(This is a lot of fun, with an interesting kicker that you’ll have to follow through the link at the bottom.)
Barack Obama just seems to get cooler and cooler. He’s the most popular topic on the New York Times topics page, ahead of even the Westminster dog show. Internet widgets allow you to see what great thing Barack Obama has done for you (he mowed your lawn). At Slate we also had fun with the cult of Obama. And on the New York subway Friday morning, one of our copy editors, Ellen Tarlin, heard one woman joke to another: “Obama, will you pick me up after my noninvasive minor surgical procedure?” To which the other replied: “Obama, will you hold my hair back when I puke?” (The two went on to discuss the merits of J. Crew vs. Banana Republic. Seriously.) The parlor games go on. My commute is shorter since I started traveling with Barack Obama. This burrito has a real Obama to it. In this cold? Not without your Barack Obama.
Among a crowd of hip and stylish Democrats, announcing one’s skepticism about the cool kid would totally dampen the party. Nor is the dynamic just true for young people. John Lewis, the venerable civil rights hero and congressman, put words to this feeling recently. “In recent days, there is a sense of movement and a sense of spirit,” he said, suggesting that he might switch his superdelegate vote from Hillary Clinton to Obama. “Something is happening in America and people are prepared and ready to make that great leap.”
If you insist on being that party-killing skeptic, it either means you’re a Washington cynic, supporting the worst elements of Clinton’s campaign, or you’re cluelessly out of step with the sway of the culture. On Facebook, people write about dreams featuring Obama. There is only one correct reaction to the will.i.am “Yes We Can” video and that is to start chanting along. That’s why the Obama campaign sent it out to supporters. He is the sun, the moon, the Ambien and the Red Bull.
Big deal. People like him. That usually happens with the front-runners. They get more votes, and then they win. (Although with these maddening Democratic Party apportionment rules, I think winning also requires hopping on one foot.) But isn’t there a natural limit to our enthusiasm for to this kind of sweeping phenomenon? Isn’t the generation that Obama has so successfully courted usually the first to toss overhyped products, even the overhyped products with which they were at first so enthralled? More generally, shouldn’t Democrats who have complained that George Bush was elected on the strength of a popularity contest be nervous that this blossoming Obamadulation is getting out of hand?
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John Dickerson – Slate