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A modest terminological proposal that will enhance civility on the candidate threads

Since "fanatic" and "cultist" are words that are profoundly offensive to some, I've been struggling to come up with a new term for the sort of indvidual who views Obama as a bodhisattva [Link now here, 2012-05-05], or who faints or bursts into tears when Obama is in the same arena with them, who applauds when he sneezes, or who reacts to criticism of Obama as if their lover was insulted, and who in general, exhibits the sort of behavior that Freud would call over-valuation of the object, especially when expressed through personal conversion narratives. [Caveat: This term would not cover Obama supporters like Leah, or Big Tent Democrat, or many others. However, many can attest that the phenomenon I seek a name for is real.]

But I have not met with success. And since one mission that we have here at The Mighty Corrente Building is to change the tone of American political discourse, this failure wounds me deeply.

Since I have no wish to give unintended offense, I have a proposal:

Instead of saying "Obama fanatic," or "Obama cultist", why don't we say "Obama _________ er"? Surely, such a meta-term has the great merit of being extremely neutral; indeed, almost anti-septic. We could then say, "Obama _____ers applauded when Obama sneezed"; "Obama _____ers genuflected when He cured a ham"; and so forth.

Of course, this modest proposal does have the demerit that people could fill in the blank as they like, and project whatever they want into the empty space.

But then that's always been the problem with Obama's candidacy anyhow, hasn't it?

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Xenophon's picture
Submitted by Xenophon on

We could just make a distinction based on "clinical" presentation. Those who respond to questions or criticism with evidence supported reasoning, we will simply refer to them as supporters of Obama. Hell, this is a democracy, still, and debate is healthy and good. How do they say it? "Embrace diversity?"

As for those who respond to questions or criticism with tears or the utterance of magical formulae like:
See the website;
I'm color blind;
I belive in change;
Yes we can!;
He speaks so well;
I don't see race;
post-racial;
I wanna have his baby;
or the most hated "people of color" (yak!)

We can simply refer to them as neurotic.

dmd76's picture
Submitted by dmd76 on

as long as we can call dismissive, overbearing, perpetually victimized, pretentious Clinton supporters: "Clinton _________ ers". ;)

Submitted by lambert on

Thank you for commenting, dmd76. Your comment is very important to us. Please do not hesitate to comment again.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

It would be one of the nicer things I've been called by an Obama supporter. Also, since I know it's not true, doesn't offend me a bit. Stuck pigs squealing and all that.

dmd76's picture
Submitted by dmd76 on

I don't think "cultist" was on my list. You Clinton supporters seem to have a very developed sense of decorum. You know exactly what is and isn't a proper expression of support for a political candidate. I have an idea: you should go on lots of blogs and tell people when they are being over-effusive. Better yet, you can make fun of fellow Democrats for being boorish, cultish, etc. I'm sure that will bring more people into the Hillary fold.

Xenophon's picture
Submitted by Xenophon on

Excuse me.

How the fuck do you know who we support?

Because we criticize, raise issues and expect real answers? Because we aren't swing from his dick? You assume we are Clinton supporters.

...7,8,9,10

Since when was "tell your conversion experience" part of a political campaign? Hmmm. There was that time in Germany, there was that time in Itlay; there was Russia oops I meant the Union of Soviet Socialists Republics. There was China. Hmmm. In America we get effusive, but we also are supposed to provide reasons.

Please tell me what "reason," what set of policies (specifically)in contrast to the other candidates, on either side, is the basis for your position. Which accomplishment other than being popular is the ground for your political orientation.

Make an argument!

Thank you for commenting, dmd76. Your comment is very important to us. Please do not hesitate to comment again.

dmd76's picture
Submitted by dmd76 on

Maybe you don't support Clinton, I'm talking to the one's who do and feel the need to put down fellow Dems to demonstrate their support. Also, I'm responding to this post, not every post ever written here. If you want to discuss issues we can do that, but I think its well within reason to mock this childish post without justifying my support for Obama.

dmd76's picture
Submitted by dmd76 on

Why don't you respond to my comment? Do you support calling Obama supporters cultists? Do you think it's proper to tell people that they support their candidate too much? What real issue is being brought up here? By the way, real cool, comparing the Obama campaign to Nazis and Communists. That's the way to win friends.

Submitted by lambert on

Thank you for commenting, dmd76. Your comment is very important to us. Please do not hesitate to comment again.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

koshembos's picture
Submitted by koshembos on

Mt preference: call Obama fanatics Talibans. I believe it reflects the dedication, utmost belief, mantra speakers and intolerance of every non-Obama opinion.

For Clinton supporters I recommend dudes. It reflects their teen agee seriousness, their irresponsibility (after they have the temerity to support an intelligent and tough woman for president), their love for Clinton triangulation rather than Obama hopeful triangulation, etc.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

Please tell me what “reason,” what set of policies (specifically)in contrast to the other candidates, on either side, is the basis for your position. Which accomplishment other than being popular is the ground for your political orientation.

that's not the real question -- by now, all the Obots have figured out that they have to have an answer, and have a list of "policies" and "accomplishments" bookmarked.

To me, the real question is when has Obama ever accomplished anything in the way that he says he'll get things done as president? When, in his years as a political office-holder, did he ever create this vast coalition for change on any issue that vanquished the special interests?

I mean, here is a guy who can bring thousands upon thousands of people to a rally, and has he ever asked them for anything except their support? Did he go to his supporters in Nevada and say "tell Harry Reid that you don't want telecom immunity?". Has he ever used one of his nationally televised victory speeches to highlight an issue, and tell the country to contact their about it?

