There is a basic difference between a cult and a political movement. A political movement is geared around issues, a cult is built around a belief that attaching yourself to a particular guru can teach you how to be a better person and "redeem" you and the rest of the world.
You can demonstrate that a political movement is wrong, but demonstrating that a cult is wrong does no good whatsoever. A cult leader functions by convincing his followers to become emotionally and physically invested in the idea that only by following them can they be saved. Cult membership has to be broken, like any emotionally based addiction.
For our purposes, we can classify Obama cultists into several categories.
1. Far left - Many members of the far left got on board with Obama, but often as a means to an end without actually believing his hype. Paradoxically they actually represent a small share of hard core Obama cult believers.
Even when they do need deprogramming, there really is no point to it. Regardless of whether they support Obama or not, their core beliefs are hostile to America and supportive of terrorism. Deprogramming them is the equivalent of switching an alcoholic from Dewar's to Jim Bean. It's a difference but not one that makes a difference in the nature of the basic problem.
The far left in any case will be deprogrammed by more radical members of their own kind, a process that began even before Obama's victory march, and has been gathering speed with Rahm's selection as Chief of Staff. Obama's policies will never move fast enough or be destructive enough to suit them, but that is normal for their kind which cannot be satisfied except by squabbling to death over which of them is radical enough. When in power the argument is usually settled with a round of revolutionary purges followed by a bloody dictatorship.
2. Early Obama Supporters - Generally liberal, sometimes to the left and often young, they found themselves swept up in a popular movement with plenty of coolness cachet attached to it. Except they expected things to actually change.
The media frenzy that is overwhelming ordinary Americans is leaving them curiously untouched. The election's conclusion and even the inauguration was anticlimactic, and they're noticing that things don't really seem to be changing the way they expected them to. Like the McGovern voters of another generation, they invested their time and energy in a candidate who was supposed to solve everything, only to be told that it's a lot more complicated than that. But they were never much for complications in the first place. When they hear the word "complicated", they change the channel.
Growing layoffs, expected to hit younger workers hardest, as well as the collapse of much of their economic boom fueled tech centered lifestyle, should add to their frustration and irritation, and leave them needing someone to blame. Remember this will take time.
Deprogramming them, especially when there is a generation gap, will be difficult. To the more progressive minded, pointing out that the economy is still bad, that we're still at war and that the government still exercises a great deal of police powers... and asking what exactly has changed, is a core attack.
In general, emphasizing Obama's failure to deliver is key. Don't unintentionally create defenses for them by harping on Obama's lack of experience. And don't play the "I Told You So" game. Once they realize how misguided supporting Obama was, they'll be able to play it themselves.
Particularly with young supporters, Obama's abuse of trust and shallowness will become key points. Young people regularly experience abuse of trust, and will look back on past emotional experiences as shallow. Once both can be established, a great deal of progress will have been made.
3. Black Obama Supporters - Black Obama supporters rank as having the most ridiculously inflated expectations for Obama, from widescale payouts to an end to racism and radical changes for their own status. Those expectations of course won't be met.
Obama has been good at exploiting the expectations of African-Americans, but at the same time has often disdained them on the campaign trail, focusing on using his own supposed African identity to trigger white guilt, while promising some sort of post-racial nirvana.
The worst disillusionment for them will be business as usual. While the usual liberal taps will be turned on, in many cases they were turned on under Bush already, and the change just won't be that dramatic. Not that anything could be. Racism won't go away either. And the disappointment will set in.
Here it can be useful to emphasize how many black leaders were outright opposed to Obama or suspicious of him. Burris' treatment, can also serve as a handy footnote. As is Obama sending his children to a private school. But the general lack of any real progress and deflated expectations are the key points here. This is not a demographic that will be voting Republican in large numbers any time soon, but their frustration can help send a note of disharmony through the picture that Obama would like to present.
4. Ordinary Americans - Millions of ordinary Americans, including those who did not support Obama in the election, are being swept up in the constant torrent of media hype that centers on promoting Obama and everything having to do with him.
When people stop to think about it, what they're really seeing is celebrity coverage without any content. And in a recession, "Where's the beef" is ultimately going to carry more weight, than footage of Obama's kids or the curtain Obama's wife is wearing. The power of that kind of non-stop propaganda coverage can't be underestimated, but the bottom line will have to be answered sooner or later.
A year from now, most people will be deadened against the hype and will care a lot more about unemployment and out of control government spending. And they will be ready to listen.
5. Hispanic-Americans - See 3 and 4, combined with Richardson, who had switched to Obama, getting the boot. Loss of jobs and lack of real economic development will be key.
6. Jewish-Americans - As I've said often, that 78 percent figure is false. We'll never know what the true figure is, but Obama did poorly with Jewish voters compared to Kerry or Gore. His policies on the War on Terror and Israel will leave plenty of material for those Jews who care about either one, but still voted for Obama.
The major caveat here is that most Jews who did vote for Obama, could give less of a damn about Israel or the War on Terror. They generally have no meaningful Jewish identity and belong in a generic upper middle class liberal category. Some were genuinely fooled by the propaganda barrage leading up to the election, and may be more reachable by facts.
7. Republicans - Yes there are unfortunately no shortage of Republicans caught up in the hype. They may not have voted for Obama, but some have been swept up in the whirlwind. Some more prominent figures are obviously taking part for personal gain or out of political timidity. Many are simply willing to give Obama a chance and hopeful he will succeed. That however will quickly fade, especially when they see some of the facts on Obama's record and the records of his appointees, and his rapidly inflating spending plans.
Those who meanwhile throw in with Obama for cynical political or politically correct reasons will be the first to jump ship, when they realize that the S.S. Barack is taking on water. There is no point in bothering with them until then.
8. Idiots - There is no real point in trying to convince idiots of anything. They're idiots. They can't help it. They voted for Obama in 2008. They'll vote for him in 2012. They'll vote for him in 2016 too, even if he (hopefully) isn't on the ballot.
Please note, idiots may belong to Categories 1-7. If you do encounter an idiot, leave it alone or follow the traditional custom of throwing rotten fruit in his direction.
9. The Media - Sooo how are those pre-arranged press conferences going? You guys really enjoy being completely shut out of the process, huh? How's the bankruptcy coming along at the paper? Tough times. Too bad the White House can't seem to help you, or even take your questions.
10. General Guidelines - Avoid dumping your frustration with Obama, pick specific areas and flaws to point to by way of conversation. Be reasonable and don't press your point. People can figure out things on their own better, when they aren't being shoved toward a particular conclusion. A well made point can nag away far better, than actual nagging.
While it can be tempting for those of us who are in the loop to dump a lot of knowledge at once, this kind of information dump approach can confuse people who will then naturally shut down the conversation. You want to pick specific points, and avoid areas that many people associate with conspiracy theories. While Obama's citizenship is a valid point, it is not one that will matter much to most people, particularly after the inauguration.
Bread and butter issues will be much more relevant for most people. For those who voted for Obama despite their beliefs being at odds with his in key areas, e.g. Catholics, Jews, Anti-War, Libertarians, it can help to emphasize his positions on Abortion, Hamas, Wars abroad or government spending. This will however be strictly fringe. Most people voted in order to make things better, and Reagan's old question will still play well, "Are you better off?"
Protests that Obama needs to be given more time or more of a chance, should be met with firm, "We've given him a chance. If he can't do the job, he should make way for someone who can" and "We can do better." And we can.
That above all is the key point. Obama is not the best America has to offer. There's always a better choice out there.