You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Douthat's Confusion

Ross Douthat sarcastically points out that many people do, in fact, regard Barack Obama in overheated or even quasi-messianic terms. I agree with this. What I don't understand is why Douthat thinks this is a rebuttal to the argument in my latest TRB column about Obama and the charge of messianism. Since my argument apparently was not clear enough, I'll sum it up:

1. The Cult of Obama is no stranger or kitschier than the Cult of Reagan or the (short-lived) Cult of George W. Bush. Indeed, Bush, unlike Obama, literally believed he was called by God to lead the world. Ross is more theologically inclined than I am, so I'll leave it to him to decide whether that's less messianic than Obama's primise to ameloriate the effects of climate change upon global sea levels.

2. The notion that Obama is holding himself up as a God-like figure rests upon a series of distortions. 

3. It's true that a lot of Obama supporters have unrealistic expectations of what he could accomplish as president, but that is not a good reason to vote against him.

--Jonathan Chait