the charisma/cult debate

The media seems interested of late in dissecting Obama’s sway over people and looking, in general, at the idea of charismatic politicians. Journalists, contrary to popular opinion, are just as likely to to get caught up in the moment as anyone else. I, for one, felt galvanized when I first saw Obama speak at the ’04 National Convention. But I have to confess that I haven’t spent much time analyzing what it is he’s doing that gives me goose bumps (at least not as much time as my favorite media critics have.
Generally speaking, I am very suspicious of any kind of mass reaction to anything. If history as taught us anything, it’s to be suspicious of individuals who can lead large groups of people to follow them. But I’m not sure I would want that, um, paranoia, to keep the country from electing an inspiring leader.

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