Obama Is Liberalese for "Messiah"
A "leader" in the American sense is someone chosen to act as chief executive to handle a particular task for a particular period. He is a member of the team - the chief member, perhaps, but still a teammate. The fact that he is president is no different, except in scale, from someone running a charity drive, a company, or the army. The individual does the job, is suitably rewarded, and goes home. This system has its complexities (much of the structure of our government is in place to defeat the tendencies toward tyranny that afflicted every previous democracy on record without exception) and its drawbacks, but it has served this country well for over two centuries.
One of its major benefits is that it does away with much of the baggage surrounding the concept of "leader" as it's understood in most of the world - the mystical, semi-divine nonsense that makes it so easy for "leader" to slide into "despot". People will invade their neighbors, slaughter minorities, and march themselves right off the historical cliff on behalf of a duce, führer, or caudillo. They generally won't for a chief executive.
It somehow comes as no surprise that American liberals have been trying to undo this innovation for much of the past century. To a convinced liberal, a leader is in no way limited to anything as mundane as running a country. A leader is a transcendent being, someone more than human, someone with a touch of the divine. Leaders don't handle tasks, they lead movements, they embody the spirit of the age. They transfor. Leaders, to put it simply, are führers.
This explains why liberals are so attracted to tyrants on the international scene. Stalin is the classic historical example (for a dose of political hagiography at its most nauseating, see the film Mission to Moscow) though we've witnessed the same type of thing more recently involving Castro and Hugo Chavez. The search for this precise type of idol explains the visits to Chavez by the Sean Penns and Naomi Campbells. The fact that they've settled for Chavez, who on his best day reminds me of nothing more than a crazier Manuel Noriega, shows how pathological this urge can be.