Do we have a misanthrope as president? According to a former aide to Barack Obama, Neera Tanden, the answer may be yes. Her comments were made when discussing the relationship between Obama and Bill Clinton and were reported by New York magazine, which wrote:
“People say the reason Obama wouldn’t call Clinton is because he doesn’t like him,” observes Tanden. “The truth is, Obama doesn’t call anyone, and he’s not close to almost anyone. It’s stunning that he’s in politics, because he really doesn’t like people. My analogy is that it’s like becoming Bill Gates without liking computers.”
I must correct Tanden: It would be stunning that Obama is in politics if liking people — which is, it is rumored, associated with wanting to help them — were the only reason, or even the main one, for entering politics.
Obama Image vs. Obama Reality
Obama may not like others, but that dislike isn’t generally returned. As polls have shown, the president’s “likeability” rating has been relatively high. Yet I heard years ago already through the grapevine — via journalist contacts who knew someone who had contact with Obama — that, far from likeable, he was arrogant to the point of being dismissive. So what is the reality?
Many people have tried to explain Obama’s behavior during the first presidential debate. Was he disinterested, distracted, or unprepared? Perhaps all or none of the above, but I perceived something else.
Obama didn’t seem happy that he had to deign to debate Mitt Romney. Who is Romney, after all? What does it matter that he’s roughly half of America’s choice for president?
This is reminiscent of the time a few years back when the president didn’t want to meet with a rural congressman and remarked (I’m paraphrasing), “This is the kind of thing I have to put up with.” It also brings to mind a story Thomas Sowell related about Obama’s time in academia:
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Selwyn Duke (photo)