Saturday, June 21, 2008

Obama's aura

This is a kind of classical California take on Barack Obama: Is Obama an enlightened being? by Mark Morford, 06/06/08. He reports on a view that not everyone may have heard expressed this way:

Even Bill Clinton, with all his effortless, winking charm, didn't have what Obama has, which is a sort of powerful luminosity, a unique high-vibration integrity.

Dismiss it all you like, but I've heard from far too many enormously smart, wise, spiritually attuned people who've been intuitively blown away by Obama's presence - not speeches, not policies, but sheer presence - to say it's just a clever marketing ploy, a slick gambit carefully orchestrated by hotshot campaign organizers who, once Obama gets into office, will suddenly turn from perky optimists to vile soul-sucking lobbyist whores, with Obama as their suddenly evil, cackling overlord.

Here's where it gets gooey. Many spiritually advanced people I know (not coweringly religious, mind you, but deeply spiritual) identify Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment. These kinds of people actually help us evolve. They are philosophers and peacemakers of a very high order, and they speak not just to reason or emotion, but to the soul. (my emphasis in bold)
Personally, I'd settle for a lot less in the next four years than a completely "new way of being on the planet". But Morford's take has a certain amount of charm.

Gene Lyons cited this column during the past week (Clown cars just keep on coming Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 06/18/08), "What’s Morford been smoking ? We can’t tell. ... So are we talking about a political movement or a cult?"

I get the impression Gene Lyons may not have spent a lot time in California.

But then, strange mystical ideas aren't unique to California. Lyons' own paper ran an editorial this Saturday (Somewhat biased? 06/21/08) that opens:

We read an editorial the other day from a newspaper down in Louisiana that came out foursquare against ... hurricanes. We kid you not. No word yet on whether Mother Nature will suspend hurricanes based on the newspaper’s advice, but we doubt it. Mother Nature may not even subscribe.
Next to this stuff, the Catholic Church's positions on the Assumption of Mary and the Real Presence sound downright empirical.

But I have get all un-gooey on Morford's column, I guess. He doesn't yet have the clout of a Great Journalist like Tim Russert. But he also said this in his column: "Barack Obama isn't really one of us. Not in the normal way, anyway."

Now, I get it that Morford was introducing his Lightworker revelation with that teaser sentence.

But years of reading Bob Somerby's Daily Howler seem to be rearranging my superego or something. Because I can't help but noticing some of the worst pundit habits in this column. Even if we take the column as a spoof, it's worth thinking about what is being spoofed.

That business about Obama not being "really one of us" is the current Chris Matthews-approved Big Pundit script. This is quite convenient for Republicans, who aren't interested in his Lightbringer aura. They prefer to paint Obama as not "really one of us" because of his alleged "radical liberal" positions, to use Sean Hannity's kooky construction. And they're less interested in reminding people of Obama's Light-ness than his blackness, hoping that institutional racism will create a big opening for the propaganda about Obama's "radical liberal" ideas and other alleged "elitist" failings and general exotic-ness to take root among independent voters.

Then there's the stock pundit tactic of quoting some anonymous sources - many "spiritually advanced people" in this case - to express the pundit's own opinion. Why do all these spiritually advanced people need to be anonymous on this matter?

And he's displaying the marvelous talent that all conventionally advanced pundits seem to possess: discerning the soul of his subject. Without even a personal interview, in this case. And just how does one go about testing whether a person is a "Lightbringer" or not?

But speaking of people who are not "really one of us", what's up with the talk about a Chuck Hagel Vice Presidential candidacy on the Democratic ticket? (Chris Silizza, Hagel for (Democratic) Veep? The Fix blog 06/21/08). Once the Iraq War became an incredibly unpopular disaster, Hagel started criticizing it more often. Before that, he was one of those "moderate" Republicans who would go on the talk shows and wring their hands and express their deep concern over this or that upsetting news from Iraq, but were normally there faithfully supporting Bush on war votes and voting against antiwar initiatives.

As Jake Thompson and Robynn Tysver reported last year in Idling till now, Hagel may shift to '08 gear Omaha World-Herald 03/11/07, "Hagel has an 85 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union and 82 percent from the National Taxpayers Union."

And, they report, in 2006 "Hagel scored the highest pro-Bush voting record in the Senate last year - 95.5 percent". (my emphasis)

I really can't get my head around this idea. We're looking at a heavy Democratic advantage in 2008 and a Presidential candidate with a strong position. For once, the Democratic Presidential nominee even looks to have more money for the general election campaign than the Republican. This could be a chance for Obama to build a real electoral mandate for withdrawing from Iraq, ending the torture policy and enacting comprehensive health insurance.

So why in the name of all Lightbringers would he want to have one of the most pro-Bush Republicans in the Senate as his Vice Presidential candidate?

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