM PDT by Dr. Scarpetta
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Southside_Chicago_Republican

I can’t get past his purple lips, that’s all I see.


16 posted on 05/15/2008 3:39:03 PM PDT by ThisLittleLightofMine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Southside_Chicago_Republican

17 posted on 05/15/2008 3:39:20 PM PDT by Dr. Scarpetta
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: HereInTheHeartland

“I like to watch TV.”


18 posted on 05/15/2008 4:03:38 PM PDT by Rocky
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Dr. Scarpetta

"Gimme your votes, suckas!"

19 posted on 05/15/2008 4:11:34 PM PDT by Rocky (Obama: "Gimme your votes, suckas!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet
Read all this about the media love-fest for Obama, and you would think there was some possibility that the man will be able to draw flies in the general election. The WV primary is a harbinger of the kind of result to be expected in the general election.

McCain is no bargain by any means, but they say it's better to be luck than good. And McCain at least hasn't married a woman who hates me, and hasn't raised his children to hate me. I should be able to expect that much in a president . . .


20 posted on 05/15/2008 4:13:31 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (Thomas Sowell for President)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

I believe that I saw the same redeemer in the pages of MAD magazine.


21 posted on 05/15/2008 4:16:37 PM PDT by GOPologist (I'm too old (86) to beat; and too tough to die.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

Didn’t RFK Jr. take Teddy Kennedy to task for endorsing Obama over Hillary and proclaiming him the new JRFK?


22 posted on 05/15/2008 5:17:20 PM PDT by weegee (Vote NO on Marxism in 2008.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

“Mr Obama’s strikingly vacuous political background”

Wonderful.


23 posted on 05/15/2008 5:28:52 PM PDT by combat_boots (She lives! 22 weeks, 9.5 inches. Go, baby, go!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: The_Republican

pity that cartoon may have a prophetic quality about it.


24 posted on 05/15/2008 6:45:13 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (my money's on righteous hustle and blue eyed soul.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet
It is not only legitimate, but necessary, to scrutinise his past and infer what it might tell us about his beliefs, in the absence of the normal record of achievement expected in a presidential nominee.

As it is necessary to scrutinize one's allegiances.

***

Good read. Few things measure up to the journalistic adventure of that which flows from the pen of a Brit who has his eyes open and his head on straight.

25 posted on 05/15/2008 7:07:38 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (my money's on righteous hustle and blue eyed soul.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: conservatism_IS_compassion
Read all this about the media love-fest for Obama, and you would think there was some possibility that the man will be able to draw flies in the general election. The WV primary is a harbinger of the kind of result to be expected in the general election.

Oh, there is no doubt that Obama can lose.

The bigger question, though, is can McCain win?

I'm reminded of the 2006 election, where one side deserved to lose and the other side didn't deserve to win. We all know how that turned out...

26 posted on 05/15/2008 7:21:41 PM PDT by okie01 (THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA: Ignorance on Parade)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

Love it! :-) The author busted the MSM’s religious devotion and worshipfulness of Ubama perfectly!

“Oh! Bama!” LOL. :-)


27 posted on 05/16/2008 8:05:53 AM PDT by pillut48 (CJ in TX --Soccer Mom and proud Rush Conservative with no dog in the presidential race now *sigh*)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: pandoraou812

Good read.


28 posted on 05/20/2008 12:38:51 AM PDT by TigersEye (Berlin 1936. Olympics for murdering regimes. Beijing 2008.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: OB1kNOb

Someone once posted a great animation of Obama and Hillary as Easter Island statues. I haven’t seen it again.


29 posted on 05/20/2008 1:00:12 AM PDT by BlueVelvet
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson