False Messiah

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Check out this smart post by Time‘s Michael Scherer on the latest McCain ad, which (Scherer observes) briefly and subtly paints Obama as a False Messiah–or at least as the head of an alien cult. I’d say that the ad picks up on an element in the Hillary Clinton campaign; namely, an intense dislike of Obama that really seemed to be about a dislike of his enthusiastic minions. I’m less persuaded than Scherer seems to be that this can work for McCain. Hillary had her own minions, driven by a passion if not for her personally than for the First Woman. I’ve seen no evidence yet that McCain’s followers–lower in commitment and intensity–have conceived anything like a similar resentment. There’s also a little bit of cognitive dissonance in the ad. A False Messiah is, presumably, someone who promises a salvation he can’t deliver. Here, McCain isn’t charging Obama with promising anything, but rather with doing nothing.