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Cult sure club

vastleft's picture

Yesterday morning, I wrote a post on Democratic Underground that asked anyone who agreed there was a cultish element in the Obama campaign to "K&R" (kick — i.e., reply — and recommend) the thread.

I wrote it in the wake of dozens of "no cult here" posts (some snarky, some indignant) which, among other things, conflated Obama's flavor-of-the-month awesomeness with the accomplishments of Martin Luther King, Jr.

As I noted, the denial posts and the ensuing commentary routinely characterized those who smelled the whiff of cultism as GOP stooges and/or corrupt, racist Hitlery minions funded and programmed by the monolithic Clinton machine (so monolothic, it's running out of cash and is no match for Obama's celebrity and politico endorsements).

I concluded the initial post with a Sensible Obama Voter prophylactic (which was routinely ignored by respondents):

People who haven't lost their heads and have come to a reasoned decision to support Obama, this is not about you. The two candidates are awfully similar on policy, and unlike Michelle Obama, I have committed to supporting whichever one wins the nomination. But look at the guy next to you at the campaign rally. He's a little glazy-eyed.

In the 24-hour voting window, 147 users clicked "Recommend" to register their concern about the growing cultism around Obama, making it the highest-rated post on DU.

Ya think that maybe this a real problem? Could people who worry about it possibly be granted the same respect for their opinions that people who choose Obama on the merits deserve and usually get?

Apparently not, since this is what I learned from the Unity crowd:

  • Obama Criticism = Hate (too many examples to link)
  • Obama Critics = Racists and "Hillary's Harpies!" (post deleted by mods, but here was my reply)
  • Correntewire = "a bullshit site which is prone to making unsupportable statements by taking quotes out of context. A leftie Drudge, if you will." (Mind you this was verified by the commenter's rigorous five-minute study, so that's pretty much ironclad.)

My goal, as I've explained before, is to help Obama to run a better campaign. There is a 50% chance that he's the Democrat I'm voting for in November, and I don't want it to be a vote I regret.

A number of the K&Rers responded with sobering examples of cultism and some useful article links. And the deniers just denied and spat, saying that the likes of me hate hope, charisma, and winning elections. I was accused of having ulterior motives, being a mimicker of a media-created meme, and doing Karl Rove's bidding. And, for good measure, I was called an "asshole."

I've never felt so hopeful for change in my whole life, let me tell you.

As the thread wrapped up, I concluded...

One of the disturbing qualities of much of the pro-Obama rhetoric is the unyielding sense that the end justifies the means. Dredge up old Clinton hate and call her unelectable? No problem. Call her and her husband racists? Hey, if it gets us those precious vague promises of "hope," "change," and "unity," yes we can and will!

Likewise, every time he throws progressives under the bus and pisses away our real opportunity to shape the debate, it's always rationalized, and besides, he's doing pretty well in the campaign and will excite those all-fired important Indie and reformable Republican voters, so it's all good. It's not like we've won any elections recently. Well, except the last one. And we're kicking the GOP's butt in the court of public opinion. But whatever.

Well, it isn't all good. That's what we're saying.

Turn a smart, talented man into a demi-God, and nothing good will come out of it. At least that's how some of us see it.

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is his fans.

I've never seen some much venom and hate from alleged liberals and progressives.

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I would have said:
I’ve never seen so much venom and hate from alleged liberals and progressives against their fellow liberals and progressives.

Actually, being 51, I can remember one other time - the late 1970's, when my generation, having missed the legendary 60's, wanted their own decade to have as much meaning. So we tore out each others throats over small differences and large. And by discrediting ourselves, so discredited all of liberalism, thus setting the stage for the Reagan years and conservative ascendancy. Now a new generation of ennui-afflicted youth seems hell-bent on repeating our mistakes. Maybe things will be different this time - after all, they have one thing we didn't - a similarly roiling conservative opposition.

due to another commitment, I had to miss Obama's rally in Bangor today. What I've seen up here is a pretty effective Obama campaign with lots of young people on the phone. They've called me seven times with live people. Of course, I kept telling them I was on the fence. A couple of times I even had extended conversations, where I explained my many critiques of, for example, Obama's energy and health care positions, neither of which I like very much. All these Obama volunteers were smart and respectful. (Hillary, by contrast, presented only three robo calls.)

I will be standing for Obama tomorrow, and my rationale roughly is that Obama encourages & develops positive participation of those interested in social justice, 180 deg opposite of the fear-mongering Republicans.

No, he's not King. He's not even what we'd call "left." And how many in the crowd are letting their love for the man cloud their critical facilities? Probably a lot. It's disconcerting to see 9/11-conspiracy-promoter-like reaction to critique in any sphere. But in the world of ponies, I see Obama as the most significant multi-racial one to ride right now.

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My goal, as I’ve explained before, is to help Obama to run a better campaign.

I understand your concern Vastleft. As for the technique you’re using, taking comments from Obama supporters and using them to make a point about the Obama campaign and Obama “fans”, when journalists do this sort of thing they are justifiably criticized. But hey, we’re not journalists so WTF. If this is a valid way to ”help Obama run a better campaign” maybe the Clinton campaign could benefit from a look at her fan base. There’s no shortage of material at, say, Taylor Marsh's. How about it?

Do we think Hillary needs to find her voice again? Everything was peachy after New Hampshire, but Hillary seems to be listless again. Is it time Bill gets brought back in to start attacking Obama? Let's be honest, the race stuff was working, as much as it shames me to admit it.
Hayes08 | 02.10.2008 - 00:23 am link

…Obambi will lose this election for us. Let's face it. He can not win against McCain. For one I would rather see someone with McCain's experience than the neophyte Obambi is.,,
Tim | 02.10.2008 - 00:09 am Link

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... are you critiquing with these examples?

The specific issue that I'm writing about is the sense of cultish groupthink and messianic adulation in the Obama camp that some -- including yours truly -- are seeing more and more. Thus, Obamaites calling him our "savior" and the candidate promising "epiphanies" and claiming he's been "called" by God to lead us Moses-style, that seems kind of relevant.

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That's the problem. It's that the campaign encourages this kind of thing. For example:

There "come to Obama" training sessions linked in the earlier posting on this issue.

There's Oprah calling him "the one," which is a direct reference to a messiah story.

There's the campaign's imagery,

and (although the original is not quite as blurry as this photo)

Now, I could insult Obama's intelligence and claim that neither he nor anyone in his campaign has any idea what they're doing, but they seem like pretty sharp guys to me. So you tell me, is it a coincidence that all of this is emanating from his campaign at the same time?

There are many things to like about Barack Obama and his campaign, but this aspect of it is disturbing. And I don't think that makes me some GOP smear machine to say so.

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She called him "THE ONE"!!!!!!!!!!!! Why Oprah? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY? I am scared. I hope Hilary will save us from the cultists.

I am going to "pimp" this blog whenever and wherever I can. More people need to be exposed to this brilliance. Comedic Genius.

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I'm sorry, that's just creepy. It may be effective, but that just makes it even more creepy, IMO.

Honestly, it wouldn't take much for me to like Obama a whole lot more. My letter to him would look something like this:

1) Quit using religious imagery and narrative for your campaign, you're a politician, not a savior;
2) Quit running to the right on domestic policy and embrace universal healthcare;
3) Quit trying to claim racist attacks where there are none and quit dogwhistling to sexists (no more tea or claw remarks); and
4) Occasionally, just for shits and giggles, try to give a speech where you don't beg independents and Republicans to love you.

