A recent poll shows that 85 percent of middle-class Americans believe they're worse off now than they were 10 years ago. Yet shockingly, just 34 percent of those people blame Barack Obama. More Americans blame Congress (62 percent), banks (54 percent), corporations (47 percent), former President George W. Bush (44 percent) and foreign competition (39 percent).
Why the disconnect?
These folks aren't entirely wrong. Congress did nothing about an out-of-control Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for a decade, and allowed the Federal Reserve to inflate the currency all the while. Banks played along with the regulatory regime in order to make short-term profits. President George W. Bush didn't do enough to free the real estate market from the shackles of liberal central planning.
But there's something else at play here: Americans are loath to believe that Barack Obama is a bad guy.
All of these other entities have a bad reputation. Congress has long been a repository for American unhappiness; the last time Congress was popular, it didn't exist. Banks have never enjoyed a warm and cozy reputation. George W. Bush was perhaps the least popular two-term president in modern history.
But Barack Obama still enjoys the goodwill of the American people. In large part, that's because he's personally popular. And he's personally popular because the American people still see in him, after four years of failure, as the answer to the most burning question in American history: can we bridge our racial gaps? The fact is this: Obama is not personally likeable. He is alternatively arrogant and smug, smarmy and nasty. He is not well liked on the Hill. Every story about his personal interactions has him lording over other participants.
And yet he's liked by the American people.
Obama has placed himself in perfect political position: he spent the 2008 campaign convincing the American people that he's a racial unifier rather than a divider, without any evidence to prove it. Now, the American people don't want to hear anything to the contrary. Whether it's a tape of Obama praising anti-Semitic America-hater Rev. Jeremiah Wright or a tape of him praising anti-Semitic America-hater Professor Derrick Bell, whether it's hanging with Palestinian terrorist supporter Rashid Khalidi or hiring Marxist Van Jones for the White House, none of it seems to matter.