Remove the firewood under the cooking pot. – Number Nineteen of the Thirty-Six Stratagems
There has been an interesting line of attack against the presumptive Democratic nominee, Barack Obama: the deification of Obama. The reason I say “interesting” is that it falls into one of the quintessential political attack games: Take out the leading argument or asset of your opponent. In this election the problem is what to do when your candidate is described by your own side as the “lesser of two evils.” Where your side claims both candidates “suck.” And yet you’re faced with the fact that the other side’s supporters are not only enthusiastic about their candidate but genuinely excited about both the candidacy and the prospect of their side winning. What to do?
First, let’s look at how a similar situation was handled in 2004. On the one side you had a Vietnam-era veteran who used political pull to get into a stateside assignment where the possibility of facing actual combat was next to none. On the other side you had a Vietnam-era veteran who volunteered to go to Vietnam, to face actual combat, and whose service and sacrifice was acknowledged through medals and citations awarded by this country’s military. How to take out this asset of your opponent, an asset which makes you look pale in comparison? Call into question even the military’s awarding of those honors. And the consequence was easily seen: Purple Heart band aids at the 2004 Republican Convention.
In 2008 the problem is a candidate whose candidacy inspires enthusiasm and excitement among its supporters, while your candidate is the “lesser of two evils.” The answer to this “problem” is, of course, to take out this asset. And the rightwing is in almost complete unison in promoting the meme that Obama is God:
1. A Google of “Obama is Messiah” brings up almost 2 million hits, with page after page of rightwing Web sites promoting the idea that Obama is God. Websites like Fox News, World Net Daily, Townhall, American Thinker, Hang Right Politics, Free Republic and National Review Online.
2. Rightwing news media, columnists and pundits such as Fox News, Jonah Goldberg (third-tier), Kathleen Parker and Sean Hannity have produced articles promoting the “Obama is God” meme.
3. And the rightwing’s “go-to” person for all things “conservative,” Rush Limbaugh, had this headline recently on his Web site: “The Messiah's Arrogance Begins to Grate on Some Drive-By Disciples”
So there you have it. From rightwing media (including Fox News, of course), to rightwing pundits, to rightwing Web sites, to rightwing bloggers and anonymous posters on message boards the strategy is the same: proclaim, over and over again, that Obama is God, and hope that it whittles away votes.
Meanwhile, those of us who support Barack Obama for president know and understand that he is a politician and, like all of us, all too human. He isn’t the Second Coming, he isn’t a deity, and he isn’t God. I can certainly understand the anxiety the GOPhers have with their “lesser of two evils” choice, and that in comparison to Obama their choice seems lacking. We’re excited about the prospect of President Barack Hussein Obama. No matter the outcome this November, they’re not.