RANGER AGAINST WAR: Obama Rallies' Feinted Faints? <

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Obama Rallies' Feinted Faints?

To like an individual because he's black is just as insulting
as to dislike him because he isn't white.

--e. e. cummings

Bring me little water, Sylvie

Every little once in a while

--Bring Me Little Water
, Sylvie, Leadbelly

You call that a preacher?

No, no

He scandalized my name!

--American spiritual

Lord loves a workin' man; don't trust whitey;

see a doctor and get rid of it

--The Jerk


I know of an amateur videographer who has captured Obama's Oral Roberts moment in two different campaign rallies. It sounds like Elmer Gantry, redux.

Twice, a young women has fainted at Obama rallies, in approximately the same area of the arena. As the kerfuffle unfolds, from the stage Obama raises both hands shoulder height, a la Rev. Wright and in his stentorian voice calms the crowd: "Do not worry -- she has only fainted. She needs water. Someone please bring water." Subsequently, she revives.

It is right out of the tent revival circuit. The only thing missing was the KFC bucket for the contributions, but that would be simply gauche amongst his latte-swilling demographic.

Two possible explanations come to mind: [1] The faints were scripted, or [2] He is accustomed to women swooning in his presence, and so takes it all in stride. If so, perhaps the campaign should travel with smelling salts.

I thought we'd already laughed the millenialists off the stage after Y2K. Yet after suffering through 7+ years with a born-again fundamentalist president, we are now being cadged by this tent revival hokum from the democrats?

I guess to someone who's never been to a revival, this all sounds very new. And to those who do know the revival circuit, very familiar. Obama is playing a winning hand among the dupes.

Carolyn Glick writing at RealClearPolitics.com took a compelling look at "Obama's cult of personality." Following is an excerpt:

OPPONENTS OF Clinton claim that she is a soulless woman who will do whatever is necessary to have power, because she likes power and wants it. But if this is true it is hard to see why a power-hungry president is worse than a president who believes that he is the people's redeemer. It is hard to see why a leader who wants power because she likes power is less reasonable than a president who thinks he has a right to demand that the American people follow his lead and fix their souls in the name of unity. In the former case, opposition to the leader is a policy dispute. In the latter case, it is apostasy.

Speaking in February of the man she knows better than anyone else does, Michelle Obama said that her husband, Illinois Senator and candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination Barack Obama, is the only candidate for president who understands that before America can solve its problems, Americans have to fix their "broken souls."

She also said that her husband's unique understanding of the state of souls of the American people makes him uniquely qualified to be President. . . He can heal his countrymen's broken souls. He will redeem them.

But then, saving souls is hard work, and Mrs. Obama won't place the whole burden on her husband. He'll make the Americans work for him. As she put it, "Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zone. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed."

At base, Mrs. Obama's statement is nothing less than a renunciation of democracy and an embrace of fascism. The basic idea of liberty is that people have a natural right to live their lives as usual and to be uninvolved and uninformed. And they certainly have a right to expect that their government will butt out of their souls.

It is the ultimate PoMo hagiography, a total mashup: Obama will enter the white house and make it white again. He will wash you clean, pick you up and give you faith. A preacher-man politician. He listens to Jay-Z on his i-Pod, but listens to Old School, too. He is a 12-Step program for the nation. Because we are guilty as sin. Of course, we started out that way, according to the Good Book.

You're paying five bucks for a blended Frappacino, when you know the hard-working brother down the street is going to Micky D's. Worse yet, fixing his coffee at home. Maybe even instant. Do they even make that anymore? You don't know, so you follow Michael Moore's admonition to atone for Dred Scott in the 19th century -- maybe before your people even came here. It doesn't matter, for you go to Panera Bread, and that can't be all good.

You are weaned on Oprah, and have never been to a tent revival, so the gesture seems redemptive and new, and all the New Age sages want to help you to be your best self, and here he comes. Presto-chango! Hop on the Obama train and vote for a new and better you.

The religious pander is especially unctuous. Redemption blather has no place in the American political circuit. Our Founding Fathers were fairly stern on the matter of separating church and state.

The savior choreography simply grates, probably because of the contradiction between the posture and the reality. The iconography is so simplistically rendered -- how can a thinking person fall for it?

Hillary's tossing pack boilermakers renders her the workingman's pal, but that construction is more easily borne than that of messiah, for the latter engenders an unquestioning herd mentality, as Glick says.

It is more than a little terrifying to see Americans so accustomed to being pumped up -- whether via Prozac or Oprah or whoever the cheerleader du jour might be -- that they now take their self-improvement fix even from politicians. Is the raft of self-help books at Borders not enough?

Rick Warren, where are you now?

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Blogger Mr. Oblivious said...

"how can a thinking person fall for it?"

