Recently, David Marcus, New York Correspondent for The Federalist, penned an article on the “cult of personality presidency” and asked two questions; is it permanent and how will it shape the future of politics? Marcus points to presidencies he describes as “the manager” president and “the cult of personality” president. In describing the “cult of personality” president, Marcus writes, “the cult of personality president is one whose picture you might find on household walls while they are in office.” Furthermore, he states that Americans invest more personally in the “cult of personality” presidents than others.
Americans, at least the ones who supported these cult of personality presidents, invest in them very personally. This changes the nature of political debate; it moves it from a relational debate to a very emotional one. We might almost think of it as the difference between criticizing a family member or a casual acquaintance. The faults and virtues of an acquaintance can be considered in a neutral manner, but the family member is far more likely to be vigorously defended in spite of their faults.
According to Marcus, with the election of Donald Trump in 2016, America is experiencing back-to-back “cult of personality” presidents, which is a first in American history.
Taking Marcus’ assessment of “cult of personality presidencies” further, both Trump and Hussein Soetoro are what I have described as “the rock star” presidents. Both men evoke very strong emotions in Americans just like many a rock star or rock band has with a fan base. However, Trump and Hussein Soetoro have pushed the envelope in provoking an emotional response. One is positive among the American public as when the Beatles hit the shores of the united States. What was termed “Beatle-mania” was seen in mostly young American women – obsession, loyalty to the point of psychosis, screaming, mob-like behavior based on admiration.
The other emotional response is negative with the same emergent of mobs, but these mobs are violent in nature. Those supporting Hussein Soetoro were violent against those who opposed #44. With Trump, those in opposition to Trump were violent against those who supported Trump and those who did not support the Democratic platform, mainly the rhetoric of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Moreover, extremist groups developed under Hussein Soetoro, who supported their lawless activity and encouraged it through subtle incitement present in his speeches.
Hussein Soetoro appeared on many a TV talk show while Moochie danced with Ellen DeGeneres to “Uptown Funk.” This was a great departure from previous presidents and their wives, who limited their “star” appearances while maintaining their dignity and integrity instead of “shaking their junk” on TV. And, it was not one that reflected a respect for the office of the president or the post of First Lady. Most importantly, the rise of the “president-struck” media emerged where outlets were more concerned with promoting a president, instead of reporting on the presidency.
Mingled into the emergence of the “cult of personality presidencies” was the issue of race. As the first mixed race president, Hussein Soetoro had a golden opportunity to unite this nation. Instead, he threw a wedge into the machine using race as the initial divider then moving on to include every difference among the people that developed into what became termed “tribal identity politics.” He promoted the “victim status” while playing the race card at every opportunity to the point that being white meant being evil.
With Trump, America saw the rise of the “Twitter” president. Much of Trump’s communication with average citizens has occurred over the giant social media outlet. It has become his way of “taking it to the people” when it comes to issues. Moreover, Trump became a president who calls out America’s lamestream entertainment enemedia for what it has become – outlets dedicated to sensationalist stories whether true, half-true or not true at all. If that wasn’t enough of a deviation from previous presidents, Trump “upped the ante” by speaking publicly against his opposition regardless of whom it was. This new style of presidency created by Donald Trump rang true to much of the citizenry whom the previous administration marginalized – white, conservative, Christian, constitutionalists with males fitting this description being the scapegoat for everything Hussein Soetoro considered “wrong” with the united States.
Marcus identified three previous modern-day presidents dubbed “the cult of personality” presidents – Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan; however, Americans did not witness an extreme polarization amongst citizens with either Kennedy or Reagan. There were those who disagreed with the policies of Kennedy and Reagan, but the animosity did not rise to the level seen under the eight years of Hussein Soetoro nor the current administration of Donald Trump. The huge popularity of Roosevelt resulted in his three-term election to the office of president. His policies, socialist as they were, received tremendous support from the people. Despite his popularity, Roosevelt had opposition; but, those opposing his policies remained in control of their emotions. Somewhere along the line, it became socially acceptable by some to act upon the extreme emotions attached to Hussein Soetoro and Donald Trump by many US citizens not seen with Roosevelt, Kennedy or Reagan.
Furthermore, the tone set by Hussein Soetoro echoed within members of the Democratic Party and other members of the federal government. Americans saw their elected representatives, particularly Democrats, turn against some of the constituents that elected them to office. And, the rhetoric coming out of Washington, DC, during the #44 administration projected disdain for the average American citizen, those citizens who are Republicans, hatred and marginalization for Christians, Jews, conservatives, libertarians, independents, and the middle class, whom the government was bleeding dry. The citizens supporting #44 echoed the tone set by influential Democrat representatives, Senators, and Hussein Soetoro.
