Every day, there seems to be a new example of Barack Obama’s Peoples’ Temple-like grip on otherwise (semi) rational people. What began as a political phenomenon borne of a particularly charismatic figure has turned into a creepy and possibly malignant force. It is the Obama Hypnosis.
Obama is a man of undeniable intelligence and skill, but his hyper-ascent has never been truly explained. If you got past the "satirical" cover, last week’s New Yorker story posed an interesting question about Obama: "Who Sent You?" Nobody rises that far that fast through the ranks of Chicago Democratic machine politics without some powerful patrons. In Obama’s case, they remain in the shadows. Who supported him? Who financed him? Who promoted him? Who covered for him? Who answered for him? Who sent him?
No one really knows.
Now that he’s on the cusp of the Democratic nomination for president, there are other, even darker questions. Sure, he’s got youth and dynamism. But can those things alone explain the incredibly hypnotic effect he’s having here at home and abroad? The Obama frenzy has been compared to the wild, hair-pulling hysteria the Beatles inspired, but while Obamamania has elements of Beatlemania — a new sound, a new way of hearing and seeing and being entertained, a liberation of sorts — Obamamania is more profound and its implications more grave.
Although it did have political overtones, Beatlemania was essentially about culture. This time around, the masses seized by Obamamania (again, otherwise rational people) are willing to turn over not just their ears but their incomes and their family’s and nation’s security to someone unproved, untested, and unfamiliar. Someone whose connection to the rest of us is shaky at best.
The hypnotic swooning began during the primaries, when people started fainting at his rallies and women began raising their babies to him, hoping for his papal-like touch. People gazed wide-eyed as he spoke, then reached for him as he passed, arms outstretched, as if wading toward Jesus in the Sea of Galilee.
The "professional" journalists took note, and then they succumbed to the swoon. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews proclaimed that a tingle made its way up his leg upon listening to Obama speak, and other journalists gushed that "it was hard to be objective" about Obama because he was so "infectious." Last week’s Newsweek cover story about Obama’s faith was such a puffball piece of whitewashed propaganda that it looks like the piece’s authors are under the spell too.
Certainly most conservatives are immune to his potent charms. But it seems the only Democrats to also be immune are the Clintons. This is one seduction routine Bill didn’t choreograph, and he’s still not falling for it. Neither is Hillary, although she’s game-faced.
The Obama Hypnosis was interesting and relatively harmless for a while, but now it’s starting to slide into Creepsville: The adoring throngs prepared to show up in western Europe to greet him this week. His selection of Berlin’s Victory Column at which to give a major speech — nothing says “change” like a symbol of Prussian and Nazi militarism! His choice to give a stadium acceptance speech during the Democratic convention. The "Dear Leader" overtones are hard to miss.
And then there’s this week’s story that the New York Times turned down an op-ed on Iraq written by John McCain because it didn’t "mirror" one written by Obama last week.
The left-wing media’s bias against McCain doesn’t surprise. But what does is their blatant explanation that McCain — like everyone else in America and the world — ought to fall under the hypnosis and "mirror" Obama.
Mindless, automatic, unquestioning acceptance of the Man With All the Answers: it’s very Stepford.
Several months ago, while the Democratic primary fight was still in its infancy, there was a widely seen YouTube video mocking Hillary Clinton as a "Big Brother" brainwasher. Her face filled a giant screen, her voice booming platitudes and instructions to a silent, passive, sheep-like crowd. At the very end of the video, a woman puts an end to the mind-control by throwing a sledgehammer at the screen.
Isn’t it the height of irony that the real brainwasher is now upon us, hypnotizing, seducing, and controlling, and no one seems ready, willing, or able to throw the sledgehammer?