The Magazine

Overcoming Obamaddiction

Craig Karpel’s 12 steps to recovery.

Oct 8, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 04 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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What Karpel has identified is the reason why Obama is still buoyed up in the polls despite being so far behind the curve of his own promises, not to mention incompetent at the job he was elected to do. The reason is that American politics has been infected with a need by the media for “narrative” and by millions of voters for the kind of emotional hit they get from show business:

In 2008 it became common for legacy media personnel covering the presidential campaign to try to convey the dazzling podium-presence that they attributed to Obama by calling him a rock star. Leaving aside the problem that real rock stars—I’ve known a few—tend to be insecure, vain, fickle, capricious, and, except when on stage, shy, the reality is that they earn their living by driving audiences into transports of ecstasy. It is not a good thing that American politics has degenerated to the point that calling a candidate for the most critical job on earth a rock star is considered a compliment.

It is important and urgent, Karpel writes, that those in the grip of Obamaddiction move past denial and stop blaming others, accept responsibility, and embrace alternatives. One suspects that he isn’t holding his breath. And, of course, the AA modeling is just the scaffolding. The book isn’t written so much to change behavior or minds—like the debates upon which the Romney campaign has now pinned its hopes. What Karpel has done—delightfully, given the gravity of the exercise—is explain how we arrived at a point where “we became hooked on a political cult that, blurring the distinction between government and religion, presented a politician as a messianic figure.”

One Karpel has now memorably and conclusively made laughable.

Geoffrey Norman, a writer in Vermont, is a frequent contributor to The Weekly Standard.


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