Clinton is running on the promise that she will know how the presidency works on Day One. She can't fulfill that promise until she gets to the oval office.

Obama is running on the promise that he can create significant change by bringing people together in a way that will defeat the "special interests." But he doesn't need to be President to give us an example of how that works -- he's got millions of supporters, and access to the media, and can SHOW us how that will work.

But he doesn't do that. And he's never done it as an aofficeholder. He's just a typical politician, once he gets sworn in.

dmd76's picture
Submitted by dmd76 on

What mantra have I repeated? I don't see "Change" or "Hope" in any of my comments. How have I been "intolerant of every non-Obama opinion"? I think I've been quite clear in my comments: think whatever you want about Obama, belittling his supporters is immature and, ultimately, might hurt our chances of electing a Democratic president in November (I don't have any pretenses regarding the importance of blog postings). Sorry I don't fit into your little boxes, dude.

Submitted by lambert on

Thank you for commenting, dmd76. Your comment is important to us. Please do not hesitate to comment again.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Hey, Xeno; Help me here. I have been struggling, as a person of pale pink skin who desires to be able to communicate without unintentionally giving offense, to find an acceptable collective term encompassing the set of all people whose dominant skin color is not pale pink.

I note that it is considered socially acceptable to describe people who look like me as "white" even though we are not, and that all the negativity and associated unspoken pejoratives that go with “white people” are to be accepted and borne with quiet submissiveness because, well, we just don’t deserve any more respect as individual human beings than that. However, I now read from you that “people of color,” a designation that is intended at least by me to embrace all people who are not “white”, is "most hated" and causes yakking.

Help me here. What terminology can I use to describe the set of all people who are not “white”? Because I do see race, as does anyone; and I want to be able to talk about race and matters of race without having my terms being seen as, and attacked as, racist or otherwise being discomfiting in and of themselves.

If we can’t talk about our problems, openly and honestly and frankly, then we will never be improved. I would like us to move our focus away from political-correctness policing of individual words and upwards to the higher plane of entire paragraphs and even essays, to the context and sum and substance of a speaker’s intent rather than the limitations that can result from decontextualized projection, but that may just be me.

I’m totally serious here, my young friend; help an old man out.

janittdott's picture
Submitted by janittdott on

This post got shifted a bit from where I thought it would end up.
and now seems top be a bit out of place.

I have adopted the term...Obamacrats, which is merely...discriptive.

For I am not yet ready to accept these voters AS Democrats because,
as it's been said so well here, these voters are staunchly Obamacentric.
And it is yet to be seen if, in fact, they WILL remain loyal to the party IF
Barack is defeated by Hillary Clinton.
Or if they will continue, as they've effectively (ruthlessly) done so far
to inflict lasting political DAMAGE on both Obama's rivals and the
Democratic selection process in an effort to move their candidate ahead.

That's NOT the CONDUCT of voters who want to support, not take over,
the Democratic Convention and it'd selection process.

In PRACTICAL terms, my issue with the candidate is as follows.

I seem to recall Whoopie...Goldberg...once fuming
(and I fear I MUST paraphrase...)

"Do NOT call me an Afro, black, any other KIND of American.
I'm an American."

At one point we actually DID achive THAT degree of intergration.

But, in attempting to OBJECT to Mr Obama's tactics this past week,
I have been called a...racist...three times.

Told that ANY problem I have with Barack MUST be based on some
deep seated issues I have with his...race.

I admit I DO have a problem with his...race...to the whitehouse.

But one is not the SAME as the other.

IF we're about to elect our FIRST anyone, we need, AS a unified people,
to have a frank and forthright converstion about HOW things will...change.

We've had a gynocological exam of how our first WOMAN president
will run HER whitehouse...

"How WILL the "little woman" EVER keep that Big Bad Bill in line?"

But I realize from Michelle Obama's...victory speech...the other night
that if we DO install the Obamas in the WHITEhouse,
we're BOUND to spend the next four years NOT on planet threatening
problems we have to face...together...as a unified country.

Instead i fear we'll be falling all over ourselves as guilty white people
trying our damnest to NOT offend the First Couple.

And I have to ask the risky question, cause no one ELSE will,
if, by the time one reaches the run off for the democratic candidate
for the President of these UNITED states.

Isn't it TIME to set aside,
not the issues or race and gender, those matter very much, of course,
and need a full and meaningful discussion AS a progressing people.

Not the issues...but the attitude.

...

America!
"You need a mother VERY badly!"

-wendy to captain hook

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

this whole "movement" is all about electing him alone, and not about any issue or problem or concrete need Americans have.

blogtopus's picture
Submitted by blogtopus on

When Kos was trying to elect more and better democrats. Now they just are trying to collect a scalp (Hillary's) at the cost of the GE race.

I prefer the term 'followers', myself. Oh, are you offended by that term? Then you must not be a follower. Good for you! <3 <3

I don't follow Hillary lightly; I've seen the differences here, and drilled down into each example and they hold strong. Obama is a movement for only one reason: To Get Obama Elected. His wife knows it, HE knows it. Everybody else THINKS it's because of his accomplishments, but most of them can't name ONE (although it is entertaining to see the list of all the legislation he introduced used as proof that he accomplished something -- hey I can play the lottery 3000 times but it only matters if I win -- you need to show what he was capable of PASSING, folks).

But I'm tired of playing Xeno's paradox with Obama's followers (well, uh, I wasn't talking about THAT, I was talking about something entirely different and off-topic, which you haven't addressed, so this makes me right).

