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The Charm of Obama

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By Ben Cohen

Despite his extreme cynicism, Matt Taibbi is being charmed by Barack Obama. Is the Senator from Illinois the real deal?

All of this saccharine talk of "change" is so transparently a
mechanical come-on that if it were anybody but Barack Obama
uttering the word, you'd want to throw up at the very sound of it.
And yet, as I watch Obama deliver the same hackneyed act I've seen
hundreds of times before, I feel against my will that I am actually
watching something different at work. After Kerry and Dean
speeches, I often heard people say things like, "At least he's not
as dumb as Bush." But after Obama speeches, I see audience members
stumbling around in all directions with orgiastic smiles on their
faces, as though they've been splashed with gallons of magic pixie
paint. In Raleigh, North Carolina, where Obama knocked dead a
massive town-hall crowd at a local fairgrounds with a speech that
said almost nothing at all, I ask a woman named Melanie Threatt why
she thinks her life would improve under an Obama presidency. "It
just will," she says.