The cult of personality trumped ordinary considerations

I do believe that vote fraud had an effect on this election, although I don’t know if it was big enough in swing states to change the outcome.  Abe Greenwald’s theory makes a lot more sense when it comes to explaining how conservatives could have so completely misread the election outcome:

Barack Obama ushered in America’s first large-scale experiment in personality-cult politics. The experiment continues apace. Obama got reelected because he enjoys a degree of personal popularity disconnected from his record. No modern president has ever been returned to office with employment figures and right-track-wrong-track numbers as poor as those Obama has achieved.

Obama couldn’t run on his record, which proved to be no problem—Americans didn’t vote on his record. According to exit polls, 77 percent of voters said the economy is bad and only 25 percent said they’re better off than they were four years ago. But since six in ten voters claimed the economy as their number one issue, it’s clear this election wasn’t about issues at all.

The president’s reelection is not evidence of a new liberal America, but rather of the illogical and confused experience that is infatuation. For multiple reasons, Americans continue to have a crush on Barack Obama even after his universally panned first term. No longer quite head over heels, they’re at the “I know he’s no good for me, but I can change him” phase. Whatever this means, it surely doesn’t suggest conservatives would be wise to move closer to policies that aren’t even popular among Obama supporters.

(Read more here.)

What we saw on election day was the continuing power of the old media.  Indeed, it is flush with power.  This year, the old media abandoned any pretense of objectivity and still shaped an election.  That’s quite something.  For decades, the old media hid its partisanship, believing that doing so was the only way to sway the American people.  This year, it learned that it could be hyper-partisan because it is still the gatekeeper.

We in the blogosphere were deluding ourselves about our reach and ability to change the dialog.  By ignoring some stories (Benghazi, for example, or the scope of Sandy’s disaster) and by hyping other story’s (Romney’s offshore accounts or dog driving), it kept Obama in office despite the fact that he has failed to fulfill every promise he made and left the country in a perilous state.

I know that the economic numbers were creeping up ever so slightly before the election (improved stock market, slightly improved job numbers), but those would have been irrelevant if the press had been hostile to Obama.  This was indeed a “cult of personality” election, as I see regularly on my Facebook page.

There certainly were issues that excited Democrat voters — the elite voted on social issues grounds (lady parts and gay marriage being the things they trumpet most triumphantly) and the 47% vote to keep their government benefits — but those issues were of paramount importance to them because the media colluded with the Obama administration to hide from the public the scope of the coming economic disaster.  Had the American people better understood the economy, the elite might have decided that lady parts and gay marriage could wait a while, and the 47% might have realized that no government money means no government benefits.

Here’s the good news, though:  Next election, the media doesn’t have Obama to elevate any more.  We won’t have Romney, who is a a truly nice man, but whom the media demonized to the proportions of Sarah Palin, who is a truly nice woman.  The press will still demonize the Republican candidate, but I’m not certain they’ll have anyone to anoint as the second coming.  Neither Hillary nor Elizabeth Warren lend themselves to a personality cult.  This hagiography worked once with Obama.  I doubt it will work twice with someone else.  The American population might be in a “fool me twice, shame on you” frame of mind.

Or, of course, Obama could bring in a new Golden Age in the next four years, in which case all of us will have to retire our animus and rejigger our political views.  Currently, I’m not holding my breath on that one.

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  • Huan

    Be on guard for any attempt to
    1. allow a 3rd term run for Obama
    2. run Obama as a vice president candidate
    3. national crisis to facilitate either of the above, or delay election
    this is what cult of personality elections move toward

  • Cheesestick

    The whole cult of personality thing is so completely lost on me.  He is a nasty, immature little boy that is too self-absorbed & self-important to have ever convinced me he was capable of taking care of anything that might help other people.  The thing that amazed me the most as we first got to know him is that I have always loathed John McCain; mostly due to him also being arrogant & condescending.  I marveled at the fact that Obama actually made McCain appear meek & mild by comparison.  (Not that I ever forgot who he really was.)  How people actually believe Obama is some friendly, every-man type is just beyond me. 

  • RLaker

    I am sure you are right about the media, but I think they had to work a lot harder at the demonization and demoralization than they have before, which is why they started sounding so desperate at the end. I do not believe they thought this election was “in the bag”.
    Also, I agree that the blogging community was not ultimately able to match their firepower, but do we not need to be a bit “long march” in our approach here? Blogging has really, to the best of my recollection, only been very active since about 2002. Progressives have been at this for the best part of 100 years. It’s very frustrating and dispiriting to think about, but on the other hand, they have been at this for the best part of 100 years and still only manage to get just over 50% of the vote, during presidential years, maybe that in the midterms, if they can be bothered. Going by those numbers, all the infiltration and indoctrination hasn’t been as effective as they would like us to believe.
    One other benefit of blogs is that people get a chance to see their own ideas expressed by others, and then experiencing that lovely “Yes! You said what I have been thinking!” moment. It will give them more confidence (well it does for me anyway) about expressing their own thoughts themselves.
    Thank you for all the work you do, spreading the conservative message! You should come in half-dozens, as my late next-door neighbor used to say.

  • Mike Devx

    Well said, Book!  Thank you.

    I’d like to add that I still think Obama is an effective communicator, though I know you don’t agree.  I think he is effective – but only to that 50+ percent, and especially effective to the uninformed.  He’s not effective to people who pay attention – like those here in Book’s domain – AND who are philosophically opposed to him.  We see through him rather easily, and it’s to the point we can hardly stand to listen to him.  But for all those other voters (and non-voters)  I think his glib, smooth, deceitful delivery slides right on in and they are just plain bamboozled.  He seems to be able to say just about anything and get away with it.

    I’m beginning to think that, given the horrid state of the economy, the Obama team ran a nearly flawless re-election campaign, in every way (including diversions).  Things are not going to be any better in 2016 – in fact they are nearly gauranteed to be worse.  And the 2016 Democrat candidate will be no Obama.

    Don’t rush to fix things that aren’t broken.  There is such a rush to try to fix a thousand different things, it seems, without really taking the time to identify – with PROOF – what really went wrong.  I hope the GOP, and conservatives, don’t rush to “fix” the wrong things.

  • Alix

    I am worried that Michelle will run in 2016!  Cult would continue?

  • Charles Martel

    Alix, don’t scare me. What a horrid thought! But not to fear. Michelle’s problem would the sourness she exudes. She’s not as glib or personable as her husband, and is even less educated and literate than he. That defect would quickly show through.


    I am sure the DNC is pondering “who” at this very moment. Hispanic? Asian? White/black split ticket – like those old Chinese menus..pick one from column A, one from column B and dessert is always included.

  • Ymarsakar

    Ah, the power of Leftist propaganda. I got a sense that some of us didn’t take that quite as seriously as I might have wished.

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  • Ron19

    Here’s my take:
    The right convinced 10 million less people to vote at all. 
    The left convinced 3 million less people to vote at all.
    The left started from a higher number of voters, so they won.