This interpretation of events will obviously be contentious, but I generally like it! Lyle Rossiter argues that Obama's election is the result of idealization on the part of immature adults who are clinging to their childhood.
When a child's development proceeds well enough, his tendency to overvalue others is gradually neutralized to become a mature capacity for realistic admiration. Instead of starry-eyed worship of grand illusions, the mature citizen admires and idealizes proven values. He reveres, among other things, certain time-honored virtues and the people who practice them, especially the personal ideals of honesty, integrity, self-reliance, courage, persistence and dependability; the political ideals of individual liberty, the rights of property and contract, and the rule of law; and the ethical ideals of mutuality, decency and charity, among others.
When development does not proceed well enough, the longing of the child for a benevolent parent with superhuman powers persists into adulthood. The search for an Idealized Other easily contaminates the immature citizen's judgment on political matters, with grave implications for societal sanity. His wish for a loving caretaker in the flesh aborts his moral commitment to the abstract principles essential to civilized freedom. Instead of seeking through limited government those protections that allow him to make a good life for himself, the immature adult seeks an omnipotent leader and benevolent government to provide it for him. In his fondest fantasy, The Modern Parental State will meet his needs and desires, rescue him from his mistakes and quiet his existential angst; The Modern Permissive Culture will indulge his appetites and rationalize his sins. The Idealized Leader who brings "Change We Can Believe In" will make us all, as Jacquez Barzun observed in "From Dawn to Decadence," "safe and at ease in a hundred ways." ...
Ignorance combined with immaturity can be politically devastating. On Nov. 4, 2008, massive numbers of immature and ignorant American voters failed to understand the ominous implications of Barack Obama's personal history: his adolescent tutelage with Communist activist Frank Marshall Davis, his 20-year filial relationship with hate-filled Jeremiah Wright, his political and business dealings with terrorist William Ayers, his real estate transactions with felon Tony Rezko, his Fannie Mae connections to the sub-prime mortgage debacle, his vote in the Illinois Senate against medical care of aborted-live babies and his radically liberal voting record in the U.S. Senate. On Nov. 4, 2008, millions of immature and ignorant American voters saw Obama as a loving father of two little girls but ignored his choice to send them every Sunday to hear the vile racist and socialist rants of a mad preacher.
Read the whole thing. I think this characterization of the typical modern voter is spot-on:
The uneducated citizen expects government to run his life with myriad regulations, pay his bills with other people's money and force others to "cooperate" with him for his benefit. Like a dependent child, he seeks freedom from want and risk, not freedom to live responsibly as he chooses.
If America is going to stay free we either need wholesale education reform or a restriction of the voting franchise. I'd greatly prefer the former, but I'd take the latter in order to preserve our liberty.