How many thinking people are left in America? Or the whole world for that matter?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 at 10:33:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

mr. oblivious,

O.k.--silly me. You're not so oblivious after all, are you? The goths are at the door.

A girl can dream though, right?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 at 10:56:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure glad this was agreed on so quickly. Dreams are what the O-mans is selling, more snake oil please.
I'm sure glad I'm only following this in the blog world.
Everything is on schedule, please move along.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 at 11:39:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Mr. Oblivious said...

I'm oblivious to a lot of things. The not-so-subtle manipulation of the masses by our corporate overlords isn't one of them.

Keep up the good work. I love the writing here.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 at 12:20:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

MR. O,
I just revived from my swoon and wanted to say thanks for the kind words. It's appreciated greatly. Both Lisa and i give this site our very best. jim

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 at 12:25:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

it might be that the coming election is the biggest exercise in chump ass futility we've done for a long time. the looming oil/economic/monetary collapse is going to be big, and drastic enough as to render the whole exercise, and the prize of the presidency itself into the realm of carny hustle.

taking office the next president will look at the shit piled up on the desk, see the monsters hiding in the various closets, sniff the decay festering in the breeze and wonder

the the FUCK was i thinking?

even cleaning up a fractions of the messes left by bush et al would consume a four year term. even acknowledging some of the messes would affix the blame on the one who recognized it (the old joke: who smells it did it).

i am getting more disillusioned as the election approaches. it wasn't irony that prompted jefferson and adams to say that anyone who wants the job of president should be immediately disqualified from holding it.

there's a very contrarian school of politics right now that declares "divided we might survive." they suggest that hard divisions between the executive and the legislative branch and the resulting gridlock and inaction is quite possibly the best and most attractive situation. look what happened when the republicans were allowed a free ride on their agenda. a democratic congress, with a democratic president doesn't really appeal to me all that much. gimme some good old fashioned gridlock.

nothing, is preferrable to the somethings they've accomplished in the last two decades.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 at 12:38:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Eloquently said, and I am with you.

With the enormous number of actual troubles facing our country, most brought by this administration's venality or sheer ignorance, it is astonishing that these real issues do not take center stage in this circus called the electoral process.

Everything is promised to everyone, but no one says from whence the money will come.

Because I don't buy the fantasy that there is a savior for me or my country, I am just looking for a plodding politician who will staunch the damage, and help repair things a bit. The salvation line is for the hucksters and rubes.

Like Irving Berlin sang, let's just have another cup o' coffee and another piece of pie.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 at 1:47:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger BadTux said...

Reminds me of Huey Long and Earl Long's campaign appearances when they ran Louisiana, where they would use a preacher man kind of spiel and get the crowd really fired up to the point where some folks fainted in the heat. Earl and Huey were no worse than any other Louisiana politicians when elected, and Huey in particular did a number of good things for Louisiana including building its current Capitol building, building its first bridges across the Mississippi River, and taking the number of paved miles of highway in Louisiana from 48 miles to 8957 miles over the course of the six years between being elected Governor and being assassinated.

I don't have any delusions that Obama is anything other than a politician. Thing is, this kind of hucksterism is part of a successful politician's toolkit. Ronald Reagan used it very successfully, as did the Governator here in California when he was running for office. It's always, "I'm going to be the one who comes in and changes politics as usual and does great things for the people." Usually, the end result is just disappointment. It seems that the Huey Longs of the world who really do change the politics as usual into something entirely different (maybe better, maybe not) are very rare, and we're probably better off for that because revolutions rarely are peaceful and revolutionaries generally turn out to be really nasty people. But Obama doesn't breathe fire enough to be *that* sort of revolutionary, he seems more of a Reagan type -- that calm type of cult of personality, not the ranting and raving type.

As for whether that's good or bad, well, considering he's running against John McInsane, it's not as if there's much choice in the matter (shrug)...

- Badtux the Political Penguin

Friday, May 2, 2008 at 8:49:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Yup, that's about the size of it. The people seem to like promises and Big Shows. Like the lady at an early on Obama rally called it, "fire 'em up!"

It's like any megachurch experience -- some actually have honest-to-goodness cheerleaders with pon-pons to keep the parishioners awake. (I attended one such event with 60-yr-old cheerleaders, glittery pon-pons a- waving!)

As you say, Obama projects cool cult. But who knows -- I've met some snipers who were killing s.o.b's and the coolest cucumbers I'd ever met. Not saying O's a killer, mind you.

I am with you here: "considering he's running against John McInsane, it's not as if there's much choice in the matter (shrug)..."

Friday, May 2, 2008 at 9:37:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

badtux, i'd like to make a editorial cmt on Lisa's reply. What she meant to say was killing machines or cold killers NOT killing sob's.All snipers she met were to my recollection legitimately concieved or so reflected their field files... Unlike most politicians. jim

Saturday, May 3, 2008 at 9:35:00 AM GMT-5  

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