P.S. - quit trying to start a generation war by posing as a member of my generation. You're a baby boomer. Get over yourself. And for the record, no self-respecting Gen Xer would go on and on about John Kennedy like you do. I don't care if Teddy endorsed you. It's fucking embarrassing.

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I can't figure out if Obama supporters can't understand or won't understand. Oprah calling Obama "the one" was a reference to a particular story about a woman searching for a messianic figure. From the South Carolina rally:

Winfrey also touched on Christian themes that had not been highlighted in Iowa.

"It's amazing grace that brought me here," she began, adding that she was "stepping out of my pew" - television – to engage in politics.

It isn't enough to tell the truth, Winfrey said. "We need politicians who know how to be the truth."

Winfrey also recalled a story from "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman," a 1974 film based on Ernest Gaines' 1971 novel.

In Winfrey's telling, the protagonist – an old woman who had survived slavery and the Civil War – would ask every child, "Are you the one? Are you the one?"

"I do believe I do today we have the answer to Miss Pittman's question – it's a question that the entire nation is asking – is he the one?" Winfrey said. "South Carolina – I do believe he's the one."

According to one academic discussion of the book by Christopher Mulvey, a professor at University of Winchester in the United Kingdom, the passage continues to ask whether the child is the one who will "carry part of our cross," a "messianic figure."

And I'm not even going to go into her saying that it's not enough for politicians to tell the truth, they must BE the truth. Oh, wait, yes I am. She's speaking in the South and as someone who grew up there, let me translate. The Truth is The Word and The Word is God.

And for the record, Obama is not the truth and like all politicians, doesn't even always tell the truth.

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I think these posts speak for themselves. There are lots of –Clinton supporters--, I think that’s the polite way to refer to them, rather than the dismissive “fan base”, who post objectionable things in support of their candidate. There are undoubtedly Obama supporters who have a rational I disagree with or who overstate his positive attributes. But in the interest of improving the Clinton campaign…

I'm not joking. Hillary's campaign was humming when she and Bill got into the trenches. Politics is not about being nice and cordial. Obama plays that way and when he forces Hillary to be cordial, she's playing to his strengths. She needs to sic the attack dogs on Obama again. Bill is probably best at this. Obama is bringing serious numbers to the voting booths lately, and the momentum is going his way. When she starts talking about all her 35 years of experience it just reminds people that she's a Washington insider. Or how desperate they are to return to power. She needs to attack Obama as a poor choice to lead. It's her only chance now.Hayes08 | 02.10.2008 - 00:38 am link

You’ve got to love the use of an anonymous “close family friend” testimony on the next one. Mongomist3 is particularly well connected.

A very close family friend of mine did some work with Obama on legislation (sorry to be so vague). After receiving personal assurances that Obama would vote one way, the very next day he voted the opposite. Why couldn't Obama just say how he would vote? Is it that he didn't do his homework before the meeting and so he agreed to whatever my friend was suggesting? Or was it that he did not want to get into a difficult conversation so he told the man what he wanted to hear?

During this same time period, another congressman who has now endorsed Obama privately told my friend that he was "arrogant" and "difficult to work with." This was, of course, before Obama had decided to run for President...mangomist3 | 02.09.2008 - 11:57 pm link

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Since I have not posted here before--Hello.
I used to read kos alot, but can no longer stomach that site. However, I do enjoy this place-the humor alone is priceless!!!
Well, to my point-I also have noted the cult-like Obama appeal and did not like it at all. As a retired teacher (yes, an older Boomer-they can't get rid of us) a possible reason for this is certainly generational. I came of age during the cold war and was taught in school about the techniques of brain washing (such as testimonials and glittering generalities). We were taught this in order to fight off the 'commie menace', but some of us transferred it to other things-tv commercials, political speeches and ads. I taught govt. and econ. for years and noticed that in the past 15 years or so, these techniques were no longer covered in the curriculum. I guess a lack of 'the menace' accounted for that, but I taught them anyway because I thought it was important for people to think about ads and political speech. But, this lack of info. might account for part of the sway of his campaign.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... in these Hillary fan comments? Are they indicative of the nature of Hillary's campaign? Is she sending out dogwhistles that say to act that way, comparable to how Obama blatantly uses religious imagery (an Exodus-themed brochure saying he was "called to serve," the revival-meeting vibe, "epiphanies," etc.) that encourages the perception of him as a holy figure.

My point isn't that one can or can't find obnoxious posts by supporters of any candidate. My point is that the mocking denials of cultishness (which inspired the post [hey, I guess he is inspiring after all!]) are belied by the actual behavior of the candidate, his staff, his flagship supporters, and his online champions (in the very places where they are pooh-poohing these concerns about cultishness).

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I might have missed it but it looks to me like you were using a thread on Democratic Underground to make your case. As far as:

…the actual behavior of the candidate, his staff, his flagship supporters, and his online champions…

Your other links point to quotes from James Wolcott, Joe Klein etc…

As long as we’re looking at the way our candidates run their campaigns, didn’t John Kerry run as a Viet Nam war hero?

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Joe Klein is after them, and you know how painful that can be.

I think you need to get Sarah after them too. She can read their minds by staring at their pictures in AP Wire photos. Someone call the Larry King Show!


vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

1. Over the past several months, I've called Barack Obama to task for numerous statements he's made
2. In the course of that, I've often debated with Obama supporters online, notably here, at DailyKos, and at DU
3. Increasingly, I've sensed a disturbing cult-like belief in his transcendent infallibility among many of his adherents, both from those interactions with his online boosters and in coverage of his campaign events, etc.
4. I have heard others echo concerns about this cultish zeal
5. Recently, several bloggers and journalists have begun writing about this phenomenon, of a religion-like following developing around and seemingly encouraged by Obama and his campaign
6. In the past week, dozens of threads on Democratic Underground have derided the "cultism" theory
7. I wrote a post to test the waters to see if there were many others in that online community of Democrats who shared this perception (that there were cult-like elements in the campaign)
8. In fact, there were a lot of other Democrats who felt that way, and there were also many denials -- many of them comically nasty and nearly all of which suggested (like every other online discussion some of us have had with Obama fans) an abject unwillingness to doubt anything about the candidate
9. I shared my observations from that discussion

There you have it. So sue me.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Cultish elements do exist but no more than virtually any other political movement I've seen over my 55 years; I remember feeling that way back in the '60s but it didn't stop me from going to antiwar protests.
The question I ask myself is whether Obama's feints toward moderates and conservatives mean he wants to break bread with the GOP or just wants to steal their voters. So far I've concluded he justs wants to steal their voters so that he can help change the country in a progressive way.
Lets face it: the vast majority of people in this nation are low-information voters. Elections are almost never decided upon a careful examination of the issues; if they were, progressives would win almost all the time, as poll after poll shows most americans back progressive stances on most of the major issues.
I remember a poll in the summer of 1984 that found large majorities of americans supporting all the main planks of Walter Mondale's campaign and he lost 49 states.
Given that, I feel the decision between Hillary and Obama comes down to who do I feel is most progressive and who has the best chance to win. It seems to me Obama's sometimes fuzzy message does have a better chance of winning. What's more, given Bill's record and Hillary's votes, I'm even pretty sure he would be more progressive than Hillary. So I think he wins on both counts.
Finally, consider how Bush ran in 2000. He ran as a moderate and non-partisan. I never bought his guise but a lot of low-information voters did. Bush's right-wing backers knew exactly what he was doing and didn't complain.
Look beneath the sweet "one nation" rhetoric and you can see where Obama wants to go and I think he has a better shot of getting there than Hillary.

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I also wonder what the Obama campaign can do about it if some of his supporters use over the top rhetoric that we find too religious. How is he supposed to un-deify himself? I don't want to sue you I want to know what you think he's supposed to do?

