Confessions of an Obama Cultist

Dear fellow Obama-maniacs,

Okay, I’m coming out of the closet, and admitting I’m one of you. There, I can say it, at last, out loud and proud: I’m a conservative-paleo-libertarian with a man-crush on Obama.

Whew! What a relief! Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I can speak freely, and openly, about my condition – and, what’s more, address my fellows in the spirit of mutual solidarity and support. Because it looks like we’re going to need all the support we can get.

First, my story: Like many of you, I tried to deny it. I lived deeply, and tragically, closeted, afraid to face my inner desires and tortured by the possibility that someone might find out. Trying not to look at him when he came on television – which, as you know, is often. I looked, of course, but only out of the corner of my eye, and tried not to swoon as those golden words melted the very air.

I even denounced him a couple of times right here in this space, just to cover my tracks: yes, I was an Obama-basher, because I just couldn’t face the truth about myself. Yet I couldn’t resist the siren song of my real desires, and, slowly but surely, I inched out of the closet and into the light.

Obama kept mentioning the war – you know, the one we were lied into on phonyevidence” of a nonexistent nuclear program. Not only that, but he kept reminding Hillary we should never had launched it in the first place: he needled her until she visibly squirmed. That was the hook, the lure that drew me ineluctably into the Obama cult.

Okay, let’s admit this, too: it is a cult, i.e. a group centered around a single leader, whose pronouncements and personality form the basis of belief. With Obama, the clincher is that distinctly presidential air he carries with such alacrity: he acts and speaks as if he’s already the President, and is merely waiting to be officially elected out of simple courtesy and respect for tradition.

Obama-mania is indeed a cult, but that’s okay: after all, I’m a longtime Ron Paul fan, too – my enthusiasms are strictly non-partisan – and so idealism doesn’t scare me, I think it’s a rare and good thing in politics, and in life. After all, Christianity, when it began, was a cult, and yet now we have presidential candidates chasing after the Christian constituency, no matter how wacky some of their leaders may be.

I have to say that the turning point, for me, was when Rep. Paul’s presidential campaign seemed to go into suspended animation. An attempt to derail the Revolution by challenging Paul in the GOP congressional primary necessitated a tactical shift, and Chris Peden, the challenger, was crushed, 70-30. Oh, it was a great day: you could practically hear Roger L Simon sobbing and I’ll be damned if I didn’t hear the faint echoes of Jamie Kirchick‘s furious shrieks (“I’m melting! Melting!“).

With the GOP presidential sweepstakes over, the antiwar voter – that is, the single-issue voter who conditions his support on the candidate’s generally pro-peace foreign policy stance – was left with a single choice, and that is Obama.

This is really the core of Obama’s appeal, and not just in my case: his calls to end the war, and change our crazed foreign policy, always elicit the loudest cheers at his mammoth rallies. It doesn’t matter that he’s not a consistent, principled, down-the-line opponent of interventionism: in the public mind, he is the antiwar candidate. Which is precisely what that 3-in-the-morning Clinton ad was all about: do you trust a peacenik like Obama to be ready to go to war at a moment’s notice – to bomb now, and consider all the possibilities later?

That and the Obama-is-a-Muslim rumor, shamelessly validated by Hillary herself – “As far as I know” he’s not a Muslim! – generated a Clintonian mini-surge. The results of the Ohio and Texas Democratic primaries may not amount to much in terms of delegates – Clinton picked up around six, according to the system sanctioned by the party’s arcane rules – yet nevertheless her comeback represents a major setback for the only antiwar candidate left in the running. The fix is in.

The combative tone of the Clintonites has given the signal to the Democratic establishment that they’d better not even begin to think about abandoning the Clintons to a well-deserved fate. In the end, as I have pointed out previously, the super-delegates will determine Obama’s fate – and you don’t really think they’re going to let a perceived peace candidate anywhere near the White House, now do you?

It’s been widely noted that, in going after Obama, the Clintonites are utilizing the same tactics the Republicans would – the three-in-the-morning phone call ad might have been produced by the Republican National Committee, for all the difference it makes. With that ad, the Clintonites announced their scorched earth policy: they would rather split the Democratic party than give up their dream of the Restoration. It’s only natural that the breaking point comes in the realm of foreign policy, and specifically over the issue of the alleged permanence of our ongoing “crisis” – the entire rationale behind our foreign policy of perpetual war.

Constant crisis means constant war hysteria, and this is the key to understanding the mindset that got us where we are today in Iraq. In the world of Hillary’s red-phone ad, war is a constant option – so that, at any moment, and probably close to if not exactly at 3 a.m., the President of the United States is more than likely to be woken up and forced to make a decision: war, or peace. Which is it to be? No time to think, or consult: it’s either give the order to inflict mass death – or chill with a cup of coffee, and maybe even a secret smoke in the Rose Garden, before giving the order to launch World War III.

