Chait on Right-wing Obama qua Messiah Meme

Another excellent piece by Chait.

Calls it right-wing Messiah-Complex Complex.

Next, there is Obama’s declaration that “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” The point, which he has made many times, is that voters should take responsibility themselves for enacting change, and thus that his supporters should not treat him as a savior. Obama-as-cult-leader screeds insist upon reading the meaning as the exact reverse. Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote, “in the words of his own slogan, ‘we are the ones we’ve been waiting for,’ which, translating the royal ‘we,’ means: ‘I am the one we’ve been waiting for.'” As a pundit, I’m intrigued by this technique of taking a word out of your subject’s statement and substituting its opposite. Did you know that McCain’s slogan, “Country first,” could be translated via the Krauthammer method into “Country last”? Why does John McCain hate America?

Some excellent snark here (plus he gets a shot in on a trifecta of God awful right-wing commentators):

Finally, there’s Obama’s line, “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” McCain’s campaign, and conservative pundits like Mark Steyn and Krauthammer (again), have mocked this as a claim to divine powers. “Moses made the waters recede, but he had help,” sneered right-wing columnist Irwin Stelzer. Call me a literalist, but I think Obama was referring to his plan to curtail global warming, which is causing sea levels to rise at a rate of approximately three millimeters a year, rather than boasting supernatural dominion over the elements.

One quibble with Chait–at the end he states that liberals don’t do deifying like the right has with Reagan. Except they do–think the FDR and JFK hagiography (the latter far less deserved than the former).

I get criticisms of Obama being inexperienced.

I get how for all his talk about being so post-partisan whatever, he’s a liberal, with some different twists (see here) but fairly standard fare. I don’t get how NRO-types act like they discovered this fact as if it were some deeply hidden secret when anybody who bothered to look at the guy’s history and speeches could have told you that within five minutes. But it’s a legit criticism nonetheless –if you think conservatism is the only form of proper governing philosophy that is. It would be more accurate to paint Obama as a pragmatic-left guy who realizes the country is fairly divided and will inherit a Congressional system that will require him to pick off a Republican minority to join him. Than as say some radical.

I get that if you are a neocon maniac who wants bases in Iraq, full spectrum dominance, believes in a civilizational war between Islam and the West, and/or wants to rattle sabers with Russia and China (and has no conception of globalization or the economy) that you would rightly fear Obama’s foreign policy.

But I don’t get the messiah thing.

My fav selection from a Google Images search under Obama Messiah is the following (though St. Francis of Assisi was not the Messiah but close enough):

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Published in: on August 25, 2008 at 2:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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