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Obama They Have Heard on High

By Jack Kelly

"Many spiritually advanced people I know identify (Sen. Barack) Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being who had the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet," wrote San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford June 6.

For you normal people unfamiliar with the term, a "Lightworker" is sort of the New Age equivalent of an angel. Mr. Morford sure takes this "ObaMessiah" stuff seriously.

He isn't alone. When Sen. Obama last week became the first black to win a major party nomination for president, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was understandably excited. Maybe a little too excited:

"What Barack Obama has accomplished is the single most extraordinary event that has occurred in the 232 years of the nation's political history," Rep. Jackson told the Politico blog. "The event itself is so extraordinary that another chapter could be added to the Bible to chronicle its significance."

John McCormack of the Weekly Standard attended the Obama rally at the Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, Va., the day after he locked up the nomination.

"Ask one why he or she is here, and the answer isn't Obama's pledge to end the war or fix the economy," Mr. McCormack wrote. "These fans have come because of Obama himself."

One was Fred Van Doren, 51, from Woodbridge, Va., who told Mr. McCormack he'd never voted before, but was inspired by Mr. Obama's "spiritual values and integrity."

Before the Iowa caucuses, Mr. Van Doren had joined an online forum "intending" that Sen. Obama be the nominee, he told Mr. McCormack. "Intending," according to those who practice it, is the most powerful force in the universe, discovered by Rhonda Byrne in 2004 and described in her best selling book, "The Secret."

"Intending" is a spiritual, not a religious practice, Mr. Van Doren assured Mr. McCormack. "We didn't pray or do any weird Kool-Aid drinking stuff like that."

Sen. Obama cannot be held responsible for what loony fans think about him. But he has a higher opinion of himself than objective circumstances warrant.

Sen. Obama celebrated clinching the Democratic nomination with a speech from the convention center in St. Paul. Future generations, he told his adoring audience, will look back upon that night and say: "this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal..."

Canute the Great (995-1035), the Viking king of England, Denmark and Norway, is reputed to have waded into the ocean and ordered the waves to recede. Canute, who was actually a pretty modest guy for a king, didn't really expect the water to obey. He staged the scene to teach a lesson about the limits of a king's powers to
sycophantic courtiers. But Sen. Obama apparently wasn't kidding.

It'd be hard enough for a President Obama to bring peace to the Middle East and carbon free energy independence to the United States without regulating sea levels too. Journalists should have laughed "until their ribs squeaked," said columnist George Will.

But journalists today are more like Mark Morford than the skeptics depicted in "Front Page," Ben Hecht's famous play. "I felt this thrill going up my leg," said MSNBC's Chris Matthews after listening to an Obama speech.
Garry Wills, writing in the New York Review of Books, described Sen. Obama's speech on race relations in Philadelphia Mar. 18 as the finest since Abraham Lincoln's speech on slavery at the Cooper Union in 1860. (Mr. Wills has maintained a discreet silence since Sen. Obama in effect repudiated what he said in that speech following the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's appearance at the National Press Club April 28.)

In a story in January, John Hill of the Sacramento Bee described how Obama volunteers in California were told to tell people "how they came to Obama," using language more appropriate to religious conversion than to politics.

"You don't need to debate policy or discuss the day's headlines," said a campaign Web site advising volunteers. "You have a very personal reason for investing your time and energy in this campaign -- that's the most compelling story you can tell."

In the Obama campaign, talking about themselves trumps facts and logic. "We are the change we've been waiting for." Was there ever a campaign slogan at once so vapid, and so filled with self love?


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