President Obama has decided to go for the hat-trick.
In September, Obama told an interviewer Americans have “gotten a little soft.” That was followed by a fundraiser in San Francisco where Obama said that “we have lost our ambition, our imagination, and our willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge.” And over the weekend at an APEC conference in Honolulu, speaking to CEOs, President Obama said this: “But you know we’ve been a little bit lazy I think over the last couple of decades. We’ve kind of taken it for granted – ‘Well, people will want to come here’ — and we’re not out there hungry selling America and trying to attract new businesses into America.”
Set aside the fact that Obama bears a good deal of the responsibility for making America unattractive to new businesses. Set aside the fact that Obama’s opinion of America seems to track with America’s opinion of Obama. (When Obama was elected president by a comfortable margin in 2008, we were the ones we had been waiting for; today, with Obama’s public approval ratings at dangerously low levels, we’re a little soft, a little bit lazy, and lost our ambition and imagination). And set aside the political wisdom of taking monthly jabs at the American people.
What we’re learning about Obama, I think, is that the most authentic words he uttered during the 2008 campaign were words he wanted to keep private.
In April of that year Obama, speaking at what he thought was a private fundraiser in San Francisco,was trying to explain his troubles winning over some working-class voters, saying they have become frustrated with economic conditions. “It’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
It’s all there, in a single sentence. The barely concealed disdain for the American people. The reflexive need to explain his lack of popularity based on the unenlightened views and moral defects of the masses. The insufferable moral superiority. Obama seems to believe the attitude of the American people to him should be the same as Wayne and Garth (of “Wayne’s World” fame) toward Alice Cooper: “We’re not worthy. We’re not worthy.”
It must be frustrating to be president of a nation of people whom you look down on and for whom you have contempt. The good news for Obama is this problem may well be rectified round about a year from now. And if the president is rejected by the public after his first term and judged to have been a failure, we can already anticipate the title of his third autobiography: “A Prophet Without Honor in His Own Land.”