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      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – August 25, 2019 by Tony Wikrent Economics Action Group, North Carolina Democratic Party Progressive Caucus Strategic Political Economy Give No Heed to the Walking Dead [The Scholar’s Stage, via Naked Capitalism 8-18-19] The People’s Republic of China is wealthier than any rival America has faced. Its leaders are convinced […]
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The NYTimes weighs in on “The Uniter’s” Cult of Personality

Well, someone had to say it. In today’s NYTimes Editorial, Barack Obama’s supporters are described as engaging in a Cult of Personality, which in this context means:

A cult of personality or personality cult arises when a country’s leader uses mass media to create a larger-than-life public image through unquestioning flattery and praise. Cults of personality are often found in dictatorships but can be found in some democracies as well.

A cult of personality is similar to general hero worship except that it is specifically built around political leaders. However, the term may be applied by analogy to refer to adulation of non-political leaders.

There’s no better word for the Obamaphiles patrolling the blogosphere or the media pundits frantically extolling his illusory virtues. Yes, Obama is a gifted politician, an exceedingly bright individual, a charismatic speaker. But he is untested, inexperienced and doesn’t have the knowledge base yet to be president.

But more than that, he seems to have bought into the idolatry as NYT explains:

Having run on the idea of broad participation across society’s divisions, Mr. Obama’s campaign often seems to teeter on becoming a cult of personality — a feeling that the candidate and those around him do nothing to dispel. In an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” on Monday, Mr. Obama’s wife, Michelle, was asked if she would work to support Mrs. Clinton if she won. “I’d have to think about that,” she replied.

Mrs. Obama quickly got back on her talking points, stressing party unity. But her unguarded answer was similar to what we heard from Obama supporters in e-mail messages that we received after endorsing Mrs. Clinton. Many of those readers said they would not bother to vote if Mr. Obama lost the nomination. That is not the way democracy is supposed to work.

Bingo! Obama and his wife are willing to give us 4 more years of Republican rule if they can’t have their way. They are going to hold their breaths and withhold their support, their solidarity to the nominee, who would be Hillary Clinton.

And this seems to bother his supporters not a whit! It’s perfectly ok to diss that has-been white woman candidate because, because….

Why exactly? Why should the tantrums of the young and foolish keep us from taking our country back? But more importantly, what kind of “leader” allows his party to be split like this, to let the country teeter on the edge of ruin all because he puts himself over the greater good?

The Greater Good is a core Democratic principle, Senator Obama. Are you onboard or not? Tell us now. The primary season is expensive and a lot of us would very much like to wrap it up.

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More on the NOW-NY response to Kennedy’s endorsement-Updated

I’ve only started to read Taylor Marsh in the past couple of days but she wrote a brilliant post yesterday about the NOW-NY response to Kennedy’s endorsement of Obama. Here’s the money quotes:

It took one woman working day after day over decades, plus having the connections of her husband, to get in the spot where she can have the opportunity to run for president, doing so in the midst of incredible odds, the worst press coverage ever, while everyone has decided to adorn the young man with little experience as the next possibility, because we have to turn away from the past. Tell that to the National Nurses Organization.That “past” that Kennedy and others are encouraging people to walk away from is the very foundation on which Clinton has built a lifetime of service to prove she has the mettle to be president. It’s the dues a woman must pay to get the chance to lead, because those dues are required of her. A standard to which her lesser accomplished male opponent is not being held.

No doubt Barack Obama is talented, having a gift of rhetorical flourish that any politician should admire, even covet.

Whereas Hillary Clinton, the woman who could only rise to the position she’s now in to finally have an opportunity to compete did so through hard work over a lifetime, because youth alone for her, even if she had the gift of rhetoric, would be judged as insufficiently experienced to be president.

It’s likely this tired old resume double standard that brought NY NOW’s press release out without an edit. Because the very thing that makes Hillary Clinton qualified to be president is being pushed aside and called “the past.” Let’s face it, if Clinton was Obama in a dress, er, pantsuit, she wouldn’t be getting the time of day, let alone Teddy Kennedy’s endorsement.