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If he and his campaign and its surrogates stopped using religious imagery and rhetoric. His supporters take their cues from him. And even if they continue, at some point, that wouldn't be his fault. It's still not great, but the really troubling thing to me is that the campaign appears to be encouraging it. If they just stopped that, it would go a long way with me. Because there's only so much any of these people can do when it comes to their volunteers and supporters.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

1. Stop affecting the role of a revival preacher. More JFK (since you've claimed the mantle), less Benny Hinn.

2. Tone down the empty platitudes. If you're such a freaking great orator and transformative change-maker, challenge us, give us more policy and less chanting. Tell us what you're going to transform and change, and what it is "we can" do. Let us hope for something more than that you're lying to those independent and Republican voters you're courting so avidly. If you want to talk the talk of a "movement," how about telling us what you plan to move, where and how?

3. Stop validating rightwing memes. Galvanize the voters with something more honest and constructive than lies about our problems being two-way partisan bickering; seize on voters' proven dissatisfaction with today's GOP.

4. Talk sincerely to your adherents about the need for humility and realism.

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vastleft, i love you.

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1. Stop affecting the role of a revival preacher. More JFK (since you’ve claimed the mantle), less Benny Hinn.

In other words, "stop acting like a black politician, it's making me nervous! All that chanting and stuff - it's like a jungle cult."

And bringing up JFK as an example of a more modest and humble candidate is something I'd only expect from a comedian. Ever heard of "camelot"? Ever read some of the hagiographies of JFK from his devoted and worshipful staff?

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1. Stop affecting the role of a revival preacher. More JFK (since you’ve claimed the mantle), less Benny Hinn.

All mankind waits upon our decision. A whole world looks to see what we will do. We cannot fail their trust, we cannot fail to try.

It has been a long road from that first snowy day in New Hampshire to this crowded convention city. Now begins another long journey, taking me into your cities and homes all over America. Give me your help, your hand, your voice, your vote. Recall with me the words of Isaiah: “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary.”

As we face the coming challenge, we too shall wait upon the Lord, and ask that he renew our strength, Then shall we be equal to the test. Then shall we not be weary. And then we shall prevail.

Thank you.

Do you know who said that? JFK. Those are the closing words from JFK's Democratic National Convention acceptance speech on July 15, 1960.

Go ahead, look it up!


vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

1. JFK: "I believe in a President whose religious views are his own private affair, neither imposed by him upon the nation or imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office."

2. Obama:
"Committed Christian"
"Called to Serve"
"Called to Christ"
"...kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt I heard God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth and carrying out His works."
"Guided by his Christian faith, Barack Obama is the leader we can trust..." (per his brochure)

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what do you make of this story vastleft (great mighty cult hunter that you are)?

Hillary's Prayer: Hillary Clinton's Religion and Politics

why don't you stick your snoot down this rabbit hole and let us all know what ya come up with vastleft. Why dontcha?

Write a couple dozen or hundred hair on fire cult alert posts about some of the mysterious connections and ramifications of what that all might possibly mean. Go on now... do it.

Why not?


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Thanks for the reminder farmer. That ain’t Frodo’s Fellowship, now is it.

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The Question Hillary Clinton Won't Answer

C'mon Vastlet....chop chop! -- even Frederick Clarkson (who knows a hell of a lot more about "cults" than you do) wants an answer to the Ivanwald relashionship.

What's it gonna be Vastleft?... you and your little Toilet Bowl Turd Tossers around here are the Great Cult Slayers aren't you?

So Lets go, Lets go!... i don't have all night to fuck around with you and your self deluded toilet bowl splasher correntewire cult kooks!


Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

farmer wrote:

"So Lets go, Lets go!… i don’t have all night to fuck around with you and your self deluded toilet bowl splasher correntewire cult kooks!"

Simple solution. Pull that little handle and go with the flow.

Submitted by lambert on

I don't believe I wrote that I was voting for Hillary because she's Perfection Incarnate. I could be wrong; maybe I should go back and check.

Maybe this metaphor will help some of our newer readers sort out where many of us are coming from:

Suppose I were buying a house -- fantasy, I know, but supposing. And I go look at the house, and the situation is good, the kitchen (say) is great, the electrical system needs work, there's a tree I need to take down because it's impinging on the roof, the attic needs to be insulated, the plumbing is an eccentric blend of ancient and modern, but the sunlight from the east is beautiful.... Etc.

I have the house inspected, and I decide to take the house, and negotiate a price that takes all of these factors into account. And having done that, I Google the address, and I find the house was featured on This Old House and the house's perfections -- and imperfections -- are a matter of public record. So I can have some confidence.

So, somebody sidles up to me and says: "Jeebus, did you know the plumbing is terrible?" And I say Yes, it's in the price!

Somebody else takes me aside to say: "My gawd. Mike, the electrician, says he's going to send his kids to college on your house!" And I say: Yes, it's in the price!

Or an anonymous caller gets me on the phone late at night and whispers: "You'd better take those trees down, becuuse your abutter's gonna sue." And I say: Yes, it's in the price!

So, most of the hit comments on Hillary that we seem to be getting these days are "one point wonders" that combine a link, the analytical equivalent of "Ain't it awful," and a directive to "Go read this!"

But these points are in the price.

They have been taken into account. And since the OFB has cheerfully adopted so many of the false right wing narratives about Hillary, it's very hard to see how playing whack-a-mole with yet another one would be worth more than, say, reading my junk mail carefully. (If I were the dreadful cynic that Obama thinks I am, I might even think that these comments are here not to engage with the Corrente community, but simply as fodder for the search engines.)

Oh, and I'm not buying the new house down the road because I don't like facades made out of styrofoam. Those fancy new McMansions give me the creeps. No sugary drinks today for me, alas, even though I really, really like them; my diabetes is acting up real bad.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by lambert on

I knew it would come to that. Heck, I got called a racist over at what used to be the Daily Kos for using "stuck pig squeals" in a headline. Remarkable, isn't it, or not, how the Unity campaign is willing to use the most toxic discourse imaginable for short term tactical gain--like Hillary hatred, or the long forgotten sour grapes over voter fraud in NH and NV. It's a disturbing pattern. But I guess calling bullshit on bullshit makes me cynical. Obama seems to think so.

Last I checked, Benny Hinn was white. Far be it from me to suggest that somebody who automatically associates revival preachers with black revival preachers may be projecting their own racism onto others...

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Who knows or cares if you are racist? But complaining that a black democrat sounds like a revivalist preacher is idiotic pearl clutching. If you have never heard Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton or Major Owens or any of a large number of black Democrats over the last 50 years speak, then get a fucking education. Since all this makes you nervous - you could start listening to some of Bill Clinton's old speeches. If you want to contrast black revival style with white revival, listen to Jimmy Carter's speeches. Here's a fact: American politicians who sound like Michael Dukakis LOSE ELECTIONS outside of New England.

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American politicians who sound like Michael Dukakis LOSE ELECTIONS outside of New England.

you mean like JFK?

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I have absolutely nothing substantive to add to this thread except to note that I am going to look up the formula for turning vastleft into a newt for giving me the Boy George eye/earworm.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I was all set to reengage with you this morning about the Mother Jones article re: Hillary's prayer group (which BTW Correntewire has written about, and which I rue being part of the package of the better, IMHO, candidate).

But not only did you not defend Obama's brochure (For your convenience, "Someone called him a damned Muslim, so he had to nail himself to the cross" is the standard answer), you threw some turds in my breakfast, so with all due respect, thanks for sharing.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I keep turning the lines "man without conviction," "how to sell a contradiction," and "not your rival" over in my head, but whom they apply to is in the ear of the beholder.