It used to be that you could have a conversation about candidates across the spectrum with people... now you can't even have a civil conversation about candidates from the SAME PARTY without mortally offending someone. Barack's a PERSON, not a movement. I admire the energy that people are putting into it, but I have to say I'm not impressed by the HAT, and I think he has the wrong idea about the CATTLE aspect of the old saying: Cattle is a stand-in for actions. Not supporters.

Shane-O's picture
Submitted by Shane-O on

Simply being critical of a particular candidate does not necessarily mean a person supports the other.

Dmd76, I don't know if your persistent use of the word "You" includes me - as I am only a contributor. However, all the candidates must be researched, discussed, debated, vetted. Raising questions about the candidates is not just a right. But as voters, it is a responsibility.

I, for one, have been critical of both Clinton and Obama. Who do I support? I think Jack Cafferty said it best:

When asked for his predictions on who would win the Democratic party's nomination, he responded:

All I know is that, unfortunately, this Novemeber, the voters will have a choice between a Democrat and a Republican for president.

The Bill of Rights is a born rebel. It reeks with sedition. In every clause it shakes its fist in the face of constituted authority. . . . it is the one guaranty of human freedom to the American people. - Frank Irving Cobb

darue's picture
Submitted by darue on

SuperFan - seems acceptable by all. Obama SuperVoter perhaps?

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

Obama has been running for President since he got to DC, so when has he had time to accomplish anything? He needs to spend a few more years building his resume.

I've been a liberal Democrat and a political junkie for a long time, and it irks me to have kids lecture me on what's best for this country.

I was young and thought I knew it all once upon a time too, but I realize now how ignorant I really was.

A lot of the stuff these kids think they know they read about in books. I lived through the sixties. I remember when JFK was shot. I was too young for Vietnam, but I'm old enough to remember watching it (and the anti-war protests) on the nightly news.

These kids are gonna be very disappointed by Obama someday. It's not his fault, he's human, and no one could live up to the expectations they have for him.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

Here's a money quote from the Wikipedia article about Obama associate William Ayers that dovetails with my previous post:

Ayers published his memoirs in 2001 with the book Fugitive Days. His interview with the New York Times to promote his book was published on September 11, 2001, and includes his reaction to Emile De Antonio's 1976 documentary film about the Weathermen: "He was 'embarrassed by the arrogance, the solipsism, the absolute certainty that we and we alone knew the way,' he writes. 'The rigidity and the narcissism.'"

Doesn't that describe Obamamania perfectly?

Stellaaa's picture
Submitted by Stellaaa on

Well, I have heard a range of reasons people want to vote for Obama. My favorite is the cowardly, krypto racist, white liberal who wants to be cool, transcending and transformative by voting for Obama. Living in Berkeley, I have all the new age, "my kid is too sensitive for public school", but I want to feel good about my privelages and all my efforts to keep the those priveleges into my future genetic line so I will put Obama signs all over my 2 million dollar house and attack Clinton supporters.

Knee jerk. Good old term that should make Lakoff, a resident of Berkely, actually two blocks from me, quiver. By the way...all those leftists hardly send their kids to public schools, too many what they call "disruptive children" code word for low income African American or Latino kids.

As an old style lefy, I don't buy the Obama shtick. I prefer Hillary, she is human and I can criticize as needed.

RealityCheck9's picture
Submitted by RealityCheck9 on

it is a cult, or I guess you could say a cult of personality formed around the personality of one person.

I feel guilty saying it since you are intent of finding something nicer and more acceptable to say about the Obies.

It is what it is.

dmd76's picture
Submitted by dmd76 on

So we're cultists, fanatics, kind of like Nazis, Fascists, and Communists (good one, Xenophon), Talibans, Obots, groupies, SuperFans (don't mind that one so much), kids (always nice to be infatilized), cowardly, krypto racists, and fuckers. And people here are shocked, just shocked (and a little sad :( ) that they can't have a civil conversation with Obama supporters. Maybe this blog is all about commiserating with like-minded people. If so, let me know. I'll gladly leave you to your Beavis and Butthead political commentary:

Obama supporters are cultists! hehe-he-hehe
Shut up Lambert! They're fuckers. huh huhhuh huh. Uhhh, they clapped when he sneezed. Dumbasses.

Xenophon's picture
Submitted by Xenophon on

Here is an underhand slow pitch.

Please explain how Obama's proposed transportation and infrastructure intiative is not going to lead to the privitization of a public good.

Make an argument an stop bitchin'

Submitted by lambert on

Here they are:

... views Obama as a bodhisattva, or who faints or bursts into tears when Obama is in the same arena with them, who applauds when he sneezes, or who reacts to criticism of Obama as if their lover was insulted, and who in general, exhibits the sort of behavior that Freud would call over-valuation of the object, especially when expressed through personal conversion narratives....

Yet dmd76 says this is not cult-like behavior, and dmd76 is an honorable commenter. And so are they all, all honorable commenters...

Hey, fair enough. Although I do have to say that applauding when Obama sneezes seems a little much to me. But then, I'm a "racist," and "dishonest," and a "liar," "dishonest," "ignorant," "wrong," and a "shill," so what would I know?

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Xenophon's picture
Submitted by Xenophon on

That's my point. People of color is a bullshit euphemism used by non-white kids on majority white college campuses to collectivize student revenues. There is no place or culture or language called "people of color." Normally it's used as code for "please don't fuck me up angry minority person." or "Shit we haven't met our quota for federal funding we need those other people, you know the not white ones the . . . people of color."