Taylor echoes what Gloria Steinem said in her NYTimes OP/Ed piece just before New Hampshire. If Barack Obama was named Achola Obama but was identical in every other way, NO one would be taking him seriously as a candidate. His lack of qualification would have gotten immediate and unrelenting attention. But because he is a man, he jumps ahead of Hillary Clinton despite the fact that she is more qualified. It’s like the female supreme court justices who graduated at the top of their law school class but could only get jobs as paralegals and secretaries while their husbands joined law firms as lawyers. (Was that Bader-Ginsburg or O’Connor? Well, I have a 50% chance of getting it right, there have only been 2.)

There was a backlash against feminism in the 80’s and ever since then, many women have been afraid to say they are feminists even as they went about their lives, earning degrees, becoming managers, running states as governors, becoming astronauts. They just took it for granted that at some point in time in the not too distant future, they would have the opportunity to be president of the United States. It was all happening without having to adopt the feminist stereotype of short hair, unshaven legs and no-bra. No one had to march for anything. Oh sure, abortion laws have become tighter and contraception is now in jeopardy as well. But I guess we all assumed that with the right people in charge, things would right themselves.

After yesterday, I don’t believe that anymore. It’s time to get in their faces.

Update: Now SusanG gets into it over at DailyKos with the typical “Wimin’s libbers say things that make me feel oogy”. Hey, I might not have phrased it their way either but if you’re focussing on the tone of voice of the release, you are completely missing the point. The point is that Clinton worked her ass off for this job and puts up with bad press everyday and in comes Obama with less experience that Clinton has in her pinky finger and he jumps to the head of the line. The *point*, Susan, is that if he were a black woman, Achola Obama’s first debate performance would have nailed the lid on her political coffin. Yet we get all weak kneed over Obama’s fumbling attempts to argue a point because, because, why exactly? Please tell me what Change! is all about other than a more lefty version of High Broderism. Please tell me how two years in the senate qualifies him for this job. Tell me how he governs with a stump speech with all of the Bush mess headed our way. Take your time, I’ll wait.

Oooo, Susan is not going to be associated with that type of activist. It’s unseemly. It’s strident. It’s shrill. It’s so unfair to our male patrons. Susan has been taking lessons from Tweety. She must be singing that Nellie McKay song “Feminists Don’t Have a Sense of Humor” in her sleep. Give. Me. A. Break.

Quick! Get Barack the Smelling Salts! Again!

I feel faintOh my God! Hillary contrasted herself with Barack Obama!Does it get any more negative than that? What will that villainess think of next? Dragging out their SAT scores? Perish the thought!

Watch out, watch out! I think Obama is going to swoon dead away!

Oh, this is serious. i have never seen anything so vicious in my entire life as Hillary Clinton merely suggesting that she is a candidate that has no hidden skeletons. Some of us untutored may see that as a positive affirmation that she has survived the relentless Republican attacks on her character including a $70 million crotch shot of her entire life that turned up very, very little to nail her on. How naive we all were. She was really just gearing up to take him down.
Oh, it may sound innocuous, but look at him freaking out. He is apoplectic!

He is purple with rage! He is hysterically looking for a fainting couch to recover himself.
It is too much strain for the poor man. Wasn’t it enough that he put his own drug use out there for everyone to see? Wasn’t it enough that he gave hope to millions of poor and confused adolescents to not give up on themselves? Didn’t she see the fricking copyright to his story? It’s right there on the page in the corner, um, oh nevermind. I’m sure it’s there under a blacklight.
He even trademarked the word “cocaine”.Heavens to Betsy, what if Mark Penn had said “crack”? Well, that would be the end of the Clinton campaign. Obama would have had to protest too much more and demand an immediate concession from her. She would have to bring her own tar, feathers and rails and submit graciously to his leadership.
Oh, woe is me! My candidate just can do anything right. I know this because Tweety tells me so. He says that Obama is nicer and prettier and more cool and has more friends. If the generalities got any more glittering, I would have to wear sunglasses indoors. Hillary is just a witch who cackles, stridently, and her shrillness is off-key. It’s too sharp. I can’t verify this because I don’t have perfect pitch like Tweety does but I will rush to the music store tonight and grab a pitch pipe so I can be absolutely sure that he’s right.
I *am* sure that he is right because I just know that Tweety is a manly man. He practically drowns his guests in Aqua Velva spit. He has all of those babes on with him who are just dreamy over Barack. If it weren’t for Tweety’s largess towards the weaker sex, they might never get a chance to even be on TV, pontificating on how Barack’s feet seem never to touch the soil, while Hillary is knee deep in mud.
Barack, Barack! We hardly knew ye. Surely you will expire from the shock to the system of Hillary’s blitzkrieg attack. She’s coming at him with both guns blazing. She is nuking him with statements of fact. Oh, it is too horrible. Make it stop!
Apologies simply will not do. Stuffing a sock in the Big Dawg’s mouth is insufficient. Nothing except complete cessation of hostilities on her part will assuage the wound she as inflicted on this man’s tender sensibilities. His delicate constitution will simply collapse from the weight of the onslaught.
There, there, Barack. It will all be over soon. She may be bad but she’s not nearly as bad as those nasty Republicans. You should see what they did to Kerry.
Ugly.