P.S., Your newt curse worked. Got better, though.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

There have been some recent diaries on DKos about this that explained it to my satisfaction -- the Obama thing isn't really a cult. I've never been a supporter of Clinton, really (I know it's unfair to judge her on Bill's actions as president, but I fear she'd be much more aggressive and disrespectful in foreign affairs than Obama -- it may be unfounded, but I'm not a citizen anyway), so now that there are only two candidates left, I change my support from the very progressive Edwards to the much-less-establishment-y Obama. Many have similar stories (apparently), taking to Obama after Dodd wasn't gaining traction, Edwards dropped out, Al Gore and Wesley Clark weren't entering, etc. His huge crowds may be a bit cultish, but I think that's underestimating the large groups of people who attend these things. If anyone's a rock star, it's Mike Huckabee, but thankfully, the large crowds can see through the bullshit. I mean, he's been Colbert-bumped over and over again, and if this helps him on the Republican side it'll be very good for us. (: People CAN make their own decisions, and I'm sure that if you ask, you'll find that most Obama supporters have similar reasons for choosing their candidate to supporters of other candidates.

That's not to say that I agree with everything the Obama campaign has done, etc. I just think that, everything considered, Obama would make a better president.

I haven't even mentioned race and sex, and I won't except in this sentence -- they are unnecessary in this discussion.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I'll speak for myself. I'm 37, white, male. I have a group of friends (I'm thinking of about 7 other people here) who pay a lot of attention to the news and a lot of attention to government. Some of us on occasion get more personally involved in party politics (one of them is a precinct captain, a couple of us went to donor dinners for Kerry, some door-to-door work, etc.) Overall we're active, but not super-active.

We all caucused here (Washington state) yesterday. And almost all of us caucused for Obama. I caucused for Edwards, decided not to switch my vote (it wouldn't have made a difference in the delegate count), and spent my time tallying delegate votes for the Obama camp. I believe one other friend caucused for Hillary.

I heard a lot of speeches and arguments for both candidates. And repeatedly, Obama supporters stated that they feel he's got the best chance of beating John McCain. I'm not sure whether that is true or not (yes, I realize it's the popular meme), but that is what is driving local Obama support more than anything.

I don't know any glassy-eyed Obama supporters. I went to the large Obama rally a couple days ago held downtown. I didn't get in to the Arena, like thousands of others, and hung out outside for about an hour and a half. It was a political rally, with predictable speeches and predictable cheering, but it wasn't a cult. There were some younger people who were very excited about Obama, but their devotion wasn't really about Barack, it was about their own excitement at participating in and caring about the political process for the first time in their lives.

Back to the first point - there are a huge number of people in Obama's camp because the most important thing to them - beyond specifically Iraq, or the economy, or health care, etc. - is to get a Democrat in the White House.

I like Corrente. A lot. But these sniping snarking posts about Obama supporters are bullshit. Yes, there are some "cultish" supporters - out of tens of millions of people, I'm sure there are also pedophiles, murderers, and drug peddlers who support Obama. Of course, the same is true of Clinton supporters.

If you want to attack the press for not treating the candidates equally, go ahead. It's true, and it's obvious, and it sucks that the press eliminated Edwards (and Richardson, and Kucinich, and others) so early on. But your grudge there is with the press.

It's ironic. Yes, Obama is more likely to use platitudes and rhetoric in his speeches, but the huge backbone of support for Obama is based on that coldest, most practical of reasons - electability.

Here's what cheers me up. The turnout here yesterday was more than double the turnout from 4 years ago, which was at the time a historically high turnout. This race is without a doubt the Democrats to lose.

- a.c.

Submitted by lambert on

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Your link to one person's opinion is just that - one person's opinion.

One idiot comment is just that - one idiot comment. They are prevalent on both sides of the aisle.

I'm not an Obama supporter. I'm not a Clinton supporter. I didn't like Edwards all that much, but he was my top choice.

My point is not about Obama, or Clinton, or people who support either one of them. It's directed to vastleft and lambert. It's time to move on. Yes, some of the other dude's backers are annoying. We all know that - as a lawyer would put it, everyone stipulates to it.

Obviously you don't let everything in your life bother you in this way. Don't eat vegetables because there are racists who eat vegetables! Don't breathe air because there are sexists who breathe air! Etc.

There is a difference between correlation and causality. If people became mindless cultists _because_ they supported a particular candidate, that would be a bigger problem, don't you think?

Yes. Obama's support trends much younger than Hillary's, and largely because of that he's got a greater preponderance of supporters who like him because of how he makes them feel. It's not a big deal, and it's a relatively small part of his support.

The people I know who support Obama are as calculating (though not at all cold) as they come. They've got their eyes on the prize - a November win. It's cynical, yes, and sad that our system is that way.

But please, stop being rude to the people who didn't agree with you about which candidate to support. The only reason you're continually trying to make this point is because you want to make other people feel bad. It's pointless. The people who "aren't cultists" aren't cultists, and the people who "are cultists" won't listen to you anyway, right?

If you really want to make people feel shameful, choose some easier target, like recovering drug addicts or insecure teenagers.


- a.c.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

American politicians incorporating revivalist preacher sermons into their speeches!

Crowds chanting!

Supporters who act like star-struck rock fans!

Emotional political speeches!

Ya'll are new to all this?

leah's picture
Submitted by leah on

for your clear-eyed report of what actually happened.

Hey Everybody, can we just get a grip, here.

Are we really ready to lose in November because we can't learn how to talk to one another about differences between those who are clearly on our side.

Vastleft and Lambert, seems to me that some of the obsession with the OFB and especially the theme of cultism, no matter your attempts to stay "reasoned" have been over the top. Especially discussions of cult=Hitler. It becomes meaningless at that point.

Obama is becoming more substantive, and the numbers of voters he's attracting simply can't be understood by invoking cultism.

I tend to agree with Farmer on this, minus the rage and the insults.

Clearly, the commentators to whom you object, although they seem to dominate comment threads all over the place, are probably a small minority of Obama supporters. Marine Owl's description of his own experience is one I've heard again and again.

Obama appears to have out-organized Clinton on the ground, among the grassroots, that is an important

And even to a.c., I would say this; of course Obama's presidency, if such a thing is to be, will be entirely different from Bill Clinton's. This is an entirely different time, with different challenges. I think Hillary's would be too.

Although I voted for Obama, I still have problems with the ways I feel he is being divisive in his attitudes and the way he is campaigning against Hillary Clinton. Where the hell does his wife get off saying that she isn't sure she could vote for Hillary? What? She's so pure? She's going to vote for Nader?

Let's be clear here, it was the Obama campaign that played the race card, by pretending to be "disturbed" by a pattern that wasn't a pattern.

My worry about Obama, he has had almost a free ride from the press; the kind of coverage visited upon both Clintons isn't just unfair, its continuously contemptuous, hateful, and utterly and completely mendacious. With McCain as the candidate, at some point Obama's coverage is going to change and I do hope he's ready for that.

There is also something else that is at stake in the media's relationship to the Clintons, and I have a hard time accepting the willingness of the Obama campaign to use so many of the media/rightwing tropes about both Clintons, because we are talking about nothing less than the on-going public dehumanization of two prominent people, who don't just happen to be Democrats, who happen to be Democrats who figured out how to win against the rightwing smear machine, although not without their individual reputations being permanently shredded, not on the basis of what they actually did, on the basis of the lies told about them.

No one try and tell me that such a phenomenon has no impact on our public discourse.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

and always enjoyed listening to him speak. But then in addition to oratory, he also said something of substance.

