We are in the midst of a political phenomenon. It is fairly extraordinary, and perhaps beyond anything we have seen in our lifetime. Our new president, Barack Obama, is not only the head of government; he has become a cultural symbol with rock-star appeal. I know people – lifelong Republican voters — who at one point viewed Obama with something close to contempt, who began to warm to him a bit during the presidential debates, and who now wish they had cast their vote for Obama. He takes office with his popularity near 80 percent and the political winds at his back.
What explains this appeal?
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