So yeah.
Just speak.
Land, language, culture - are usually how people identify large moieties of humans.

Struggle through the embarrassment and ask. If you don't know enough to know . . . you know?

Honestly, I think one of the things that Obama has done has been to expose the diminishing racism among the younger generation. I hope that we can keep that and nurture it.

America just left Apartheid in 1975. We haven't had a generation without legally supported racial inequality and domination. We still have to deal with cultural and economic. It took 400 years to build this. It will take a while to build something new.

But I think we can do it.

dmd76's picture
Submitted by dmd76 on

And here I thought Lambert's post was about finding just the right name to call Obama supporters. You don't like what I'm saying so you change the subject. Why don't you answer me first? Is it OK to talk about at least 50% of Democratic primary and caucus voters like they are mindless children, drawn to the shiny lights of the Obama campaign? If I were to say (notice the use of the subjunctive), "Hillary Clinton voters are (except for the ones I personally know) just old women who identify with her; it's the only reason she has so much support", you and lots of other people would be offended, not least because it's not true. Yet, it's de regueur here to insult and belittle most Obama supporters (pretty much any that aren't personal acquaintances) as cultists and automatons.

You want to talk issues, write your own goddamn diary. Can't say I'll be too inclined to enter into a discussion with someone who compared my preferred candidate's campaign to the Nazis and Communists. Does Kos do that with Hillary? That breaks some sort of blog rule, doesn't it?

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

of all the points made about cult behavior (and that claim is a bit overblown) the applause for sniffles seems to me more heartfelt encouragement than adoration. Audiences have limited ability to communicate with a speaker in that setting; it could easily have been a decent expression of concern and a wish for well-being.

Or, alternatively, a perverse sub-cult of snot worshipers who were applauding the appearance of mucous....

Submitted by lambert on

... and the conversion narratives, and all the other concrete details that nobody seems to be comfortable talking about. Odd, that. The data points cumulate.

In any case, I repeat, that I've never seen an audience applaud anyone for blowing their nose, and I've been to many, many public events over the years.

But then, I’m a “racist,” and “dishonest,” and a “liar,” “ignorant,” “wrong,” and a “shill,”* so what would I know?

NOTE * All examples of the "casual poetry" of the Obama campaign....

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

if you're trying to cozy up to me.

I'm just encouraging the sharp verbal blades around here to aim for the jugular instead of a hankie. The main target remains the same.

dmd76's picture
Submitted by dmd76 on

What do the names you were called at some point in the past have to do with this discussion? I haven't called you any of those, and neither has anyone else on this thread. I promise I'm not going to call you “racist,” or “dishonest,” or a “liar,” “ignorant,” “wrong,” or a “shill". You haven't been racist or dishonest or a liar or ignorant or a shill (and only a little bit wrong:). And although I've been picking on your posts in the last couple of days, it's just because I think a productive discussion can only occur if both sides respect each other. It's not so much that I mind being called an Obot or a cultist (people on the internet have called me all sorts of things), it's that it belies the motivations and intelligence of Obama supporters. Most of them have perfectly fine reasons for choosing him. They may be reasons you disagree with, but to dismiss them out of hand (by claiming they are cultists, etc.) stops the conversation before it can begin.

Submitted by lambert on

I think I'm going to go over and read alt.syntax.tactical now.

I'm sure they have something useful to say about promises.

Nighty night. Kiss Axelrod for me.

UPDATE Let me revise and extend my remarks, on the off chance that you are not what you seem to me to be, based on my experience with so many other members of Obama's fan base. I wrote:

Caveat: This term would not cover Obama supporters like Leah, or Big Tent Democrat, or many others. However, many can attest that the phenomenon I seek a name for is real.]

You write:

It’s not so much that I mind being called an Obot or a cultist (people on the internet have called me all sorts of things), it’s that it belies the motivations and intelligence of Obama supporters. Most of them have perfectly fine reasons for choosing him. They may be reasons you disagree with, but to dismiss them out of hand (by claiming they are cultists, etc.) stops the conversation before it can begin

You claim to want a conversation, but right out of the box you ignore the key caveat in the original post. Pas si bete.

It's obvious to many that ______-like behavior is an element in the Obama campaign. It concerns them, and in my mind legitimately. It's also obvious that Hillary hatred is being leveraged by the Obama campaign. Again, all you have to do is read the threads. It's hard to know where a conversation would start, at this point. And that's even before we get to policy.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

and it is difficult to sort out the motivations in these kinds of charismatic mass movements. Cult may be a little strong, but the unwillingness to accept any criticism at all of The Chose One is disturbing. I'm not saying that the attribution of cult should stop, there is more than enough to justify raising it, but it isn't the whole of the story behind this phenomenon.

It seems to me in large measure closer to a religious revival movement, the desire of frightened and disaffected people to grasp onto something that promises to make all the bad stuff go away, no matter how unlikely the promise may be. The willingness of Obama followers to believe that someone with an almost non-existent public governance record can handle this job, especially at this time, does strike me as delusional, but not quite to the level of a cult. I must say, however, that some of the commentors who have shown up here do not help me to keep that equivocal position.

dmd76's picture
Submitted by dmd76 on

But see, that's just what I'm talking about. You think of a sizeable percentage of your fellow Democrats (I'm assuming you're a Democrat, sorry if I'm wrong) as feeble-minded simps. They aren't smart enough to figure out for themselves what's really good for them and they are being led astray by a charlatan. I'm not really sure why you'd want to have a discussion with them, considering you think so little of them.
On a personal level, I resent any Democrat being talked about in these terms. But more than that, at some point in the next few months, one of these candidates is going to be the Democratic nominee. Are you going to be able to work alongside these people you think so poorly of? I know if I really believed what you say you do, I wouldn't be able to support Obama in the GE. I would be in no rush to foist a Democratic GWBush on America. Nor would I want people I considered vapid and easily led astray helping out with a Clinton campaign in the GE.

dmd76's picture
Submitted by dmd76 on

I take it back. I'm sure my inner Obot will come out at some point and I'll go all "Hope" and "Change" and "shill" on your ass.