That's kinda important.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Bill Clinton interrupted his first run for the Presidency to go back to Arkansas and pull the switch on a retarded black man on death row (who asked the jailer if he could save his desert for later after the execution). Bill Clinton, to huge applause from the punditocracy, went out of his way to attack a teenage rap artist - showing that he was not a "captive of special interests" which everyone knows means "not too damn friendly with the n___gers". Clinton ran on "ending welfare as we know it" and then showed his liberal supporters like Peter Edelman that he really did mean to support republican welfare "reform" when he took office. When Clinton said it was not surprising that Obama won SC, he was saying "Obama is the BLACK CANDIDATE".

Let's not play innocent about race in America.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I don't disagree with anything you say. You are discussing the candidates, who are both (in my opinion) quite flawed.

I don't mind discussing where the candidates and their campaigns go off track. It's the opposite - I've directed a number of my friends to corrente precisely because lambert and others clearly delineate many of Obama's negatives.

I'll repeat it - I'm not an Obama backer. That's not a theoretical statement. Yesterday, as a member of Washington precinct 46-2273, I attended our caucus, and cast my lot with John Edwards. And I did not change that vote.

But I've got a lot of very thoughtful, very progressive friends who chose Obama. They did so knowing his flaws, and knowing Hillary's flaws. Calling them "cultists", even associatively, is offensive.

To further my point - if I was to say:

"Did you ever notice how many people named Bob are total assholes? If that's your name, and you're not an asshole, than I'm not talking about you so don't be offended - but man, those Bobs seriously get on your nerves, don't they? The ones that are assholes, I mean."

That's rude to people named Bob. Sure, you can word-parse the statement to claim that "I'm only talking about the asshole sub-class", but in actual communication, it's just a rude thing to say to everyone under the larger class (people named Bob).

Submitted by lambert on


If Obama is becoming more substantive, then I'm betting it has a lot to do with pushback from people like me. That's hard work, especially in a media environment that isn't doing the vetting, and in a blogging environment that's less uncritical than would have ever seemed possible, and in the face of extreme online hostility to any criticism of Obama whatsoever.

More later. I see the Clintons are stilll racists, as am I. Good to know. Maybe the responsible Obama supporters could clean that up, instead of leaving it to us?

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

"If Obama is becoming more substantive, then I’m betting it has a lot to do with pushback from people like me."


And I'm betting it has nothing to do with attacks on his supporters as mindless cultists.

Submitted by lambert on

And I don't accept it. And your guys admit is a problem, see link above. And why would that be? Pushback, again. (The response is "that's one guy's opinion," which betrays a lack of understaning about how posts get rec'ed at Kos and get 100s of comments.)

And as I said above, one excellent way for Obama supporters to show they're just that, and not, in my word, fans, would be to clean up after themselves on all the cries of racism, and lying, and yadda yadda yadda, instead of leaving it for us to do. Because if we had more time to do real work, maybe we could be giving your guy more of the pushback that we agree he needed.

I write in haste, as I must immediately leave to caucus for Hillary. More later.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Uh, no. The subject of this thread is "Cult sure club". That's not a title I came up with, and it's not a frame I would ever choose, because I don't think it's appropriate.

And please stop saying "your guys". I've already said multiple times that I don't support Obama, and I didn't vote for him in our caucus yesterday.

I'm very clear on how posting works at Kos.

Supporting a candidate does not make someone responsible or accountable for stupid actions taken by other people supporting that candidate.

Enjoy your caucus. I recommend you get a panoramic perspective on the people there supporting Obama.


Submitted by Avedon on

You know, I actually still tend to lean toward Obama, but when I write nasty things about Hillary on my blog, people barely seem to notice. If I criticize something about Obama, people write really nasty, personal things in my comment threads. That's what bugs me.

(I don't understand about supporters of either of them who say it's about electability. If that were the case, why didn't they support Edwards?)

And I agree with Leah about the divisiveness.

I'm really starting to hate this campaign.

More liberal media at The Sideshow.

Submitted by lambert on


[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Some background: Obama started his campaign quite tamely, except the aura of "I am marvelous" you must vote for me. It didn't work. Then Obama adopted the Bush 2000 campaign strategy: uniter/not divider, have a beer with me, attack the Clintons and most importantly adopt some actual ideas: social security is THE problem (factually wrong), limited health care, bomb Pakistan, etc.

At that point it became clear, if you listened, that the means are more important than the vision and Obama was well positioned to the right of Hillary. Claims that he has a progressive heart require an Egyptologist to excavate.

Then he adopted the brutal part of Bush's techniques: attack the opposition viciously, racially swift boat the Clintons, say one thing and then interpret it the opposite way and scream bloody murder if you disagree, etc.

Now you have in Obama a mean, nasty, destructive and highly arrogant candidate with TV envaglist's appeal to a country soaking Clinton hate. This is where the cult comes in. When you preach the name of God, Obama, people wont let you insult Jesus, Obama again.

Enjoy, this travesty may be our second travesty president in a row. Tickets to Australia are still cheap.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

So here we have a candidate whose path to the White House is by a personality cult as some sort of messianic figure. Meanwhile, Bush has taken for himself all sorts of extra powers that don't seem to be part of the President's usual job description. So, what happens to all these extra powers when the messiah takes control?

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I am a mindless Obamabot.

I believe that opposing the Iraq war, Kyl-Lieberman, cluster bombs, waterboarding, and flag-burning legislation, and supporting open government are both liberal and correct.
I believe that selling out to the Republicans on these issues portends more selling out when one is President.
I believe that the it is race-baiting when a campign describes the other candidate as the “black candidate,” harps on his Islamic-sounding middle name, and compares him to Jesse Jackson.
I believe it is race-baiting when a campaign says that Latinos will not support a black candidate.
I don’t believe it’s racist to point these things out.
I believe that to win in the general election it is important to do well among swing voters.
I believe that doing well among swing voters is the key to winning congressional and senatorial races as well, and that the choice of a presidential nominee has some influence on that.
I believe in Howard Dean’s “50 state strategy.”
I believe that a President with guaranteed high negatives is less likely to be able to get a liberal agenda through Congress.
I believe that saying the Michigan and Florida delegations should be seated at the convention (despite the rulings of the party and the unanimous written consent of the candidates) is unethical.

I am a mindless Obamabot, controlled only by the evil charisma of Obama.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

..and delete my following apology, too.

Submitted by lambert on

mindless obamabot:

I notice the use of anaphora ;-)

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

American politicians who
Submitted by whaleshaman (not verified) on Sun, 2008-02-10 15:12.

American politicians who sound like Michael Dukakis LOSE ELECTIONS outside of New England.

you mean like JFK?

* reply

JFK didn't sound like Michael Dukakis. He drew huge crowds of frenzied supporters, many of whom idolized him. If you want to hear 20 point plans, don't look to the speeches of JFK. What' you'll see there instead is an emotional appeal and a bunch of non-specific "change".

There has also been a change--a slippage--in our intellectual and moral strength. Seven lean years of drouth and famine have withered a field of ideas. Blight has descended on our regulatory agencies--and a dry rot, beginning in Washington, is seeping into every corner of America--in the payola mentality, the expense account way of life, the confusion between what is legal and what is right. Too many Americans have lost their way, their will and their sense of historic purpose.

It is a time, in short, for a new generation of leadership--new men to cope with new problems and new opportunities.

All over the world, particularly in the newer nations, young men are coming to power--men who are not bound by the traditions of the past--men who are not blinded by the old fears and hates and rivalries-- young men who can cast off the old slogans and delusions and suspicions.

