Cult of Personality

I am lucky. I have paid attention to the 2008 Presidential race only insofar as it intersected with the issues I most care about now. Because of that, I get to support a candidate, Chris Dodd, because of the stands he is taking on the issues now. Frankly, Chris Dodd the politician, is not of particular interest to me. SENATOR Chris Dodd, the Democratic representative for Connecticut in the US Senate, has taken stands on the issues that most matter to me.

Some (Obama supporters especially) do not have that luxury. Because their support is so wrapped up in him, and not the issues, they have to defend actions and positions that they probably do not agree with. That is what happens when a campaign becomes a cult of personality.

The irrational reaction by Obama supporters to Dodd’s rise in the Daily Kos straw poll is amusing and rather pathetic. Look at this subthread:

No. It’s Myopia (12+ / 0-)
Recommended by:clonecone, sny, brittain33, folgers, Superribbie, John Campanelli, Arlingtonian, SamSinister, peace voter, samddobermann, feebog, terrapin station84

It’s “whoever did the last good thing gets my support” thinking, and it’s ridiculously short-sighted.

Put the Constitution on your iPod. You might need it some day.

by Adam B on Mon Oct 22, 2007 at 10:39:08 AM PDT

Yes, that is noted civility cop and Daily Kos Admin Adam Bonin. Pretty funny. Being in a cult of personality makes you do strange things apparently.


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    • Armando on October 22, 2007 at 10:28 pm
  1. The prospect of a Democratic victory in 2006 was for many people the last, flickering hope that the degradation of the republic could be arrested and reversed within the ordinary bounds of the political system. This was always a fantasy, given the strong bipartisan nature and decades-long cultivation of greed, arrogance and militarism that has now come to its fullest bloom in the Bush administration. But desperation can crack the shell of the most hardened cynic, and no doubt there were few who did not harbor somewhere deep inside at least a small grain of hope against hope that a slap-down at the polls would give the Bush gang pause and confound its worst depredations.

    One year on, we can all see how the Democrats have made a mockery of those dreams. Their epic levels of unpopularity are richly deserved. At every step they evoke the remarks of the emperor Tiberius, who, after yet another round of groveling acquiescence from the once-powerful Roman Senate, dismissed them with muttered contempt: “Men fit to be slaves.” The record of the present Congress provides copious and irrefutable evidence for this judgment.


    [Voters] turned to the only serious alternative the system provided: the Democrats. And this is what they got: more war, more torture, more tyranny, more corruption, more lies.

    Not amusing in the least.

  2. I voted for Chip Dodd.

  3. been right for some time.

  4. I’ll confess. When I saw the essay’s title and who wrote it, I was hoping for a how-to guide.


  5. with the liberal blogs obviously because he’s standing up for the right issues… firmly against the war and in favor of the Constitution, and in doing so he does not come off either as threatening/scary or ridiculous.

    If he continues to do that he should begin to get more attention from the MSM.

    If he gets more attention from the MSM he should gain further support and with luck his numbers will continue to cycle up.

    If he emerges as a serious contender than he’ll have a shot at the primary.  If he were, by some miracle, to win the primary he could very well take the whole shebang.

    He looks the part and he walks the walk.

    In any case, the Big Three blew it when they couldn’t guarantee the US out of Iraq by 20131.  By fucking 2013, for chrissake!

    The moment I heard that was when I jumped ship on Edwards and Obama.

  6. is undeniable.

    kos hasn’t even touched the outcome of the leadership polls yet.

    What the Obama folks are not recognizing is that the big loser is Edwards, down 8 in comparison to Obama’s 5.

    That said, I find it unbelievable that the Admins at dK refuse to act like leaders and deny that they are leaders.

    Petty kindergarden behavior really does render them irrelevant.  It is their own actions that make them ineffective.

    • Turkana on October 22, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    i probably won’t have a choice. who’s running, again?

  7. Armando snarks about Adam B and cult of personality. RIP irony.

  8. and it that has me chuckling, is the presumption that there have been so many other good things done in the Senate this year.

    it’s more like, whoever did something
    good gets my support.

  9. in my view, is that you remove the politician’s ability to create movement in the Overton Window on any given issue.  Such movement occurs most successfully when a politician with strong cult of personality proposes ideas that his cultists disagree with, and then brings them over to his way of thinking through loyalty.

    Ergo, you support Dodd because you like his stands on most issues.  But if he suddenly takes a different position from you on an issue — say, he suddenly becomes a fair-trader (I have no idea what his views on trade are) — you’ll simply disagree with him on that issue, and drop him if he becomes too vociferous.  And the Overton window will not move.

    Adam B, on the other hand, who is worshipful toward Obama, will justify Obama’s contradictory stands to himself.  So Obama will be able to bring Adam toward a more faith-supportive position than he currently holds (again, I have no idea what Adam’s views on faith are).  He will follow his leader, you will not follow yours.

    Obama’s support is “sticky,” Dodd’s is not.  That’s an incredible power Obama has, and one that if understood can be exercised to astonishing effect.  One good Obama could undo decades of Reaganism (created because of Reagan’s own “sticky” support), where one good Dodd could at best be a competent administrator.

    Keep in mind I’m now supporting Dodd, so this is a discussion about cult of personality, not about the individual candidates.

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