As for your False Repentance link, you'll notice I haven't apologized for a thing. I also haven't called you any of those names, so please don't imply that my promise is an act of contrition. It's beneath you and it misleads your readers.

Submitted by lambert on

I believe you are correct that there are two sides.

And the online community of which you are a part--your "side"--has given me no reason to trust it, and every reason to mistrust it.

As you have just managed to do here, starting from the premise of wanting a conversation, and ending with an accusation that I "mislead my readers."

Translation: I'm a liar and dishonest.

Excellent! Now I can add that to my list! I'm so pleased, since you have now just done what you said ("I promise I’m not going to call you...") you would not do, and in a very short space of time. Impressive.

I didn't, actually, say that you "repented" or "apologized." I did provide readers with an interesting link that gave more information on the use of tactical language by trolls. The key paragraph to me is this one:

By ceasing all disruptive behaviour, a troll can sow confusion in the community. In most cases, there will be a reaction spectrum. On one end are the people who want to ForgiveAndForget and AssumeGoodFaith. They will welcome the seemingly reformed troll with open arms. On the other end are the skeptics. They refuse to accept this turnaround, and perhaps even continue to be openly hostile. The rest of the community falls somewhere in the middle: happy to see the end of the disruption, but wary of the former troublemaker. The advantages for the troll provided by this tactic vary according to how the community is distributed on the spectrum.

I interpreted sucking up to bringiton as falling into the "reformed" category--as purely tactical. And given how fast you were able to break your promise--and how much of my time I have allowed you exploit this evening--I think I was right.

Nighty night. Tell Axelrod to send markg8 back, wouldja? He's better than you.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by lambert on

I know this is addressed to bringiton:

Are you going to be able to work alongside these people you think so poorly of?

but I think it could benefit from a slight reworking, and asked of you:

Are you going to be able to work alongside these people you think so poorly of?

In Michelle's words, maybe we'll have to think about it.

For myself, of course I'll vote for Obama in the general. However, as far as working goes, it makes more sense for me to put my energy into trying to fix Obama's policy screw-ups--universal health care and all that right wing dog-whistling on Social Security. Just so I don't end up eating dog food in my old age, don't you know. And so my friend can get care so she doesn't keep bleeding into her shoes.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

A. Citizen's picture
Submitted by A. Citizen on

...if by some outside change Senator 'Personality' does become President we're gonna have a big fight on our hands. I ain't gonna let no snakeoil salesman put dog food on my table no matter how many brain-dead cultist he's got.

One thing his 'followers' don't seem to grasp is the very real potential for something truly horrific to come of his cult of personality. Two words for them:

Jim Jones.....

ya fuckers...

And I am serious not snarking here. Cults are very, very dangerous things not only for the followers but for the focus of the cult. Obama does not strike me as a guy who realizes the danger his followers attitudes present to him. Personally. Remember what the victorious had whispered in their ear as they were paraded into mighty Rome after a vanquishing the enemy....and our society isn't even sophisticated enough to do that. Rather the opposite in fact.

If Obama becomes President I will hope and work for the best, for all, but I really don't see the 'fuckers' among his many followers being anything but poisonous to the political dialogue.

A. Citizen

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.

Charles Lemos's picture
Submitted by Charles Lemos on

Not a political campaign. What is Obamaism without Obama? Nothing because without him there is nothing there. That is not true of the others. There is still an Edwards wing of the party, even without Edwards. Same for the Clintons, Bill and Hillary. They are built of ideas not personalities.

Obama is like Oprah a personality. She connects with her fan base but she doesn't really understand them. Why would you give out a $35,000 car as a gift to your audience and not pay their gift tax of 50%. How many in her audience have $17.5K laying around? Obama health care proposals are in the same boat. How many have $4200 laying around? At least Clinton's plan is cheaper per person at $2300 and it covers everyone because it is a mandate. Like Social Security. Unless it is mandated, many will go without it. And the problem remains.

Sorry that was off topic a bit. Obamaism is a mass social movement. We have seen these before but it is still too early to tell how Obamaism will play out. Is he James Weaver in 1896? Or Richard Nixon in 1968? Or Ronald Reagan in 1980? I don't think him Andrew Jackson in 1828 however.

dmd76's picture
Submitted by dmd76 on

You conveniently left out the first paragraph of the page you linked to:

A person who has been in constant conflict with the community suddenly seems to repent. She apologizes, stops violating CommunityExpectations and starts making constructive contributions. Are we witnessing a reformed troll?

