Cults (plural) of personality
I know your anger, I know your dreams
I’ve been everything you want to be
I’m the cult of personality
Like Mussolini and Kennedy
I’m the cult of personality
- Living Colour
The latest round of polls in the post-Biden announcement era have left me scratching my head yet again. On the rare occasions when I turn out to be wrong, (who… me?) I at least try to make some sort of amends and determine where it was that I went off the beam. Since the end of Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations – at least for this cycle – I have been confidently awaiting the slow, perhaps-reluctant, but steady return of her avid followers to the Democratic fold. If these poll numbers hold any validity at all, it simply hasn’t happened to the required degree, and all of Hillary’s exhortations to the clan have not resulted in even half of them signing on to the Obama bandwagon. What went wrong?
During the early days of the Democratic primary, one of the repeated battle cries we heard were the endless accusations that Obama’s followers were a “cult of personality” who were star-struck by an empty suit with no substance. No matter that the two candidates had virtually identical platforms and proposals… Hillary was the candidate of substance who would bring those plans to fruition. She would correct the country’s errant course – set these last eight years by the Republicans, mind you – and do so in effective manner on Day One which the youthful and untested Obama would simply not be able to manage.
We all know how that story ended in June. And now a significant number of these acolytes seem prepared to vote for John McCain. Good news for Big Mac, no doubt, but what sort of followers are you getting in this bargain? If they were following Senator Clinton but are willing to reject Senator Obama who wanted to lead them in virtually the exact same direction, then were they not following the person rather than the issues and ideals? And when given the option, if they turn around and state that the reason for their choice of McCain is based on his readiness to lead, his character, his experience… are they not following a new person rather than the direction? In short, is the quality of being “ready to lead on Day One” still a virtue if your chosen official is prepared to lead you in the opposite direction from that which you purported to desire only ninety days earlier? Or are you just following a new personality, issues be damned?
There are a few exceptions, of course, such as I found during my interview with Silverio Salazar. He told me in quite plain language that he admired McCain’s stance on abortion, energy and the war, among other issues of the day. This is all well and good, but I’ll confess I was still left wondering why he had been supporting Democrats all these years, and Hillary Clinton specifically this season. It really sounds as if McCain would have been a far better fit for him than Clinton right from the beginning.
In short, I’m left in yet another state of confusion when attempting to glean the inner workings of the minds of the voters. Will the real cult of personality please stand up?