The Anchoress writes:
[T]he second photographer ... describes the "cult of personality" he saw developing around W after 9/11, and says he found it "shocking" to see in America. Because this is about Bush, we do not know what he thinks about the Mega-cult and magic thinking surrounding Obama.There are hugely important differences. Bush fought his way into office as a normal politician, a decent guy, not any sort of hero or god. Then, he was the man who happened to be President when dramatic events events occurred, and the people looked to him to do what was needed. Any glorification of him was a consequence of those events and not through a conscious campaign to inspire a cult of personality. (There is an exception or two. I'm thinking of "Mission Accomplished.") When the love subsided, he and his people did little — too little — to pump us up again. Bush soldiered on accepting the hatred and — apparently — doing what he thought was right, with the solace that history would — ultimately — respect him.
By contrast, the entire plan to bring Obama into office depended on the glorification of the man, whose actual experience was so bizarrely limited that it took some nerve to claim to be ready. Magic was required. The cult grew up not as he held power and needed to respond to a crisis. The cult was the campaign to bring him into power. It depended on our projecting all sorts of hopes and dreams onto him, and he knew it. Inside, he may have felt embarrassed by the whole enterprise, but he'd figured out that it could work, and he was right. Now, I think this worked because he really is a solid, normal person who remained grounded in the middle of all this craziness. And I like to think that, now that he's President, with his steely nerve, his intelligence, and his groundedness, he'll do the job that must be done. The trickery is over.