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OBAMA ELECTRIFIES WORLD: SHOULD WE BELIEVE THE HYPE?

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OBAMA ELECTRIFIES THE WORLD: CAN WE BELIEVE THE HYPE?

The President As Celebrity Conquers Europe Just As Europe Moves Right

By Danny Schechter

Author of Plunder

You still want to like him, even if it has now been confirmed that the President of the United States travels with an official food taster or so the French news agency reported.

"They have someone who tastes the dishes," said waiter Gabriel de Carvalho  from the "La Fontaine de Mars" restaurant where Obama and his family turned up for dinner on Saturday night. It wasn't very pleasant for the cooks at first, but the person was very nice and was relaxed, so it all went well," he said on the Itele news channel.”

Perhaps more brain shattering was the quote attributed to the owner of the Restaurant, who said with all sincerity that he had seen God. 

“We all think of him that way,” he added.

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Ironically, as the elevated ONE was sightseeing in Paris, Republicans of the Freedom Fries inclination were blasting him for even being there at all, perhaps just jealous because he seemed like he was having fun. More ominously, European voters were moving right in the EU elections. (Turnout was low!) 

Reports the New York Times: “Heather Grabbe, director of the Open Society Institute in Brussels, said that two striking features of the elections were the failure of the left to make a breakthrough and the advances threatened by the far-right and other fringe parties.

“At a time of crisis,” she said, “people often lose faith in the established political parties but they will typically move to the left when there is the prospect of higher unemployment, in the hope that the state will look after them.

“The left needs a new narrative,” Ms Grabbe added, “the narrative of the state looking after people has failed to hold even at a time of deep unemployment.” There is a lesson here for the Obamacrats.

These paradoxes also speak to the way politics has merged with celebrity reinforced by 24/7 TV news cycles.  Some like the President of France marry celebrities. Others like Barack and Michelle become celebrified, sparking adulation and fostering unrealistic expectations. This tendency is fueled by disgust with politicians as usual on the one hand, and the desire to have someone who you can believe will be different on the other. 

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We all want someone to make a difference as the economy and the public’s sense of another possibility crash like that Air France plane.

Obama has that special charisma, and builds a mystique that resonates in a period when so little else does. “It’s the smile” one TV producer told me the other day. Another put it down to his youth. No, said a third, it’s his skill as an orator especially because his predecessor couldn’t put two words together.

Let’s not forget, it was like that with JFK and Jackie too. In their time, they represented a new generation, exuded style and the aphrodisiac of power. For some, they walked on water. 

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News Dissector Danny Schechter is blogger in chief at Mediachannel.Org He is the author of PLUNDER: Investigating Our Economic Calamity (Cosimo Books) available at Amazon.com. See Newsdisssector.org/store.htm.

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