May 17, 2008

CONSIDERING THAT HE WAS THE MESSIAH...:

Barack Obama: the new Great Redeemer: First it was Kennedy... now the US media are prostrating themselves before the saviour (Gerard Baker, 5/16/08, Times of London)

Every decade or so the people who control the way we see the world anoint some American politician the Redeemer of a Troubled Planet.

In the late 1960s the media placed the halo on Robert Kennedy, the tragic dynast whose antiwar and civil rights credentials made him in life - as he remains to this day in death - a kind of devotional figure for most political journalists.

Kennedy at least had charisma and intelligence. But to prove that these were by no means necessary preconditions for the honour, it was conferred a few years later on Jimmy Carter, the plodding nonentity elevated by a willingly compliant press into Everyman, brandishing his steely sword of Truth against the Manichean mendacity of Richard Nixon's Republican legacy.

Partly because of the Carter embarrassment, the 1980s were barren years for the idolators. Try as they might, they couldn't work themselves into much ecstasy over Walter Mondale in 1984 or Michael Dukakis in 1988, though they had little flings with bit-part players Gary Hart and (I kid you not) Bruce Babbitt, a genial former Governor of Arizona.

But by the 1990s a new Democrat, or rather a New Democrat, was come among us, a man the media told us would lift our eyes from our selfish greed and rid the world of the ineffable misery left by 12 years of reactionary rule. It's hard to imagine now, after the battering he's taken from his old friends in the press these past few months, but Bill Clinton was once their idol. His cleverly cynical balancing act - promising a return to high-minded tolerance while executing mentally ill prisoners in Arkansas, for example - was lauded as a brilliant synthesising of traditional liberal ideology with the political realities of the modern age.

The alert among you will have noticed by now that what all these spiritually uplifting leaders have in common. They are all Democrats.


...it was amazing how the press cured FDR's polio.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 17, 2008 6:46 AM
Comments

I beg your pardon. Gary Hart a bit part player in 1984. Hardly. He won 25 primaries and caucuses. He finished strongly winning 11 of the last 12, including a clean sweep of California. He was denied the nomination by a surge of superdelegates to the establishment candidate.

Posted by: Tomas at May 17, 2008 9:19 AM
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