Oh, No, Not Again! Quick, Get Barack the Smelling Salts!

I’m feeling faintOh my God! Hillary contrasted herself with Barack Obama!Does it get any more negative than that? What will that villainess think of next? Dragging out their SAT scores? Perish the thought!
Watch out, watch out! I think Obama is going to swoon dead away! Oh, this is serious. i have never seen anything so vicious in my entire life as Hillary Clinton merely suggesting that she is a candidate that has no hidden skeletons. Some of us untutored may see that as a positive affirmation that she has survived the relentless Republican attacks on her character including a $70 million crotch shot of her entire life that turned up very, very little to nail her on. How naive we all were. She was really just gearing up to take him down.Oh, it may sound innocuous, but look at him freaking out. He is apoplectic!

    He is purple with rage! He is hysterically looking for a fainting couch to recover himself.
    It is too much strain for the poor man. Wasn’t it enough that he put his own drug use out there for everyone to see? Wasn’t it enough that he gave hope to millions of poor and confused adolescents to not give up on themselves?Didn’t she see the fricking copyright to his story? It’s right there on the page in the corner, um, oh nevermind. I’m sure it’s there under a blacklight.
    He even trademarked the word “cocaine”.Heavens to Betsy, what if Mark Penn had said “crack”? Well, that would be the end of the Clinton campaign. Obama would have had to protest too much more and demand an immediate concession from her. She would have to bring her own tar, feathers and rails and submit graciously to his leadership.
    Oh, woe is me! My candidate just can do anything right. I know this because Tweety tells me so. He says that Obama is nicer and prettier and more cool and has more friends. If the generalities got any more glittering, I would have to wear sunglasses indoors. Hillary is just a witch who cackles, stridently, and her shrillness is off-key. It’s too sharp. I can’t verify this because I don’t have perfect pitch like Tweety does but I will rush to the music store tonight and grab a pitch pipe so I can be absolutely sure that he’s right.
    I *am* sure that he is right because I just know that Tweety is a manly man. He practically drowns his guests in Aqua Velva spit. He has all of those babes on with him who are just dreamy over Barack. If it weren’t for Tweety’s largess towards the weaker sex, they might never get a chance to even be on TV, pontificating on how Barack’s feet seem never to touch the soil, while Hillary is knee deep in mud.
    Barack, Barack! We hardly knew ye. Surely you will expire from the shock to the system of Hillary’s blitzkrieg attack. She’s coming at him with both guns blazing. She is nuking him with statements of fact. Oh, it is too horrible. Make it stop!Apologies simply will not do. Stuffing a sock in the Big Dawg’s mouth is insufficient. Nothing except complete cessation of hostilities on her part will assuage the wound she as inflicted on this man’s tender sensibilities. His delicate constitution will simply collapse from the weight of the onslaught.There, there, Barack. It will all be over soon. She may be bad but she’s not nearly as bad as those nasty Republicans. You should see what they did to Kerry.

    Ugly.