The Republican nominee-to-be, of course, is also a young man. But his approach is as old as McKinley. His party is the party of the past. His speeches are generalities from Poor Richard's Almanac. Their platform, made up of left-over Democratic planks, has the courage of our old convictions. Their pledge is a pledge to the status quo--and today there can be no status quo.

For I stand tonight facing west on what was once the last frontier. From the lands that stretch three thousand miles behind me, the pioneers of old gave up their safety, their comfort and sometimes their lives to build a new world here in the West. They were not the captives of their own doubts, the prisoners of their own price tags. Their motto was not "every man for himself"--but "all for the common cause." They were determined to make that new world strong and free, to overcome its hazards and its hardships, to conquer the enemies that threatened from without and within

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Ricky Ray Rector was not retarded- he had shot himself following his crimes, and was brain damaged. He had been found competent to stand trial. I am against capital punishment in all cases, but when it is the law, I think that it is even worse for a governor to apply it selectively.

Sister Souljah was not a "teenage rapper" in 1992. She was 26, and had a very impressive set of accomplishments:

Clinton did not go "out of his way to attack a teenage rap artist," he responded to this statement, made by a 26 year old writer, activist, rapper, media figure: "If Black people kill Black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people?"

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Sistah Souljah said what she said in an interview where she was trying to describe the mindset of LA gang members. What she said was that if the society was willing to tolerate gang violence against blacks in LA, nobody should be surprised if the gangsters broadened their scope. Clinton, in a tactic that seems oddly familiar, took her comments out of context and used them, as Wikipedia gingerly says:

reinforc[ed] the image, in the eyes of moderate and independent voters, of a centrist politician who was “tough on crime” and “not influenced by special interests.”

Clinton's remarks were consistent with his larger strategy: running to the right of the Democratic mainstream on many issues.

Ricky Ray Rector started out retarded and was sentenced to death when he was so brain damaged that he asked his jailers if he could save dessert for "after" execution. Of course, Governers often have the ability to pardon or commute and are never obligated to rush home from the campaign trail to sign the papers.

shystee's picture
Submitted by shystee on

This post is about the cult-like nature of Obama supporters. In classic Troll fashion, rootless has successfully derailed the comment thread into something completely unrelated. Sistah Souljah? What does that have to do with the cult-like nature of Obama supporters. Nothing.

As many have stated before, one of the worst things about the Obama campaign is the behavior of his supporters.

Bill Clinton, to huge applause from the punditocracy, went out of his way to attack a teenage rap artist - showing that he was not a “captive of special interests” which everyone knows means “not too damn friendly with the n___gers”.

So is that what Obama meant by refusing to take money from "special interests"?

Give us a break, rootless, seriously. You're not winning any converts, just reinforcing the negative impression of the OFB.

Submitted by lambert on

The "cult-like" (my word is "fan") nature of some Obama supporters.

Certainly not, for example, Leah (or mindless obamabot, for that matter, despite the double post (assuming the same content not to have been pasted elsewhere, in which case I take it back)).

That said, I have to rush out again (having been trounced at the caucuses, which were wonderful anyhow).

Are we still racists? Or has that been dealth with?

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

This post is about the cult-like nature of Obama supporters. In classic Troll fashion, rootless has successfully derailed the comment thread into something completely unrelated. Sistah Souljah? What does that have to do with the cult-like nature of Obama supporters. Nothing.

Vastleft starts by providing evidence for the cult like nature of Obama supporters with some wacky quotes pulled from DU. Antiphone shows that just as wacky quotes can be pulled from
Clinton supporters at Taylor Marsh's comment section. And then, in a profound moment of circular reasoning Vastleft explains that these quotes show nothing, since Obama's campaign is the one with cultlike behavior!

vastleft then offers more helpful advice to Obama to stop acting like a revivalist preacher. When it's pointed out that that means to stop acting like almost every Black Democrat in the last 30 years, we get told that it's typical of the cultlike Obama supporters to make accusations of racism - like the wildly unfounded ones about the Clintons. So I point out that Bill has certainly used racist themes to his advantage before ...

shystee's picture
Submitted by shystee on

Lambert, "cult" may not be your term but it is the title of Vastleft's post and it's used often in the body of the post.

Agreed that I should use the "some" modifier. Not all Obama supporters are mindless cult member robots. Hopefully most are not. Some do sound that way, though, and that is cause for concern or at least something to talk about.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Sez Leah:

Vastleft and Lambert, seems to me that some of the obsession with the OFB and especially the theme of cultism, no matter your attempts to stay “reasoned” have been over the top. Especially discussions of cult=Hitler. It becomes meaningless at that point.

The more I look at the dynamics around Obama, the more I am distressed at the blind rage of his supporters. They will brook no questioning or dissent. Every criticism = hate. And the revival dynamics and mindless, hollow chants that suggest a "movement" of "change" and "transformation" -- without any evidence of substance or goals beyond the veneration and coronation of the New Jesus -- are feeding into it.

Sorry, one tune I don't play is "get over it." Maybe you're not saying those three little words, but let's not pretend that you and others aren't giving me brushback pitches about pursuing this controversial topic.

When something smells rotten, I'm not going to pretend it away. I know the blogging pays well (especially when, as DUers keep telling me, I'm paid by the Hillary camp), but it's not worth it to me if I have to put up and shut up.

Everyone wants us to "get over it" in some way. Conservative authoritarians have been telling us to get over every crime they've committed our whole lives, and lots of people tell us to put away our "obsessions" with truth before reconciliation. Obama wants us to get over the fights of the '60s and '90s. And the Obamaites want us to get over their oppressive joinerism and cult of infallibility.

And Obama = Hitler? Is that really what you're hearing from me? Where? I think once in comments I made a joke about being tempted to break Godwin's Law. What else? And could you blame me if I did go there with this chant-don't-think thing reaching such a boil?

People hate to hear a mellow harshed, and it's a naturally comforting thing to say "stop the bickering." But one of the most important times to be boldly shrill is when logic is being beaten to a pulp by cheap emotion.

The dynamics that Avedon describes -- the routinely angry swarming by Obama fans -- cause me to agree with her "about the divisiveness" and "really starting to hate this campaign," but they also tell me this is precisely not the time and place to STFU.

We've seen time and again, when people of conscience want to unilaterally unharsh the mellow, it's called capitulation. What else could it be?

MLK knew that even when he was protesting peacefully (the most admirable way), he had to make the establishment feel the pain. "Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue."

Am I a racist who's claiming my "struggle" against OFB cultism is in any way comparable to the struggles for Civil Rights, or for suggesting that Obamism has become something of an establishment? Well, it's a given that that's how the OFB would play it. As I noted, the culmination of the DU thread that this post was about was to learn that because I have concerns about Obama's campaign, I am therefore a racist... and a Hillary Harpy (a unifying word that).

Anyway, as long as I can get away with it, I don't intend to capitulate to angry, thoughtless people.

And no, this doesn't by any stretch mean all or a majority of Obama supporters (though you could fool me based on what I've seen on DU and Dkos), and I don't think it's -- as I suppose you suppose I suppose -- a major reason for his success.

My very premise is that he could run a successful, better, and more wholesome campaign -- with a better shot at governing well, because he'll then escape the bubble of infallibility -- if he took the steps I suggested upstream.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

we decided to list characteristics that would distinguish an honest, passionate, hard-working supporter of Obama from a divisive, Republican covert-ops troll, paid to sow dissent before the convention?

What would these trolls focus on, as per their master, Rove? Preying on a candidate's strengths.

Obama has as strengths his community-building, his real ties to religious organizations, and his unforced trust that people united can make a difference.

