Jonah Goldberg

The gods have made their choice. The Olympians have found their anointed one. Bow, bow, before the vessel of the Divine Spark!

So sayeth the priestly class of the mainstream media as they witness the divine laying of hands from the Kennedys upon the New Deliverer, Barack Obama.

He is, quoth ABC's Terry Moran, the "new son of Camelot." Moran continued: "Ted and Caroline Kennedy pass the torch to Barack Obama to carry the legacy of JFK." David Wright, also of ABC, proclaimed, "the audacity of hope had its rendezvous with destiny ... Obama is now an adopted son of Camelot."

MSNBC's Chris Matthews: "Today, for a brief shining hour, the young got to see what we saw, not the gauzy images of Camelot, but the living spirit of the New Frontier."

CBS's Harry Smith proclaimed: "In the civic religion that is Democratic politics, the most treasured covenant was passed to the young senator from Illinois."

One would think that in this age of hysteria about global warming, the press would show some restraint in releasing so much hot air into the atmosphere. Of course, in a gasbaggery race with Ted Kennedy, everyone needs to go into overdrive.

Still, it is a startling thing to behold: Nearly 45 years after the man's tragic death, the liberal establishment remains enthralled to the cargo cult that is the John F. Kennedy myth.

And it is a myth. Start with the "Camelot" label. It's worth remembering that nobody used that word to describe JFK's presidency when he was alive. The media's marketing of the term stems from Jackie Kennedy's recollection that her husband liked the Broadway musical "Camelot," which had opened a month after Kennedy's election. Theodore White, a journalist-admirer of Kennedy's, convinced Life magazine to run with the idea. The musical's tagline "for a brief shining moment" became an overnight cliché to describe the supposedly glorious idealism of Kennedy's "thousand days."


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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