The Washington Times noticed something from last week’s presidential debate:
[Mitt] Romney was trying to make the point that both his and [Barack] Obama’s investment funds probably include investments in China–something the president has attacked Mr. Romney for.
“Mr. President, have you looked at your pension?” Mr. Romney said.
“You know, I don’t look at my pension. It’s not as big as yours, so it–it doesn’t take as long,” Mr. Obama retorted. His reply prompted laughter in the debate hall where the two men were squaring off–but across the way in the separate room where the press was stationed, a brief round of applause broke out.
The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto observed:
You hear a lot about “income inequality,” but most people don’t particularly care. Last year’s effort to begin a mass movement around the question was a whimpering failure, yet it got hyped to the sky at first because it played into powerful class resentments–on the part not of poor or low-income working people but of academics and journalists, which is to say intellectuals.
Now, academics and journalists are not exactly downtrodden. Although life as an adjunct or a freelancer can be a challenge, a professor with tenure or a journalist at a major media outlet makes a good enough living to make him affluent. Affluent people with elitist pretensions often have a strong distaste for the wealthy, especially those, like Romney, who earned their riches by being successful in business. If you want to find bitterness against “the 1%,” don’t look at “the 99%.” Instead, focus in on the 98th percentile.
“It’s common for eggheads to nurture ressentiment against fat cats,” as we observed in July. “Intellectuals are apt to hold a self-serving belief in cognitive meritocracy, in the idea that the brightest are also the best. They envy the rich because wealth is a concrete measure of status that is out of proportion to what the intellectual believes to be true merit. If they’re so rich, how come they’re not smart?”
Barack Obama is no scholar, but he has the quintessential egghead’s arrogance. That came across most clearly in this passage from the infamous “You didn’t build that” speech:
Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there.
Some of those smart people are right there in the press room. Where’s their fair share of Mitt Romney’s millions?
That’s an interesting additional insight to the theory I’ve had for years why reporters are more often than not anti-business. Journalists who are not at major media outlets generally don’t make enough to be considered “affluent,” because there are so many of them already, and journalism schools keep turning out graduates every year. The competition for jobs in the traditional print and electronic media keeps down reporters’ and editors’ salaries. The people who make better money in the media are managers, because managers make more than the people they manage (duh), and sales people, because the more they work (that is, the more advertising they sell), the more money they make.
I’ve also said that media workplace environments put the word “fun” in “dysfunction.” (Someone who like me has worked in the media on the side pointed out last week that companies supposedly in the business of communication often have the worst internal communication. He’s right.) I’ve only worked in one full-time workplace that I felt met the level of “dysfunctional,” but I’ve heard enough about others from my media colleagues, and I experienced enough in my media relations past to be occasionally happy that I didn’t get jobs I’d applied or interviewed for over the years.
New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin thinks Obama indeed hates Romney, but not just Romney:
Here’s my view: the president has been totally corrupted by power. His already excessive self-regard has grown out of control thanks to an entourage of yes men, a fawning press and the presidential bubble. He actually believes in the messianic cult of the “black Jesus” that surrounds him, and has a Nobel Prize to authenticate his personal exceptionalism.
The result is that Obama is no longer capable of dealing with ordinary disagreement and difference. He can only demonize it as unworthy and illegitimate. Honest disagreements are beneath him. Thus, Romney is a “liar.”
We the people disappoint him, too. His desire for “more flexibility” reflects a desire to be freed from our messy democracy, as did his comment that it would be easier to be president of China. The Constitution, he complained, is too limiting, signaling he doesn’t like the Founders’ whole point of limited government.
Another sign of irritation is his constant boasting and use of the word “I.” This is more than a bad habit. Whether from deep insecurity or narcissism, or both, he views his election as a blank check for power that he constantly tries to cash. Think czars and end runs around Congress, along with a public scolding of the Supreme Court.
Tellingly, he rejected Republican suggestions over the stimulus with a conversation-stopper: “I won.” And his decision to leak the details of how he personally decides who will live and die during drone attacks reeks of madness. The program put him as close to absolute power as a man can get, but instead of humility, he pounds his chest.
These are not stray episodes. His politics are intensely psychological and the key to his governing. People who have met with him report that he doesn’t listen or engage in substantive conversations. His ideas are immutable to facts or fresh thinking. “A stubborn worldview” is how one Democrat described it.
Romney, in so many ways, embodies Obama’s worst nightmare. His life story explodes Obama’s crude assumptions of the wealthy, which is essentially that behind every great fortune lies a great crime. Romney did build his fortune.
Romney also has the nerve to challenge the president’s statist philosophy. By attacking dependency and government power, and promoting individual opportunity and capitalism, Romney might as well be arguing that the world is flat. …
As for Obama’s news media allies, they are being, in the opinion of Georgetown University Prof. Bradley Blakeman, literally unpatriotic:
You would think [MSNBC's Chris] Matthews would know what is in the Constitution and what is not.
Nowhere in the Constitution does it set forth that a president of the United States is above the people and cannot and should not be challenged. Is that not what a presidential election is all about – challenging an incumbent president on his record?
The Founding Fathers specifically limited the powers of the president and did not exempt a president from abiding by the laws of the land in the same manner and to the same extent as the average citizen.
America was founded because of our dissatisfaction with a monarchy run by kings and queens who were above the people. The problem is that Matthews thinks that not only he is above the people but President Obama should be as well.
The president of the United States in the Oath of Office swears to the following:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Prior to the debates mainstream media bigs could craft the coverage of the race as they saw it and in the manner they wanted to communicate it. The problem for them now is that they cannot tell the people what to think when they watched the debates themselves in real time and formed opinions without the need for explanation or editorializing. Their “power” over the people has been marginalized and the liberal media can’t stand it.
I have news for Matthews: there is no greater responsibility a president has than to preserve, protect and defend the Constitutional protection of a citizens’ freedom of speech — presidents are neither immune from it nor protected from it.