I'm a Pundit Too

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Cult Of Personality

I know your anger, I know your dreams, I’ve been everything you want to be.
That one line from the 80’s rock band, Living Colour, seems to sum up the following of the Barack Obama campaign. Obama has surprised virtually every political expert, by his meteoric rise in popularity and the polls. This election season was supposed to be the coronation of Hillary Clinton, but no one took the charisma of Barack Obama into account. He has enjoyed rock star fame, which has catapulted him past Clinton in the delegate count. When was the last time you have heard of women fainting at a political speech? That type of reaction is normally reserved for rock concerts. Obama’s “cult of personality” has drawn crowds of 20,000 or more just to hear him speak. The peculiar aspect of his followers is that many can’t seem to name anything that he has accomplished in his brief legislative career. Nor are they able to definitively name any of his positions.

Susan Sarandon, the award winning actress and political activist, recently appeared on the Tavis Smiley show. Tavis asked her whom she was supporting for President now that John Edwards had dropped out of the race. Sarandon answered Barack Obama because he has convinced people that he stood for hope and change. She went on to say that she looked forward to finding out where he stood. One would be safe to surmise that a political activist of Ms. Sarandon’s credentials would be able to say what positions on the issues her candidate of choice takes.

The Democratic nomination has transformed into a personality contest and Obama has started to run away with the nomination. Hillary Clinton for all of her political power and prowess has been unable to match Barack’s charisma and likable personality. Electrifying speeches laced with words like hope and change marks his campaign speeches and rallies. The missing component of his political speech is any trace of specifics on where he stands. A simple perusal of his campaign’s website will shed some light onto his positions, but a closer look reveals that Obama and Clinton are basically the same candidate. The only difference is the likeability factor.

Both candidates have co-opted some of John Edwards’ ideas, for example Edwards socialist plan of taking back $55 billion from corporate subsidies and pass it along to the workers. Both candidates are pushing their version of socialist healthcare, tax hikes for the “rich”, enormous socialist job creation program, and government intrusion into the foreclosure “crisis”. There has not been a candidate for President that has been this overtly liberal in the past 40 years.
Barack Obama has a comfortable lead in the delegate count and appears to be on his way to wrapping up the nomination within the next few weeks. Hillary Clinton is counting on Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania to swing in her favor to overtake Obama and gain the momentum that she desperately needs to win the nomination. I can’t bring myself to bet against the Clintons and their drive to retake the White House. I believe that one way or another, either by winning the primaries or using the super delegates, Hillary will end up being the nomination. The only question that remains is, when will the “cult of personality” be exposed for what it is, empty rhetoric.

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