Yesterday, I noticed this rather disturbing image of Jim Messina, President Obama’s campaign manager (not the shorter half of ’70s music icons Loggins & Messina).
My initial thought: This is incredibly creepy, almost cult-like. THEN it hit me that the Obama camp wanted to hit Mitt Romney for his infamous 47% comments. But if this was a singular response, it was unsettling, but not much to worry about.
Then, I saw this:
Sure, you could write off that final image as a bunch of Hollywood airheads doing what comes natural. But we’ve gone from creepy to cultlike, open idolatry of this president in an initiative that has the full support of the target of this worship.
At Human Events, David Harsanyi collected a host of images from this campaign cycle and the last one reinforcing that message.
It includes this delightful video, which Rush Limbaugh has enjoyed lampooning the past four years:
And then, there’s the Obama flag print, which you can purchase from the Barack Obama store for $35:
Aside from the ickiness of it all (that’s a technical description), the “For All” campaign evokes a very un-American ideal — the elevation of one person, an elected official, to a spiritual or superhuman status. (There’s even a Twitter hashtag, #ObamaForLife.)
Why un-American? Recall that our Constitution outlaws the establishment of any titles of nobility, a direct consequence of the Glorious Revolution of 1688. That revolution, our first revolution, as Michael Barone put it, replaced James II with William of Orange, who established the permanence of representative government in Great Britain. The Glorious Revolution brought about the idea that the people (rather than the nobles) were sovereign, and it had a deep and abiding impact on American colonists, as you can see from Hamilton’s remarks in Federalist No. 84:
Nothing need be said to illustrate the importance of the prohibition of titles of nobility. This may truly be denominated the corner stone of republican government; for so long as they are excluded, there can never be serious danger that the government will be any other than that of the people.
George Washington refused a third term as president, understanding the importance of establishing a principle of the orderly transition of power. He even said the person holding that office should be addressed as “Mr. President,” rather than “Your Excellency.” No one attempted to serve more than two terms until FDR came around, and then the Constitution was amended to prevent anyone else from trying.
Without question, from the nation’s founding, fervent supporters have worshipped various political candidates. But with few exceptions, the candidates themselves rejected such adulation (at least in public).
The “For All” campaign, however, celebrates this idolatry. And it’s an initiative from the Obama campaign, so the president isn’t discouraging it.
Seems to me someone with decent video editing skills, using the Living Colour song as a backdrop, could have some fun.