Obama Bets Against Human Nature — and Usually Loses

Why are Obama’s polls plummeting again despite a successful reelection, a still obsequious press, and a perennial campaign of demonizing his opponents? Scandals like the IRS mess, the NSA embarrassment, the Benghazi disaster, and the AP monitoring certainly account for much of his current unpopularity. Yet some of the dislike is also due to a growing anger at Obama’s hypocrisy -- one of the strongest of all human emotions that affects us as no other paradox.

No one begrudges Obama his Martha’s Vineyard annual getaway, or his incessant golfing in his yuppyish get-up, or sending his family by separate plane to Aspen, Vail, or Costa del Sol. But why would someone so wish to rub shoulders with the very one percent who, he has so incessantly assured the country, are mostly the source of our problems?

Does Obama have a hierarchy of good and bad fat cats, both good and bad corporate jet owners, or noble grandees who really built their businesses? More likely, the public thinks that Obama either is an abject hypocrite -- demagoguing while enjoying the fruits of wealth -- or he suffers from a weird psychological guilt over enjoying the good life that forces him to trash in the abstract what he so indulges in the concrete.

Either way the common denominator is hypocrisy. Had Obama gone after supposedly selfish CEOs, and then flown to his home to Chicago for some hot dogs in his backyard, there would have been some consistency. Or had the president talked of the need for big business to be successful to provide jobs as he hobnobbed with such CEOs at Martha’s Vineyard, no paradox would arise.

Other paradoxes encourage such hypocrisy. Why weigh in personally on white/black controversial interaction -- the Professor Gates psychodrama or the Trayvon Martin death -- when the expectation will only arise that such a racially sensitive president will comment on all such public faultlines? That becomes a dilemma when white/black crime occurs at one-eighth the frequency of black on white crime. Most American do not want sermons on the history of race relations, only simple answers as to why their president focuses on some interracial controversies and not far more frequent others. That sense of parity is also human nature, and so entirely missed by Obama.

In almost every policy debacle -- subsidizing money-losing wind and solar while ignoring profitable fracking, trashing the previous administration’s anti-terrorism protocols while vastly expanding drones, or lecturing on civil liberties and transparency while overseeing the Benghazi IRS, AP, and NSA scandals -- Obama has no sense of the very natural reaction of all-too-human Americans.

Such wisdom about what makes average people tick is not necessarily found in prep school in Hawaii, the Ivy League, politics in Washington, or Martha's Vineyard -- and after five years that fact is all too apparent.