Matthew Yglesias recently noted that the very rich are unhappy with President Obama because he would like to increase the taxes on the very rich. Although this might be true, the number of people unhappy with Obama exceeds the number of people who comprise the very rich. So why are many of the non-rich unhappy with Obama? And why are so many other people quite happy with our current president?
Perhaps the answer is similar to a story frequently told about sports fans.
Back in the early 1990s, a friend of mine declared his hatred of Charles Barkley. At the time, Sir Charles was an All-Star for the Philadelphia 76ers. Sometime after this declaration, though, Barkley was traded to the Phoenix Suns. As a fan of the Suns, my friend changed his tune. With Sir Charles in Phoenix, my friend was now a fan of Barkley.
More recently, LeBron James was an extremely popular athlete in Cleveland. But when he changed his uniform to something from Miami, his popularity in Ohio plummeted.
These stories are not uncommon among sports fans. In fact, Jerry Seinfeld once observed that fans who behave like this are essentially “rooting for clothes.”