    The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pantsuit

    There I was on Thursday night, letting my Sandstone Pearl toenails dry while I reread one of Rebecca Wells Ya-ya books and trying to decide whether to watch Steel Magnolias or Terms of Endearment on the DVD, when I heard a familiar word coming from the background noise of the Democratic Presidential Debate that I use to relax.”Campbell”, it said.Hmmm, there was something very knowing and mysterious about that voice. So, I backed up the DVR and replayed it.There was Hillary Clinton in her light gray tweedy jacket and asbestos pants (and great makeup, by the way) gently chiding the gravid Campbell Brown.And it suddenly occurred to me: Karl Rove must be sweating big time. It will be so much harder to suppress the female voters than the African-American voters. Someone might notice.

    I mean, sure Campbell Brown is married to former Iraq CPA official, Dan Senor. Sure, she’s bought into the Villager cocktail party circuit, where they are no doubt planning her baby shower complete with Peg Perego stroller with a mini-bar, reclining seat and internet connection for the little tyke.

    But when Hillary said, “Campbell”, we women instantly recognized the voice of authority of the high priestess reminding the backslid acolyte of her obligations to her sex. (Note to self: buy new candles for the altar and perform the rites tonight in the nude.)

    I sipped my Cosmo pensively. I’m very concerned about Tweety. He will be so exorcised over this in the next week that if he doesn’t speak fast enough, he will surely drown in his own spit. The “He Man Women Haters Club” has no place for an upstart girl who will want to come in and reupholster the chairs in a Laura Ashley floral. There is no room in the tree house.

    But Tweety has nothing to fear, really.

    No, just because every woman can remember some time in her life when she was given a little less attention than the boys in math class or got less praise than Raymond C. Persic in Organic Chemistry (Nyah-Nyah, scored higher than you on the ACS exam), that doesn’t mean anything.

    Or all of the times when our ex-boyfriends and ex-husbands called us “bitch” and “c$^t” when we dared to assert our rights. Or the times that our bosses gave the one raise in the department to a guy with a newborn- year after year after year, there’s no reason to think we might want to level the playing field.

    Or the fathers who preferred our brother’s company after we became adolescents. Or all of the family members who told us we could never succeed in science or medicine or law because we were the first in our families to want to go to college and it was too much money to spend on a girl who was probably going to get married anyway, perish the thought of righteous indignation.

    Or the husbands who questioned our expenses, by saying, “What did you spend your allowance on anyway?!” (You women my mother’s age know what I’m talking about.) Or just because of the men who said, “*I* make the money, I make the rules!”, we are not looking for a champion.

    Or the church elders who chastised our skirt lengths while we were going through a growth spurt, simultaneously staring at our shapely calves and thighs. Or the priests and bishops and fundamentalists who condemned us to hell for having SEX out of WEDLOCK while setting the terms of that wedlock to be perpetual obedience to our husbands, does not mean that we have any expectation that a manly God will exact justice on our behalf.

    No, Tweety, you have nothing to worry about. Do not be troubled that we might want to exercise a little authority, assert our rights, seek vengeance or see one of our own, who seems to know what the fuck she’s doing, succeed to the most powerful position on earth.

    It’s not like Hillary Clinton is a personification of a pagan moon goddess who is going to re-establish our supremacy through some matriarchal social system, even if that did kinda work out for us. Ha-ha-ha!, that is so silly of you. I mean, there’s no reason to vote for her because she’s a girl

    No, that would be petty and anachronistic and un-Christian and speaks of gender identity politics and that is soooo outre. We aren’t out to settle the score for the millenia of mistreatment and disrespect. Perish the thought!

    Then again, I did detect a little glisten in Campbell’s eye. Just a little one. I saw it. And if I’m right about these things, Dan will completely miss it as Campbell gently kisses him on the lips and pinches the baby’s cheek just before she steps into that voting booth next year to worship at the Temple of the Sisterhood.

    BTW, sisters, make sure you update your social security cards, driver’s licenses and voter registration ID to be consistent before going to vote. Karl’s not finished yet.

    Updated: I’m really serious about the ID.

    This could be the very reason we are turned away at the voting booth. Don’t wait until the month before. Get all your notarized divorce papers in order and make sure the IRS, Social Security office, driver’s licenses and the voter’s registration office all have the same name for the same person.

    For all we know, they are purging the databases as we speak, looking specifically at name mismatches.