Friday, February 15, 2008

Your buddy Barack

Ok, I think people might be going overboard with the whole cult of Obama thing. Yes, Barack Obama's campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination is inspiring. It's great that he's gotten so many people, especially young people, excited about politics. But I wonder whether the fervent tone of some of his supporters will end up hurting rather than helping him.

Jake Tapper at ABC News wrote earlier this month that some supporters use practically messianic language to talk about Obama. And Slate political correspondent John Dickerson wonders whether Obama has gotten too hip for his own good. It's a good question. Can you be too cool to be president?

I guess believing in Barack is no different than the enthusiastic college students who went "clean for Gene" in 1968, or being "madly for Adlai" in the 1950s. Still, it's the religious overtones that make Obama worship a little disturbing.

Here's a recent example of the lengths to which Obamamania has gone. It's a pretty mild example, but combined with Barack-as-Messiah, I think it's part of a troubling trend. (Thanks to Fimoculous for the tip). It's called Barack Obama is your new bicycle and it's pretty funny. Well, at least to me it's funny - and strangely addictive. Judge for yourself. Just keep clicking. Apparently there's no limit to what the junior senator from Illinois will do for you. No task is too small - or too repetitive, since the list seems to repeat itself quite often.

It's cute and harmless enough. And wouldn't it be great if he really did send me flowers or dedicate a song to me or remember my birthday! And if he posted a comment on my blog, well, that would be pretty awesome. I think it pokes fun more at Obama's supporters than at the candidate. The problem is, things like that make me wonder whether he runs the risk of becoming a parody of himself.

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