Marcus claimed “cult of personality” presidents were viewed as “heroes and role models” by the citizens who invested more than faith in these men to lead America.
What these men have in common that is not true of Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter or either of the Bushes, is that many Americans vested in them more than just faith to run the government. They were also considered heroes, role models and examples of what America itself is about.
While it is easy to see where citizens might identify Kennedy, Roosevelt and Reagan as “heroes, role models, and example of what America itself is about,” it is difficult to attach these same descriptions to Barack Hussein Obama Soetoro Soebarkah and Donald J. Trump. A hero is an individual who exhibits great courage in the face of adversity to accomplish a goal/task considered extremely difficult or impossible. It often involves risking one’s life for a greater cause. Neither Hussein Soetoro nor Donald Trump can be classified as a hero. As far as role model is concerned, Hussein Soetoro is not one whose behavior should be emulated or one whom others should admire based upon his lack of moral character. Donald Trump is in the same boat as #44 when it comes to moral character; however, Trump has achieved success in life that others might strive to attain, which is positive in nature. But, as far as either of these two being “examples of what America itself is about,” neither cherish the Judeo-Christian values and principles upon which this republic was founded nor do they hold in high regard the freedom, liberty or pursuit of happiness that are the rights of citizens. It is the Judeo-Christian values and principles that uphold freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for citizens since rights are given by God, not government.
Marcus also claimed that George Washington was a “cult of personality” president in that the people of the time revered him in a way almost incomprehensible for the people of this day. But, is it really? For most citizens, the answer would be “yes” because schools are teaching a watered down version of history when it comes to the founding of this republic and the great sacrifices made, as well as the risk taken, by the very men who led the fight for independence.
Opposite to the “cult of personality president” is the “manager” type of president Marcus identified as intermingled between the “rock star” presidents to “soothe the body politic.”
In modern times, the toggling between cult of personality presidents and managers has often served to soothe the body politic. Under managerial presidents our political differences still exist, but we are less personally invested in their Oval Office avatars. This is especially true of those who support those presidents. Plenty of people hated George W. Bush, but few of his supporters felt personally attacked by that animosity.
Marcus has identified what could be considered a problem with many presidents not considered “cult of personality” presidents – the “managerial” president. Instead of these presidents adhering to the Constitution, these presidents “managed” the government expanded by previous presidents while making increases of their own to “manage” whatever problem arose in society. It is possible this is why individuals were less “personally invested” in the occupants of the Oval Office – these presidents did not sow, cultivate and continually harvest division amongst the people along every imaginable difference; continually evoke an emotional response from the people to keep dispassion and reason at bay; and/or these presidents did not appear to directly threaten the God-given individual unalienable rights of the people. In other words, previous presidents “managed” the government according to the status quo instead of causing extreme controversy by “leading” the people to return to the tenets outlined in the Constitution for government.
However, one can only “soothe the body politic” for so long before that body arises to reject the status quo. Instead of “manager” presidents, many citizens want “leader” presidents. These “leader” presidents adhere to the Constitution, establish policy in accordance with the Constitution, and use the Constitution when encountering unreasonable opposition. Moreover, citizens want a government that adheres to the Constitution defining co-equal three branches, where each branch exercises its established constitutional authority and jurisdiction, instead of one or another of the branches usurping the power of the others.
While Marcus laid much of the responsibility for the political climate at the feet of “cult of personality” presidents, he ignored the part played by political parties, ideologies anathema to our Constitution and way of life, the lamestream entertainment enemedia propagandizing the public, the psy-ops run against citizens by our own government, and the few wealth families who hold the belief they are entitled to “govern” solely based upon their wealth. The problems with the political climate in the united States goes much further than the “cult of personality” presidents; however, with the rise of individuals who possess personalities leading to the cult-like obsessions achieving the presidency, an explicit danger of losing the united States as it was established exists.
“Cult of personality” presidents and “manager” presidents polarize the people in their own way. Maintaining the “status quo” by “managing” government as it is while placing one’s own “mark” upon it for history’s sake is just as dangerous as “cult of personality” presidents operating “outside the box” that is the Constitution to appease their ego by leaving an extraordinary change upon government and society that sets a precedent for future presidents. With Americans having some fascination and preoccupation with “star” type individuals (think Kardashians, NFL players, Hollyweirdos, etc.), the propensity for blind infatuation with certain presidents will continue. But, as far as the “cult of personality” presidency being a permanent part of the political climate, only time can answer that question. Let’s all pray that it is a passing phenomenon as well as the “managerial” presidency so we can return to the constitutional adhering branches of government.
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