How would trolls prey on that? By targeting blogs with undecided and/or swing voters, and successfully convince those voters that Obama attracts irrational, zealous 'fans' -- voters not in it for the long haul, but have the pitch and drop-off characteristics of Britney Spears fen.

No swing voter wants to see him or herself in such a crowd, but if they could express their concerns and get them addressed respectfully, they could still hang around and be Obama voters. But no, the trolls have to set everyone against everyone, so they harder and start attacking those who've barely questioned their zealousness and rationality, until the fighting is the topic, not the constituency-building among the disparate parts of the party that must happen before the convention.

How do we tell fan from troll? I don't know. I do know that since the Republican campaign manages to lock their candidate down early, they've got lots of funds to spread their message of hate anyway they can. I wouldn't be surprised if they're doing it here.

Again, I ask the question: How do we tell when we're getting played? How do I share my concerns about the candidates (I've been mute on Hillary, since she's been piled on for decades, so nothing I could say would be new), without contributing to the evil Republicans do?


Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

"They will brook no questioning or dissent."

Strange that being called cultists, republicans in disguise, victims of a "con artist" and so on would antagonize anyone.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... to "Concern Troll"? Just a suggestion.

Do you think the problems that Digby and Avedon have experienced with the OFB are due to them calling them "cultists," etc.?

Also, you've got it wrong. Obama skeptics are the "Republicans in disguise," "people doing Karl Rove's bidding," and "dupes who are falling for the MSM's latest B.S." Please do keep the talking points straight.

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

Disclaimer: I've been known to be paranoid, it comes from living too long in the Twilight Zone.


Not all of the Oborg may in fact be Oborg.

In fact, I would not be surprised if the most virulent here weren't even Democrats at all and didn't really give a frelling fark about Obama.

Some of them likely serve another master, IMHO, and if progressive Democrats spend a lot of time ripping each other up as a result of their agitation, so much the better.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

(If I may be so bold as to use a German term)

My request for examples of Obama cultism was swamped by flame posts and shut down by the mods.

I did my best to broach a controversial topic in a measured way, but it appears that the loud shall inherit the Earth.

The good news is that I got this handy blurb, and I didn't even have to pay Cokie Roberts for it: "An example of an HRC supporters mastery of the fine art of sarcasm."

Oh, and rootless, do enjoy your process of picking apart my post for signs of disingenousness and rudeness.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

The discussions on DU and DKos are uncontaminated by Obama supporters pleading with their fellow OFBers for more moderate communication.

So either your theory is wrong, or...?

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I did my best to broach a controversial topic in a measured way, but it appears that the loud shall inherit the Earth.

It surprises you that "I'd like to discuss the cult like behavior of you people" is poorly received?

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Typical out-of-context quote. I actually said “Listen, douchebags, I’d like to discuss the cult like behavior of you people -- or whatever the hell you are.”

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

As I noted to Kelley B, the discussions on DU and DailyKos are, at least when they get testy, almost completely devoid of "voice of reason" Obama fans.

So, either the loudmouths are driving out the more rational types (though I see no howls of protests from "I'm out of here" brethren/sistren), or every one of them is a plant -- which requires a tinfoil hat large enough to use as a nuclear centrifuge.

Therefore, I conclude that these folks are "legit."

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... quite simpatico with the groupthink vibe one hears at the rallies.

Perhaps I need to up my Nexium dose, but I truly cannot stomach listening to these Obama-is-Jesus fests.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Submitted by vastleft on Sun, 2008-02-10 19:16.

Typical out-of-context quote. I actually said “Listen, douchebags, I’d like to discuss the cult like behavior of you people — or whatever the hell you are.”

I was trying to be nice.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I agree that Obama encourages this behavior and is unlikely to do anything to discourage it. At a rally in South Carolina he said

“At some point in the evening, a light is going to shine down and you will have an epiphany and you’ll say, ‘I have to vote for Barack.’”

He excels at packing himself that when he says lines like this

"We are tired of being disappointed by our politicians in Washington."

Nobody stops and says, "Hey wait--that includes you!"

(Side note: At last night's Virginia J-J dinner, Hillary's speech was considered substantively better than his but it didn't seem to make a difference in the end.)

I'm put off by the whole "bask in the greatness of my awesomeness" as if somehow we can change the world.

I don't want to vote for a romantic myth. But that is what he's selling and people are flocking to it in droves. And this is why the OFB refuse to consider that Obama is anything less than perfect. They don't want to hear that the Emperor Has No Clothes. And it's not just limited to the OFB. Look what happened every time we tried pointing out that Bush had no clothes.

Canadian blogger Rob Hyndman (via, emphasis mine:

But I’ve been lied to, conned, tricked, deceived, gerrymandered, filibustered, last-minute amended, secretly lobbied, slush-funded, cash-enveloped, PAC-ed, Watergated, WMD’ed, Abu Ghraib-ed, Judith Miller-ed, curveball-ed, yellow-caked, push poll-ed and Willie Horton-ed to within an inch of my political life, and I don’t trust any politician as far as I can spit. The most important political skill I have left - and I’m convinced that this is true for all of us - is my skepticism, and I just do not accept any longer that someone wants what they say they want and is who they say they are simply because they say so and can buy a lot of pretty advertising that repeats that claim. And as far as I’m concerned, the fact that a candidate can say so literately, even beautifully, can marshall the popular kids to their cause, and can tap into the deeply-held needs and the beliefs of the electorate, makes me more skeptical, not less. So far, all of that - every last bit of it - is TV and advertising - is entertainment, nothing more, nothing less - and I want to see action - a solid, demonstrable record that a candidate is who they say they are and wants what they say they want - before I can be called to action.

Obama may be that guy. He may well be Neo, the messiah - he may even be the one guy left who can save us from the world going to hell in a hand basket. But I don’t want a political romance, and I’m not hungry for a return to the halcyon days of Camelot. I want someone who has a proven passion and ability to fix a broken system. And until I see that in a candidate, I’m more wary than credulous, and I’m suspending my belief.

I remember talking with a relative in July 2000 and she told me "We're voting for Bush because we like him." I replied, "We're not because we think he's an ass." And she seemed genuinely surprised we didn't think he was a good guy to support.

I guess, according to Lambert's post, that makes me cynical. And if Obama doesn't like that, tough shit.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

My coding screwed up somewhere. That's what I get for not using preview. Here are the parts I had intended to bold

1. The most important political skill I have left - and I’m convinced that this is true for all of us - is my skepticism, and I just do not accept any longer that someone wants what they say they want and is who they say they are simply because they say so and can buy a lot of pretty advertising that repeats that claim.

2. But I don’t want a political romance, and I’m not hungry for a return to the halcyon days of Camelot. I want someone who has a proven passion and ability to fix a broken system. And until I see that in a candidate, I’m more wary than credulous, and I’m suspending my belief.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Former President Clinton, meanwhile, spent the day campaigning for his spouse among African American voters in Washington, D.C. and suburban Maryland. At the evangelical Temple of Praise congregation in Washington, he said that the contest between his wife, who would be the nation's first woman president, and Obama, who would be the nation's first African American president, was divinely inspired.

"All my life I have wanted to vote for a woman for president," Clinton told 800 parishioners at the Temple of Praise. "All my life I have wanted to vote for an African American for president. . . . I wonder why God gave us this dilemma."

Divinely inspired? You'd think that we live in a country packed with religious christians or something.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Look at the bottom of your post "Nice job VL." You should see three buttons in (bold at the moment) red, reading "Delete" "Edit" and "Reply." Hit the one marked "Edit" and it will reopen your post and you can fix the mistake.

