As I noted recently, the President has been on a three-day bender of fundraising and campaigning, sufficiently leavened with “non-political” events to justify the taxpayers picking up most of the tab for the trip. Monday night he was in Los Angeles to attend an upscale fundraiser at a Hollywood producer’s house that netted a cool $1 million.
That nice pot of cash came at a price, however. Because the President traveled to the producer’s home by motorcade, the Secret Service had to close down roads that just happened to be some of the major arteries in the L.A. area. Traffic ground to a halt and commuters were trapped in seemingly endless gridlock. As the Los Angeles Times reports, virtually everyone who was unfortunate enough to be on the road at that time — regardless of their political affiliation — was furious at the President and his insensitivity to the impact he was having on their lives.
So President Obama came away from L.A. with lots of money but lots of bad feeling from voters, too. His apparent lack of awareness of the fact that he was inconveniencing thousands of people just so he could attend a political event may end up being one of those little incidents, insignificant in its own right, that nevertheless accumulates in peoples’ minds until the balance gets tipped in one direction or the other. President Obama and the First Lady already are being criticized for their vacations and lavish lifestyles. A fundraising visit that mires thousands of tired commuters in a frustrating, unmoving hell of hot asphalt and exhaust fumes may well contribute to the President’s growing reputation as an elitist who doesn’t really understand average Americans or their lives. If that reputation gets fixed in the minds of voters, it will be awfully difficult to change.