The page itself is called FalseRepentance. The link on your quote was the word "promises". I had just promised not to call you those slurs you keep bringing up when you can't answer me. And I wasn't sucking up to bringiton, I certainly didn't apologize for anything. It's just he(she?, sorry don't know and don't want to assume) made the first comment regarding Obama supporters that didn't assume they were crazy idiots, and I wanted to encourage it. No worries, though, apparently we're probably still snot-worshippers(I kid, I kid). And why you think I'm here to toe the Obama party line is beyond me. I haven't said one word, good or bad, about Hillary Clinton. I haven't defended Obama at all. I did give Paul Lukasiak an example of Obama bring diverse groups together to overcome the objections of special interest groups, but only because he asked for it. In another thread, I analyzed an article by Larry Johnson about Obama, but only because it was full of innuendo and half-truths. My interest there was not so much to defend Obama, but to show what a hack LJ was being. I've told you I support Obama, but beyond that you know nothing about me, so please stop assuming I'm some hyperpartisan who takes his marching orders from campaign central. I'm not, and nothing I've said here should lead you to believe that. Another promise: you won't hear me talk about Hope or Change or any of that bullshit.

dmd76's picture
Submitted by dmd76 on

I don't think poorly of any of you. I'll quickly remind you that I'm not the one calling [not-Obama] supporters cultists. It's great that you support a candidate and that you're passionate about your choice. Just stop treating lots of us that support someone else (Obama in this case) like we're mentally deficient. I know you mentioned your friends on the blog as being genuine Obama supporters and not cultists, and that you said that there were many others like them. That doesn't excuse pointing to an auditorium full of thousands of people, fellow Democrats, and calling them cultists because of a 15 second clip on MSNBC.

dmd76's picture
Submitted by dmd76 on

And just so we're crystal clear, I will happily support Hillary Clinton with both my time and money if she is our candidate in the general election. She's not my first choice, but she's a hell of a second choice.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Not a new experience, actually, and yes I am sure I'll be able to handle it.

As for my being able to support Obama in the general, I will; your limitations are not mine.

Lambert, thanks for leaping in there and by all means feel free in the future; you are welcome to as much of this conversation as you can, ah, handle. Anyone else as well.

Some mass movements with practical objectives, like women's sufferage, feminism or US civil rights, turn out well; many others more emotionally based do not. The charismatic leadership aspect does not bode well, however, and in most of those it is the followers who suffer the greatest.

dmd76's picture
Submitted by dmd76 on

Well aren't you magnanimous!

You know, I don't think this discussion really merits much further thought. Some(all?) of you think a significant number of Obama supporters are sheep, cultists, having a religious experience, whatever; really, that's fine by me. It's a silly framework, one you'll(by you, I mean those who believe this) find has little explanatory power (but that's not why it's being posited). I'm done arguing about it, though. Have fun with it.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

It would help if we could discuss politics with Obama supporters without getting personally attacked.

It seems like Obama supporters can't discuss any criticism of him, or even questioning of him, without attacking either Hillary or the person making the criticism. Or both.

If someone says Obama committed plagiarism, address the issue without mentioning Hillary or insulting the person who said it. If they say he's inexperienced, talk about his experience and not Hillary's. Is that so hard?

Most of the Obama supporters I've seen say very little about him, and mostly just criticize Hillary. And they give out insults like Halloween candy.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

Sorry that was off topic a bit. Obamaism is a mass social movement. We have seen these before but it is still too early to tell how Obamaism will play out. Is he James Weaver in 1896? Or Richard Nixon in 1968? Or Ronald Reagan in 1980?

I'm thinking Perot 1992 myself.

dmd76's picture
Submitted by dmd76 on

Therein lies the distinction that matters: posts that discuss and disagree with Obama's policies are fine by my, and I'll gladly respond in a nice, respectful way. Posts that belittle and insult broad swaths of his supporters are not. I invite you to read anything I've ever posted here. I'd love to know where I've insulted Hillary. Maybe you're thinking of some other Obama supporter. I concede, my 2nd post in this thread painted Hillary supporters with too broad a brush: instead of "you Hillary supporters", I should have said "you people who agree that the thousands of people cheering Obama for blowing his nose are cultists and who may or may not support Hillary". A bit awkward, but more accurate.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

Lambert, that is hysterical, I am going to steal it for my blog.

Just to reiterate, people like Leah (Leah, please start posting again, 'cause Obama is probably going to win this sucker and we need intelligent pro-Obama posts) Attaturk, and others who support Obama 'cause they like him the best are fine with me. Truly I have a lot of problems with all the candidates this year and was hoping Gore would run.

Obama groupies works for me. I realize this doesn't sound nice to any of the Obama people, but guess what, this is a serious problem for the Obama campaign and will have to be dealth with.

It could be worse. At least no one is being asked to sign a loyalty oath the way attendees at Bush events were asked to in 2004. But still, personal transformation stories? Geez Louise.

dmd76's picture
Submitted by dmd76 on

I can see how having lots and lots of enthusiastic supporter would be a problem for a campaign:) I'm sure they'll get right on that. And, yeah, Gore 08 would have been awesome.

Susie from Philly's picture
Submitted by Susie from Philly on

The one about fundies and atheists each being extremist ends on the faith continuum?

I've been giving a lot of thought to that, and it struck me that most absurdly worshipful Obama supporters I know are also vehement atheists.

So maybe, for many of them, this is actually their "born again" experience. Because they do act in the same exceedingly overbearing, obnoxious and proselytizing way as many religious converts.

I also know Obama supporters who aren't like that, but the ones who do really remind me of Moonies. Or Amway distributors.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

From my limited sample, I've found atheists to be more likely than your average Democrat to be Obama skeptics.

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

Doesn't atheism require faith since it means one believes there are no Gods, something one cannot prove for certain? Nontheism I understand to be the absence of belief, but I'm not sure if it is one and the same as atheism, a more narrow definition (I believe; no pun intended).

