Explaining the Inexplicable

Almost daily we witness things that make no sense. A few examples, from the profound to the trivial.

Rich Without Being Rich

The president, as is his wont, blasted the “one percent,” the “millionaires and billionaires,” and the “well-connected” in his recent State of the Union speech -- and then he flew off to golf and hang out with the one percent of the one percent in South Florida while his wife and kids jetted to Aspen to ski. Then Obama flew back for more class-warfare rhetoric over so-called sequestration, ridiculing the Republicans as again being for the “rich” -- and on Al Sharpton’s radio show, no less (of Tawana Brawley fame).

How does this two-step actually work? Obama likes to wear metrosexual golfing clothes, stay in one-percent elite digs, and play with the super rich while damning just that entire cargo? Does he see himself exempt from his own rhetoric  because he demagogues those with whom he feels most comfortable?

Are there good and bad rich -- depending on whether some embrace his redistributionist agenda? Mitt Romney is guilty of an elevator and a wife in riding clothes; Beyoncé and Jay-Z are mere Edwin Markham oppressed laborers with hoes in the fields of socialism?

Is Obama just a hypocrite, or perhaps genuinely oblivious to the optics? Or, in contrast, is he quite canny in his appraisal that Americans just want more government stuff and couldn't care less whether he is a paradox?

Bill Clinton liked a little less the good life, and waged a little less class warfare. Jimmy Carter in blue work shirts and jeans mimicked the life of the common man. JFK joked about the contradictions in his status, and was not a typical class warrior. Never -- or at least not since FDR -- have we seen such boilerplate rhetoric aimed at the well-off coupled with such indulgence in the spoils of wealth. What is the logic of “downright mean country” and “never been proud” leading to Aspen and Costa del Sol? Why the moth-to-the-flame attraction to the high life coupled with the rhetoric of the class warrior?

Is it as simple as Occam’s Razor -- the Obama class warriors always, as most, liked the idea of the privileged lifestyle: when they could not afford it, they were consistent in their boilerplate rhetoric about the injustice of it; when they could afford it, they were merely hypocritical? End of story?

$4-a-Gallon Cheap Gas

I filled up today in a rather poor Selma (per capita income under $20,000; unemployment over 15%). The cheapest regular gas I saw in town was $3.99. I paid $4.06 a gallon. It was under $1.90 when the evil Bush left office.

Any gas station that is now just 10 cents cheaper per gallon is packed with cars that trail out to nearly block traffic. (On this clear day, we could see the eastern face of the Coast Range Mountains in the distance -- beneath them is reportedly 20-30 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the Monterey Shale formation that apparently will remain mostly untapped.)

Aren’t gas prices supposed to stay low during hard times (as now), when demand is off? And aren’t Americans proverbially jumpy at the gas pump, supposedly ready to blame-game their politicians for high gas prices in a way that they do not even over escalating housing, food, or clothing costs?