Hint: you left an extra < b > command in the middle of the larger part you wanted to highlight. All "on" commands must be matched with the same number of "off" ones i.e. < / b >

Same rule as Closing Hatches On Submarines: Take number of "dive" orders and divide by orders to "surface." If you get an odd number...shut the hatch. :)

(I can see it but can't fix it without listing myself as the author. I have been leaning on our Esteemed Coder to fix this but he keeps coming up with flimsy excuses like "avoiding starvation" with other work.)

Submitted by lambert on

I really want to wait for the new Drupal release and make a lot of changes at once. Any work I do now is going to be throwaway, and the release is close...

Sorry! And thank you, Xan, for your lucid explanation.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I'm usually pretty good about making sure I switch off whatever I switch on. However, one of my kids chose that precise moment to ask me a desperately urgent question and I got distracted.

You should see three buttons in (bold at the moment) red, reading “Delete” “Edit” and “Reply.”

I'll be the first to admit my eyesight sucks but I'm not seeing these. I only see "Reply."

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Now if I could only do math in my head so I can answer the little math quiz before posting without counting on my fingers....

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

The more I look at the dynamics around Obama, the more I am distressed at the blind rage of his supporters. They will brook no questioning or dissent. Every criticism = hate. And the revival dynamics and mindless, hollow chants that suggest a “movement” of “change” and “transformation” — without any evidence of substance or goals beyond the veneration and coronation of the New Jesus — are feeding into it.

Sorry, one tune I don’t play is “get over it.” Maybe you’re not saying those three little words, but let’s not pretend that you and others aren’t giving me brushback pitches about pursuing this controversial topic.

Speaking for myself, yeah, I'm saying get over it.

Because you're wrong. You've got a really skewed view of Obama supporters. As someone who attended an actual caucus with actual Obama supporters and had actual discussions with them, your characterizations are silly and insulting.

I lobbied many of my neighbours and friends to vote for Edwards before he dropped out. I freely shared my criticisms of Obama. I saw no blind rages, and both my dissent and questioning were brooked.

Everyone I discussed it with thought Obama had flaws, many of them. As I do. The ones that ended up caucusing for Obama did mainly for electability, and in a couple cases because they feel that Hillary has stronger ties to the hawkish wing of the Israeli-American community.

You really need to get out more. Most people don't actually read the comments sections of liberal blogs. They are citizens living their lives, and making a choice. And to many, many people, getting a Democrat in office is paramount, and the specific Democrat secondary. I don't know if I agree with that sentiment, but I'm not sure I disagree with it.

Here's a hypothetical for you. If you thought that Hillary was 1/3 to beat McCain, and Obama 2/3, which candidate would you prefer to run for president? Because right or not, that's the view a hell of a lot of Obama supporters have.

a.c. (the one from this morning)

p.s. - If this is a duplicate, my apologies. I wrote something longer, but then my IE crashed when I tried to post. Actually, my IE crashes constantly on this site; not sure why.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

How is he supposed to un-deify himself? I don’t want to sue you I want to know what you think he’s supposed to do?

I think Michelle Obama (to her great credit) took a stab at it about a year ago when she commented on his smoking, and the fact that their daughters find him "stinky". My guess is that back then the adulation kind of creeped her out. Apparently she has since learned to stop worrying and love the Bam' so to speak.

The worst thing about the Obama campaign is that, if elected, he's bound to disappoint those frenzied and breathless hordes, just as he disappointed me once he got to the Senate. And then what? He will have engendered as much cynicism in a single election cycle as have 30 years of Republican misrule.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... the discussions with Obama people are more civilized but generally ultimately the same.

They don't act as nasty, but they still:

* Claim he's "transformative" and is going to bring "change"
* Can never specify in what way he's transformative and is going to bring change
* Play "W.O.R.M." about every concern one has about Obama
* Think the religiosity of his campaign events is glorious

The only exceptions I've found are among grudging Obama supporters who would have rather voted for Kucinich or Edwards if they'd had the chance.

Submitted by lambert on

In the piece on crowds posted elsewhere, this was the writer's summing up:

I will close with some predictions. Obama will unravel even if he reaches the Presidency because people who approach politics that way he does, always do. To unravel the legacy of Nixon and Reagan, we are just beginning that Herculean task though they themselves unraveled long ago. As to when Obamaism will unravel, I am not certain. With luck, sooner rather than later. The longer it takes for Obama to unravel, the greater damage to the system. This will not end that well, we are past the tipping point. People will be embittered and more, no matter the outcome. And I will note this observation, the long-term interests of the Democratic Party still lie with the John Edwards progressive wing of the Democratic Party that has supported him. Because it is not dependent on John Edwards, rather it is dependent on those of us who share the same moral imperatives. Health care that leaves out 15 million people is not universal nor is it fighting for the welfare of the whole body politic. It casts aside many of the less fortunate and that is hardly moral.

All that said, any Democrat in the general. It may be that, as with the run-up to Iraq, all we can do is lay down markers, get the record straight, and hope we're wrong. On the other hand, one thing about the current cycle is that this time, nobody knows anything--even more than usual. "Momentum" is a media concept. It's not clear to me that our famously free press has as much clout as it used to. For example, classically the annointed front runner has been gleefully destroyed by this point. Remarkably, that hasn't happened.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by lambert on

A rotating series of puzzles!

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

For example, here's Lambert on health insurance:
If you want Harry and Louise all over again and a plan that keeps health care a privilege, not a right, and might as well have been written by insurance lobbyists, vote for Obama.

Of course, Obama really can give a good speech.

But is that enough?

And from that would anyone know that Robert Kuttner, a true progressive expert on health care prefers the Obama plan or that even Krugman called it smart and well thought out? If you want to make the argument that Obama supporters are irrational zealots, surely you could do so without acting like an irrational zealot. Or not?

BTW: i really like the addition problems - help me prepare for helping the kids on their homework. Maybe you'll be rid of me when you upgrade.

Joebasic's picture
Submitted by Joebasic on

Recovered DU member

DU is a breeding ground for this sort of venom..
the mods at that site are blatenly Pro-Obama..allowing the Obama supporters to bash away at Hillary and her supporters with complete abandon. Any posts against Obama are alerted, shut down and if people persist in posting anything negative about Obama, they are eventually banned. I personally know two former posters who were banned from DU, (Or Democratic Underground for Obama) as it should be correctly titled. One posted an account of woman being bullied at the Maine Caucas by Obama supporters. The Obama cultists responded to this accusation of intimidation, by attacking the poster as an asshole, a moron, a Hillary plant, stupid, who knew nothing, a liar and the poster was terminated. This was after recieving sevaral "warnings" from the Mods for inappropriate behaviour. (the innappropriate behaviour was responding to Obama supporters who called you a$$hole and repeatedly told you to Fu*K off. My friend was banned from posting, the Obama vomit throwing cultists still post. What does that tell you? One of the charming peace filled, unity Obama folks who told me to Fu*k off, turned out himself to be one of the Mods..anyone suprised)? I myself, have refused to comment at the site or to donate. I saw your post and had to sit back and laugh as the Obama supporters defended against being called cultists with a fervor that has never been seen since the real Messiah came. Clearly the rules are simple..Obama can do no wrong..Hillary is pure evil..and if you are a Hillary supporter, we would just as soon not have you comtaminating our site. Its the Obama way..or no way. Period. Speak against the Messiah at your peril. His followers of love, peace, and unity make those torch and pitchfork mobs from the old horror movies, seem tame by comparison. Just for laughs, check out the site, its good for a laugh at least, and is perhaps the single best example of Obama messianic double speak on the internet.