So, I'm guessing if anything, nonetheists are more likely to be Obama skeptics (Cynics!) with atheists as the Obama cult members (Praise Him!).

@dmd76: You're confusing "enthusiasm" with blind faith and zealotry. You can quickly filter out those who are infected with the latter by legitimate criticism as they tend to respond with moral condemnation of the critic, bypassing the actual criticism.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

In practice, if one can fairly say it is a practice, atheism means non-theism plus a high degree of certainty that the prevailing notions about God are fallacious.

Even Richard Dawkins leaves the door open to a theoretical possibility, however unlikely, of a supernatural with phrases like "Why There Almost Certainly Is No God."

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

I want to emphasize the "if anything" part of my comment since it was in response to the idea of (some) atheists were Obama worshipers. If atheists are Obama believers I think it's more likely to do with other factors (class, age, etc.) than their take on religion and Gods.

All right, I'm done.

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

Interesting.

Margaret Atwood, a self-described "strict agnostic," on atheism being a "religion," calling it dogmatic since it believes in an absolute:
http://www.pbs.org/moyers/faithandreason...
(Click on the video link; see: 19:55).

Dawkins from 1994 on agnosticism: At first sight that seems an unassailable position, at least in the weak sense of Pascal's wager. But on second thoughts it seems a cop-out, because the same could be said of Father Christmas and tooth fairies...The trouble with the agnostic argument is that it can be applied to anything
http://www.simonyi.ox.ac.uk/dawkins/Worl...

dmd76's picture
Submitted by dmd76 on

As an atheist (of the weak variety; see below) and Obama supporter, I'd like to point you to wikipedia. Strong atheism is the positive belief that there is/are no god(s), and requires faith (no more or less than the belief in god). Weak atheism is the rejection of any and all beliefs in the existence/non-existence of god(s), what you call non-theism.

As for blind faith and zealotry, I think they are a problem regardless of who their object is. The problem I have with this whole discussion is that it's a facile charge to lay against those one doesn't agree with. People are excited about Obama? They're mindless cultists who are only drawn to their candidate's cult of personality. Once that step is taken, it's very easy to dismiss anything "those people" say. For example, see A. Citizen.

dmd76's picture
Submitted by dmd76 on

Yeah, because calling people "fuckers" is not "poisonous to the political dialogue". Bite me.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... simply disregard the preponderance of evidence that there are ______ish dimensions to the Obama campaign.

Despite any and all caveats to the contrary, you purport that people who sound this concern are pointing a finger at perfectly reasonable people in the Obama camp.

You also ignore the pervasive, foul, swarming behavior that occurs in almost any forum when the slightest skepticism about Obama is raised, especially in traditional Democrat havens like DU and DailyKos, which is where many of us learned to be concerned about Obama groupthink.

You can gleefully say "well, if you're calling people ________ists, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy," but that falsely suggests that that's the one and only trigger that brings out this behavior, as opposed to the truth that you simply can't say anything critical of Obama in these forums without having your head handed to you.

dmd76's picture
Submitted by dmd76 on

vastleft, I invite you to read this thread again. Then tell me who is responsible for the foul, swarming behavior, here and now. Who called whom Nazis, cultists, fuckers, etc., etc.? You don't approve of that kind of discourse? Then don't excuse it here. Apparently, here, you can't say anything in defense of Obama supporters (to say nothing of Obama himself) without having your head handed to you. Also, I am not responsible for the behavior of other people. I have neither shilled for Obama nor attacked Hillary, at all. If other people on other blogs have been rude to you, they are jerks (this seems to be what bothers Lambert so much about me; she keeps bringing up names other people have called her, maybe its a ploy to get some sympathy when she runs out of arguments, or maybe it's just part of her insipid passive/aggressive approach to commenting). I have never said that there aren't some examples of people who talk about Obama like he's the second coming of Christ. Those people use language I find repugnant. The vast majority of his supporters, however, are just normal, everyday Democrats (and independents and Republicans) who have chosen to support a candidate most of the commenters here don't. By putting those people down (and that's exactly what's happening here, the thousands of people who cheered at a rally aren't cultists, Ken Burns isn't, Toni Morrison isn't, etc.,etc.), commenters here are belittling the genuine support that Obama has. It may be difficult to understand, but there are people that have different priorities and beliefs than the commenters here. Their reasons for supporting Obama are just as valid as anyone's reasons for supporting Clinton/Edwards/the rest.

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

With regards to Obama fandom/culture: You are the one making a facile charge against those who don't agree with you, confusing legitimate criticism with a smear against all Obama supporters. You simply skipped over it without actually countering. Instead, you mocked those who are honestly bothered by the--yes--zealotry of Obama fans who are most reactionary in their defense of Him by calling it mere enthusiasm.

Also, I am not responsible for the behavior of other people.

You're taking criticism of Obama supporters as a whole personally. Mind you, the cult-like fervor is not merely relegated to the fringes, but indeed a group characteristic. Citing the likes of Toni Morrison or Ken Burns does not refute the validity of the critique against Obama core supporters as a whole. Besides, when Obama has the likes of Oprah calling him "The One" and praising his "tongue dipped in truth" it's a dangerous path to follow.

According to your rationale it's be quite difficult to make a criticism against Americans as a whole or our culture (arrogant, stupid, etc.), because not every American is that way and we're the country that produced the likes of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Submitted by lambert on

Not me. How can anybody ignore the plain meaning of these words:

[Caveat: This term would not cover Obama supporters like Leah, or Big Tent Democrat, or many others. However, many can attest that the phenomenon I seek a name for is real.]

