I sympathize with your liberal reader, desirous as he is to let campaign enthusiasms become history. I think, however, that the legitimate reasons conservatives continue to harp on the excessives of the previous campaign are manifold. The following list is by no means exhaustive:
1) Accountability. This candidate made promises, and if democracy means anything, it is accountability to the citizenry. President Obama should be made to give an account for his commitments. Who will harp on this if not NR and her lesser compatriots?
2) Fear. Americans should fear the Obama political machine – not because we fear hope (as he would certainly suggest) but because republics should fear the charismatic executive. It is a disturbing departure from American political culture to use, prominently, the face of the politician for marketing. The central marketing hook for Obama is not a pithy slogan or policy idea. It’s his mug – on T-shirts, on posters, on… mugs. I’ve been to countries that love giant portraits of their leader. I left those places.
3) Déjà Vu. We can expect a reprise of the same campaign in 2012. If, as your reader suggested, the campaign demi-deification was merely an oddity of the 2008 campaign, his central message was fraud – a cynical political exploitation – and it deserves exposure because he certainly encouraged it (return to point 1). Possibly, in that case, we could expect a different tactic from Obama in 2012 due to different circumstances. On the other hand, there was undeniable success to his methods, and he’s not likely to wholly abandon it. If, however, there was any sincerity in that campaign – that Obama is the only man that can “heal the holes in our souls”, we are fully justified in countering it now. Worse, he will approach that campaign season with the moral obligation to leverage presidential power to ensure that the healing continue.
To be clear, I don’t fear any apocolyptic power grab beyond the creeping (fast) incremental ratcheting of federal authority into every aspect of our lives.