Perhaps the president’s problem as he approaches reelection isn’t the state of the economy, or the high unemployment rate, or the high cost of gas, or the unpopularity of Obamacare. No, perhaps his problem is that Americans just don’t appreciate how great he is.
Apparently that is a recurring theme of conversations between the president, the first lady, and their friends.
From Jodi Kantor’s The Obamas, page 159–161, discussing the president’s trip to Oslo to collect the Nobel Peace Prize:
But amid the bad news and pressures of late 2009, the trip unexpectedly passed like a brief, happy fantasy for the president, a Nordic alternate reality where citizens were learned and pensive, discussions were thoughtful, and everyone was a fan. “It wasn’t hero worship,” said one adviser who accompanied them. “Okay, it was.”
For one day, the Obamas lived in the dream version of his presidency instead of the depressing reality. At meals and receptions, they mingled with the members of the Royal Academy — government officials, academics . . .
[In his speech, the president] laid out standards that he privately must have known he would not reach. “The United States of America must remain a standard-bearer in the conduct of war,” he said. “That is why I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed. And that is why I have reaffirmed America’s commitment to abide by the Geneva Conventions.” He did not acknowledge that the effort to close Guantanamo was failing or ddress the questions of whether his detention policies violated those guidelines. “We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals we fight to defend,” he said. It was as if he had pressed some sort of rewind button to 2008.
The trip spurred a thought the Obamas and their friends would voice to each other again and again as the president’s popularity continued to decline: the American public just did not appreciate their exceptional leader. The president “could get 70 or 80 percent of the vote anywhere but the U.S.” [President Obama's old friend] Marty Nesbitt told [another old friend of Obama] Eric Whitaker indignantly.