The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Monday, February 18, 2008

Fainting for the Plagiarizing "Messiah"

Remember the Rudy Giuliani phone calls from his wife? Or the Biden campaign when he stepped down because he was caught plagiarizing speeches?

Well Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Barack Obama; apparently there have been a lot of fainting people at Obama events. Let's just say it has been outside of the range of "probability". Each time Obama stops his rallies and cares for the poor unfortunate souls. This is something right out of "Leap of Faith" or some similar tent revival. Faked illnesses, healing, the whole nine yards. Welcome to the Obama campaign.

Check out the video here, and then tell me this is coincidence.

Scott Johnson comments:

Jim Vicevich and James Taranto have compiled an impressive roster of fainting spells generated by Obama's campaign appearances. Vicevich and Taranto raise a question of fakery; Taranto also cites Larry David's likening of the phenomenon to Sinatra's bobby soxers. I think David is close. In the context of Obama's messianic appeal, the phenomenon seems to represent the return of Sister Flute from the gospel shows of yore. Gospel performers such as Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers routinely sought to elicit the appearance of Sister Flute in their audience. Describing the Stirrers at work, Daniel Wolff explains:

Five men in crisp white suits stand shoulder to shoulder, ready to go to work. In front of them is a single microphone. Their white suits and white shirts and white-tipped shoes shine so brightly that you can barely see their faces, but even so and even at a distance, the four men in the back are clearly older. They stand in a semi-circle, like a crescent moon, with the fifth--the youngster--in the middle.

The work they're about to do is very precise: they are going to try to bring the divine spirit down into this room. And the measurement of their success is equally precise. Out beyond the microphone sits a congregation of eager people dressed nearly as sharply as the men on stage. Amongst them--amongst the extended families, the grandparents, the fidgety children, the adolescents eyeing each other from pew to pew--there are women of a certain age who go by the generic name of Sister Flute. If the men in the white suits do their job right, Sister Flute will start to moan. She may stand where she is and wave one hand in the air, or rock her head back till her broad brimmed Sunday hat threatens to drop off. And if the men are truly successful, if they shout the house, Sister Flute's moans will turn to shrieks. Her legs will stiffen, and the heels of her best shoes will start to drum the floor, and, as the spirit gathers, she may collapse, or throw herself into the arms of the deacons, all the time shouting the praises of an almighty and present God.

As Peter Guralnick reports in his biography of Cooke, "Nearer to Thee" and "Be With Me, Jesus" were the "sticks" with which Cooke and the Stirrers summoned the appearance of Sister Flute. Quoting Stirrer S.R. Crain, Guralnick adds that the congregation would form a line in front of the Stirrers "to keep Sister Flute off of us. Because she came for us, she meant it, she wasn't playing. She just wanted to [touch] that boy. Everybody loved that boy."
But it's not just the fainting that is the problem; Barack is an empty suit, speaking empty platitudes, and no substance whatsoever to an audience of people who mostly want to "feel" and to do very little thinking. Mark Steyn has a great column up about Obama this week, including this:

... The Bush assassination fantasies are concocted by his political opponents and at least arise from his acts – invading the world; slaughtering 14 million Iraqi civilians; shredding the Constitution. By contrast, the Obama assassination porn is written by his worshippers and testifies to one of the most palpable features of the senator's campaign – its faintly ersatz quality, its determination to appropriate Camelot and every other mythic narrative.

A few days ago, a local news team went to shoot some film at Obama's Houston campaign headquarters. Behind the desks of the perky gals answering the phones were posters of Che Guevara and Cuban flags. Do Obama's volunteers even know who Che is? Apart from being a really cool guy on posters and T-shirts, like James Dean or Bart Simpson. I doubt it. They're pseudo-revolutionaries. Very few people in America want a real revolution: Life is great, this is a terrific country, with unparalleled economic opportunities.

To be sure, it's a tougher break if you have the misfortune to be the victim of one of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs or a decrepit inner-city grade school with a higher per-student budget than the wealthiest parts of Switzerland. But even so, to be born a U.S. citizen is, as Cecil Rhodes once said of England, to win first prize in the lottery of life.

Not even Obama supporters want real revolution: Ask the many peoples around the world for whom revolution means not a lame-o Sixties poster above your desk but the carnage and horror of the day before yesterday. ...

Charles Krauthammer adds:

ABC's Jake Tapper notes the "Helter-Skelter cultish qualities" of "Obama worshipers," what Joel Stein of the Los Angeles Times calls "the Cult of Obama." Obama's Super Tuesday victory speech was a classic of the genre. Its effect was electric, eliciting a rhythmic fervor in the audience -- to such rhetorical nonsense as "We are the ones we've been waiting for. (Cheers, applause.) We are the change that we seek."

That was too much for Time's Joe Klein. "There was something just a wee bit creepy about the mass messianism ... ," he wrote. "The message is becoming dangerously self-referential. The Obama campaign all too often is about how wonderful the Obama campaign is."

You might dismiss The New York Times' Paul Krugman's complaint that "the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality" as hyperbole. Until you hear Chris Matthews, who no longer has the excuse of youth, react to Obama's Potomac primary victory speech with "My, I felt this thrill going up my leg." When his MSNBC co-hosts tried to bail him out, he refused to recant. Not surprising for an acolyte who said that Obama "comes along, and he seems to have the answers. This is the New Testament."

I've seen only one similar national swoon. As a teenager growing up in Canada, I witnessed a charismatic law professor go from obscurity to justice minister to prime minister, carried on a wave of what was called Trudeaumania.

But even there the object of his countrymen's unrestrained affections was no blank slate. Pierre Trudeau was already a serious intellectual who had written and thought and lectured long about the nature and future of his country.

Obama has an astonishingly empty paper trail. He's going around issuing promissory notes on the future that he can't possibly redeem. Promises to heal the world with negotiations with the likes of Iran's President Ahmadinejad. Promises to transcend the conundrums of entitlement reform that require real and painful trade-offs and that have eluded solution for a generation. Promises to fund his other promises by a rapid withdrawal from an unpopular war -- with the hope, I suppose, that the (presumed) resulting increase in American prestige would compensate for the chaos to follow.

Democrats are worried that the Obama spell will break between the time of his nomination and the time of the election, and deny them the White House. My guess is that he can maintain the spell just past Inauguration Day. After which will come the awakening. It will be rude.

Did I mention plagiarism? Yes, "the messiah" is guilty of that as well:

Obama Plagiarized a 2006 Speech?

Hmmm. We'll see. If it turns out to be true, then what?

Could it be?

A crack in the messianic aura of the Great and Dear Leader, the Messiah of America, the Blessed Star of Illinois, the Healer of Eternity?

How is this possible? He descended from the right hand of the Father, after all, and one thousand cranes descended from Heaven to place his infant body wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. This we all know.

This is not possible. This could never happen.

It's Bush's fault. And Rove's.

In short, what we have in Barack Obama is a latter-day Jonas Nightingale, playing to a brain-dead culture numbed by daily doses of Brittney, OJ, and Oprah. Cheerleading provided free of charge by Matthews and Olberman and the rest of the so-called "unbiased" media. In another four years, if we are still alive to see it, my feeling is that people will understand all too well just what destruction this media monster hath wrought.

I hope I'm wrong about that; personally, I would prefer to that the American people actually snap out of their collective trance before November. Call me selfish, but I kind of like getting in to see the doctor when I need one instead of when the government tells me I can.

DiscerningTexan, 2/18/2008 03:14:00 PM |