About the Book—Branding Obamessiah
In 2004 a small cadre of Democratic politicos and communications experts met to hatch a secret plan to elect a largely unknown biracial American to the highest office in the land in only four years. Knowing that their chosen man would have to rise above Hillary Clinton and the eventual Republican candidate, and employing everything from evangelistic social messaging to stadium-filled political revivals, Team Obama created a new style of American political leader defined by a religion’s “Sacred Six” characteristics:
• a creation story
• sacred words
• sacred images
• sacred rituals
• true believers
• a messianic leader
These Sacred Six became Barack Obama’s Devotional Code, eliciting enthused voter chants of Hope, Change, and Belief (“Yes we can!”) and consummating a special relationship between voters and a saintly candidate whom Oprah Winfrey baptized as “The One.”
Mark Edward Taylor tells this fascinating story by looking at everything from the role of blessed celebrity endorsements to evangelistic campaign rallies, Obama’s hagiographic autobiographies, iconic photographs such as the Associated Press photo used on the book cover, official and true-believer websites, sermonic speeches, mainstream media veneration, and unholy relics like the Obama Chia head that so displeased Team Obama.
Mark argues that Obama’s 2008 victory also foreshadowed the future of American presidential politics in the age of instantaneous social media that can be used to capture younger voters who seek politically untarnished candidates they can truly believe in. While the astounding victory of Barack Obama over veteran Republican John McCain and charismatic running mate Sarah Palin firmly established the Obamessiah brand, it should also alert all Americans to the increasingly potent combination of entertainment, celebrity, and religion in American politics.
From the Foreword by Cal Thomas
“Even before the beginning of our nation—in the Mayflower Compact—America’s purpose was infused with religious language. Politicians who were not personally ‘religious’ understood the need for religious imagery in gaining votes from those who worship an authority higher than the state. . . . Then came Barack Obama in 2008. . . . This was what liberal Democrats had been waiting for: a candidate who could pick off sufficient numbers of the evangelical vote and win an election. . . . Mark Edward Taylor gets to the heart of Obama’s appeal.”