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Obama Mystique Raises Clout to Mythic Proportions

January 26, 2009
By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

President Barack Obama is walking, talking, and acting like a conservative.

There’s daily footage of him as the devoted husband and doting dad. He speaks reverentially about the founders of the nation and the need to serve the country and each other. He wears his faith on his sleeve, even inviting famed Pastor Rick Warren to the inauguration to ask for God’s blessing.

But the conservative symbols and imagery stand in stark contrast to the left-of-center agenda emerging from his administration: executive orders that weaken America’s national security and safety, taxpayer funding of abortions, three-quarters of a billion dollars in pork included in the bailout bill, etc.

We’ve seen presidential liberalism in action before. But what’s different this time around is that Obama is in a better position to move the country to far-left regions than were any of his predecessors.

It’s a given that whoever sits in the Oval Office is a bona-fide celebrity. It’s always been that way. But Obama’s star power rises to a level that his predecessors could only have dreamed of.

The media helped move the needle up on Obama’s fame meter with embarrassing, one-sided, royalty-like coverage during the campaign season. The needle continues to be pushed further thanks to the minute-by-minute gushing on the part of news and entertainment venues.

Additional factors contribute to Obama’s celebrity cachet, including good looks, confidence, and a take-charge attitude. He’s the hottest celebrity on the planet, affirmed by the number of magazine covers his face adorns, with People and US Weekly leading the pack. And “Entertainment Tonight,” “Extra,” and “Access Hollywood” just can’t seem to get their fill of the Barackstar. Obamamania shows no sign of diminishing.

The presidential merchandising is in full swing, too. There’s the “official” souvenir plate available via late-night TV commercials, and more than 36,000 Obama-related products are offered on eBay.

Cable is getting in on the presidential celebrity act. National Geographic has set aside time for a special presentation on Obama and his travels on Air Force One. Not to be left out, filmmakers are jockeying for the rights to a big-screen Obama.

Our new president may be the biggest celebrity on Pennsylvania Avenue, but he’s not D.C.’s only one. The high CQ (celebrity quotient) of his wife, first lady Michelle Obama, was demonstrated in a recent comparison in the U.K. Sunday Times, which labeled her “America's Lady Diana.”

“Not since Diana, Princess of Wales, has there been such a glamorous role model at the apex of society. The First Lady has excited the fashion world, but like Diana she would rather champion the less fortunate than be a clotheshorse,” the newspaper opined.

The GOP has a challenge in trying to deal with a media avalanche of images, symbolism, and rhetoric that is systematically constructing Obama, the Myth.

The celebrity mystique has even affected those who watch the skies for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence. In a piece aptly titled “The Empire Strikes Barack,” the U.K. Sun reports that aliens in UFOs may have attended the Obama inauguration ceremony. Reportedly, a shadowy object streaked across the sky in CNN footage taken immediately before Obama’s inauguration speech. The object flew behind the Washington Monument and vanished into the clouds.

UFO expert Nick Pope said, “We know it is not an aircraft because a strict no-fly zone was imposed over the area. It seems to have been going a little bit too fast for any type of bird.”

Why would visitors from other galaxies go the distance to attend the inauguration of Barack Obama?

The answer comes from pop singer and former boy band member Justin Timberlake, who reflected on the impact of Inauguration Day: “We are cool now.”

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James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
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