And how can anyone conflate the difference between supporters and this:

the sort of indvidual who views Obama as a bodhisattva, or who faints or bursts into tears when Obama is in the same arena with them, who applauds when he sneezes, or who reacts to criticism of Obama as if their lover was insulted, and who in general, exhibits the sort of behavior that Freud would call over-valuation of the object, especially when expressed through personal conversion narratives.

And yet, from our extremely eager for respectful dialog, unrepetant, unapologetic, and extremely non-trollish dmk76 we get this:

So we’re cultists, fanatics, kind of like Nazis, Fascists....

Ignoring, in one neat stroke both the caveat on supporters and the linked data-points on _______ ers. A neat trick!

Really, words fail me. Would that words would also fail the tendentious and obfuscatory dmk76! But no fear....

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

dmd76's picture
Submitted by dmd76 on

Davidson, it's interesting you would bring up the criticizing Americans as a whole. Not being an American (was born in Argentina), but having lived here for several decades, I've had very similar conversations to this with people back in Argentina. And I have defended Americans as a whole from facile charges like "American behavior in the world can be explained because they are, for the most part, arrogant/ignorant/etc.", not because I was personally insulted, but because they aren't true (and I assure you, I wasn't just thinking about Franklin, Roosevelt,etc.).
To answer your post, in one breath you say I'm "confusing legitimate criticism with a smear against all Obama supporters" and in then next you say "cult-like fervor is not merely relegated to the fringes, but indeed a group characteristic". Which is it? I'd encourage you to make up your mind before you claim others are confused.

Lambert, do you have reading comprehension problems? You're the one being "tendentious and obfuscatory". Those slurs ("cultists, fanatics, kind of like Nazis, Fascists...") are a collection of the charges laid against Obama supporters by commenters here, in this thread. If you think those are trollish, I'd encourage you to take it up with the people who made them (esp. Xenophon, who claimed that the Obama campaign were sort of like Nazis, fascists, and Communists. Is that the high level of discourse Senior Fellows on this blog regularly engage in?). Your caveat is meaningless when, in your list of examples, you point to thousands of people at a rally. Is it just those people in that rally in Texas who are cultists? Or are you trying to imply that a significant number of Obama supporters everywhere are cultists? Please, you write a Modest Proposal about searching for the mot juste with which to insult Obama supporters (some? most? a significant number? a commenter in a blog somewhere? who knows), and you're shocked and exasperated that someone would call you out. Where's that list of names other people have called you? I think we need another Lambert pity party.

dmd76's picture
Submitted by dmd76 on

I have not defended Obama; I've defended his supporters. And RE:mocking, re-read the OP.

dmd76's picture
Submitted by dmd76 on

Did you see who else is cited in support of the "cultists" framework in that article? Joe Klein and David Brooks. That alone should tell you it's wrong. Also, Dr. Wilentz is not an entirely disinterested party.

Submitted by lambert on

But Brooks was an early Obama supporter, along with Kristol and Sullivan. All part of the post-partisan thing that shows how Obama appeals to Republicans.

So how can he be wrong now?

It's the old problem in philosophy, isn't it? The identity of indiscernibles. From the same Telegraph article (which should probably cite the Sacramento Bee article):

At the campaign’s “Camp Obama” - a training programme run ahead of primaries in key states - volunteers are schooled to avoid talking to voters about policy, and instead tell of how they “came” to Obama, just as born-again Christians talk about “coming to Jesus.”

So, let's experiment:

I encounter two people, both trying to get me to join a movement of some sort and employing powerful (to them, at least) conversion narratives as method of persuading them.

I try to figure out what their movements are all about, and to discern the difference between them by trying to get more detail about their movement. In both cases, I'm deflected ("look at the website!"). All I'm left with is the conversion narrative. (This being an experiment, things are simplified!)

I conclude if the two ducks walk like ducks, and quack like ducks, they're ducks. (I hasten to add that this is the _________ er case, not the Obama supporter case.)

But it seems, no, there are no ducks, not any, that ducks do not walk or quack, and even if they walk or quack, they are not ducks, and in any case ducks should never be talked about. Frustrating!

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

dmd76's picture
Submitted by dmd76 on

Are you talking about this Kristol?

But gratitude for sparing us a third Clinton term only goes so far. Who, inquiring minds want to know, is going to spare us a first Obama term?

This David Brooks? (the tone and content of this article should bring a smile to your face, if you can ignore the stupid digs at Hillary)

Now, I reread that sacbee article that you link to in the OP. I agree with you: a campaign using overtly religious language to talk about their candidate is troubling, distasteful, even ____ish. The problem is, the article doesn't quote anyone from the campaign using the terminology "tell your conversion narrative" or "tell how you came to Barack". The reporter, John Hill, writes:

On the verge of a hectic few weeks leading to Super Tuesday, the crucial Feb. 5 multistate primary including California's, Mack wanted to drill home one of the campaign's key strategies: telling potential voters personal stories of political conversion.

She urged volunteers to hone their own stories of how they came to Obama – something they could compress into 30 seconds on the phone.

The problem here is that they aren't direct quotes, they are characterizations by the reporter. It's the reporter that's injecting the religious language here, not the campaign.

As for not wanting to be referred to a website, how would you suggest Obama inform people about his policy positions? A stump speech that lists them all? A series of newspaper articles? By buying time on the networks like Perot did in '92? I'm being serious here, I don't understand what your objection is.