I’ve been hearing a lot in recent days about the Cult of Personality surrounding Obama. It’s a fair point. When women are fainting at Obama rallies, they aren’t exactly thinking about his tax plan. And there a number of people, notably his wife, who are talking about him as though he were the second coming.
This is neither unprecedented nor a cause of concern.
Americans have historically been resistant to the Cult of Personality. Probably the most successful “personality” President in American history was FDR and I don’t think anyone would accuse him of not having concrete policies. The three most successful post-war Personality Presidents were JFK, Reagan and Clinton. All three men went through periods, not long after election, when they very unpopular. In fact, all three were, at some point, long shots to win re-election.
In fact, the Cult of Obama more reminds me of the Cult of Carter than anything else. It’ difficult to recall at this stage, but Carted has an entire “Cult of Personality” thing going in 1976. All it got him was unelected in four years. I’ll have an in-depth post on that later.
When you look at non-Presidents, the situation is even better. Joe McCarthy managed to wear out the public within four years. George Wallace collapsed. Ross Perot imploded. All three were in the public eye because of various Cult flavors.
And even if Barack Obama is the Democratic candidate, the general election is eight months away. Already, the Obamania is beginning to subside, which is why Barack has slowly been putting more substance into his speeches. I predict that by the time the convention rolls around in August, the Cult of Personality will be gone and Obama will have to stand on policy and accomplishment. His record in these matters, ignorant Obama attackers aside, is solid, if liberal. He has very specific policy proposals and a record in Illinois and in the Senate of — not exactly !!CHANGE!! — but gradual improvement.
So the Cult of Personality doesn’t bother me. In the end, it won’t win Obama the White House and it won’t stop him from enjoying the abuse Americans love to heap on their Presidents.