Hillary the hawk shrieks, and strikes – but, on second thought, she’s more like a shrike, a fierce bird that seems to take a perverse pleasure in impaling its victims on thorns, perhaps as a display to frighten its enemies. Our Democratic war-birds have always ruled the party’s nest, and the Clintons won’t hesitate to push Obama and his supporters to the forest floor, if they have to.

At this point, neither candidate has enough pledged delegates to win, and neither is likely to acquire that magic number. Therefore, in the end, it will be the super-delegates – the party Establishment – who will pick the nominee. A few hundred party insiders – now that’s American democracy in action. Keep this in mind the next time the US government takes, say, Russia to task for supposedly veering off the road to democracy.

The probable outcome of all this will be the complete lack of a candidate who holds anything close to a rational position on matters of foreign policy. Hillary Clinton’s record on this question is disgraceful: her actual stance is closer to Joe Lieberman’s than Obama’s, except she doesn’t have Joe’s courage. And as for McCain ….

Ron Paul has ruled out a third party run, unfortunately, although we are indeed fortunate to have such a staunch opponent of interventionism in the US Congress. Paul’s victory in his congressional primary is a real smack in the face to the neocons, and to the Beltway “libertarian” snobs who decided Paul didn’t deserve their endorsement (or even a fair shake): screw you, guys, your smear campaign failed miserably.

All in all, however, this one victory in defense of gains already made is far from enough. As it stands now, in terms of changing our counterproductive and downright dangerous foreign policy, there will be no candidate on the presidential ballot this November worth a damn.

There are rumors that Bob Barr, the former Republican congressman from Georgia, will launch a third party challenge on the right: Barr opposes the Iraq war, and has been part of a coalition of conservatives, liberals, and libertarians who oppose the PATRIOT Act, the Military Commissions Act, and similarly authoritarian measures recently imposed by the Bush regime and its Democratic enablers. A meeting between Barr and Ron Paul has been reported, but, as yet, nothing definite seems to have solidified – and the hour grows late.

In my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, I inserted a quotation from Old Right lion Garet Garrett in the front, and did so for a reason that seems especially relevant now:

“Between government in the republican meaning, that is, Constitutional, representative, limited government, on the one hand, and Empire on the other hand, there is mortal enmity. Either one must forbid the other or one will destroy the other. That we know. Yet never has the choice been put to a vote of the people.”

“Democracy,” American-style, is the War Party’s most successful scam, a device by which it gets to validate its war plans without ever having them contested at the ballot box. The primary process is designed to weed out all possible challengers to the bosses of the “major” parties, and, when that doesn’t work, the Democratic wing of the War Party always has recourse to the “super-delegates,” or some such device, to snatch the prize away from an upstart contender.

With the GOP effectively inoculated against anti-interventionist ideas, and the Democratic antiwar base kept in check by the super-delegate-DLCPPI axis of Hillary, the antiwar majority is denied even a voice in the presidential election.

The system is in crisis. We simply can’t afford to police the world, and we’re going bankrupt in the attempt. At the present rate of deterioration, the economic foundations of American imperialism are approaching collapse – and we’re looking at a very short time-frame, as such things go.

The economic and social consequences of such a reckless policy are staring us in the face, and this brings to mind another quote from the prescient Garrett:

“No doubt the people know they can have their Republic back if they want it enough to fight for it and to pay the price. The only point is that no leader has yet appeared with the courage to make them choose.”

We’re in a crisis, alright, a crisis of leadership – or the lack of it. Where is the politician who will challenge the War Party, and take his fight all the way to the end, however bitter it may be? When Obama, for example, is denied the nomination, when we all know he won it fair and square – when the super-delegates crown Queen Hillary with laurel leaves and proclaim “Hail, Clinton!” – what will the Obama-maniacs do? What, for that matter, will Obama do?

There’s talk that Hillary will offer him the vice-presidency (certainly she’d never accept a subordinate role), but I don’t believe that’s any longer possible: the red phone ad pretty much says Obama isn’t to be trusted with that phone, and that rules him out for the number two spot on the ticket.

If Obama is really the leader of our dreams, the messiah figure who lives up to our completely unreasonable expectations, and is fated to deliver us from the evil that’s enveloped us for the past eight years, he’ll launch an independent bid for the White House. Of course, it won’t happen: but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen.

And yet, it could happen: anything can happen, especially in this volatile season. A popular movement demanding that he run, a backlash against the Old Politics and the beginning of a new era of tumult and rising opposition to the Powers That Be – can it happen?

Our answer must be: Yes, it can

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].