There’s a lot of competition for this distinction, we know, but Peggy Noonan highlights the key issue (the “it” that she refers to isn’t relevant for the purposes of this discussion):
It came from his hermetically sealed inner circle, which operates with what seems an almost entirely abstract sense of America. They know Chicago, the machine, the ethnic realities. They know Democratic Party politics. They know the books they’ve read, largely written by people like them—bright, credentialed, intellectually cloistered. But there always seems a lack of lived experience among them, which is why they were so surprised by the town hall uprisings of August 2009 and the 2010 midterm elections.
We would orient this a bit more specifically toward the lack of private-sector experience. OK, so the president hasn’t really had a job in a for-profit company, but we can forgive that—there have been plenty of career politicians as presidents. What we can’t forgive is that it seems like neither has anyone around him had a job in a for-profit company. It’s scary that the people running the government consist entirely of career bureaucrats, academics, politicians, community organizers, and union bosses. Has any Obama political appointee ever invested his money in his own business? Had to make a payroll? Had to stay up all night to complete something for the paying customer?
It is a symptom of Obama’s arrogance, as Noonan cites, that he really doesn’t think that he needs this perspective at his table. Maybe he doesn’t even understand what this perspective is—sort of a Rumsfeldian “unknown unknown.”