Tiger and Obama: Of Arrogance and Entitlement

Tiger Woods, the media event. Although it looked like he was a hostage reading a note written for him by kidnappers who stood just off camera holding guns (or 9-irons), Tiger Woods said certain words worthy of note in his televised mea culpa talk on February 19th. He referred to arrogance and a sense of entitlement

While I watched those 14 minutes it occurred to me how much Tiger has in common with President Obama. Not Tiger’s philandering, but the way both have been “golden boys” groomed and told they were destined for greatness, experiencing ascendancy without being told no. Both were, as Joe Biden put it, “clean,” and cool. Sort of throwback-to-the Rat Pack cool. Both conditioned to believe they can, as Tiger said, get away with anything – and feeling entirely entitled to doing so.

Tiger’s crash is, if not unrivaled, certainly large and dramatic. Meanwhile, President Obama has gone from rock star with adoring, fainting fans, messiah with every word taken as gospel, to having his arrogance and entitlement challenged by just about everybody, and my observation is, he’s not taking it well.

To my knowledge, nobody else has made seen this obvious comparison between Tiger and the President in mainstream media or cable TV punditry. Fear of being labeled racist undoubtedly stopped many who saw the similarity refrain from speaking about it. But it’s obvious.

The President’s arrogance knows no bounds. Even as he crowed about the supposed bipartisanship and compromise of his upcoming health care summit at Blair House, he hurried forth his own re-cast version of the Senate Bill that had been clearly and loudly rejected by the American public, all Republicans, some Democrats. He wants its end-around passage as a budget item, through the humorously mis-named Senate process: reconciliation.

This sort of sneaky, slimy chicanery presumes the American public is brain-dead stupid; that he can, as Tiger said, get away with anything. This is the arrogance and disdain for public and process – and truth – that characterizes his every move, his entire administration. For whatever twisted reasons, he believes he is entitled to have his way and proceed with his “fundamental transformation of America” against its will, and to its bankruptcy.

The president has recently been shown by actual events in several states, not just polls, that we do not share his sense of Obama-entitlement. The message hasn’t yet gotten through.

From a business standpoint, this whole destruction by arrogance and sense of entitlement is a phenomenon that interests me.

Tiger’s fall from grace was fast ‘n furious. He destroyed his considerable commercial value. He lost hundreds of millions of dollars in present and certain future endorsement money, cost current clients untold millions, put his personal fortune at yet unknown risk to losses via divorce and lawsuits from myriad wronged women, maybe corporate clients, maybe even corporate clients’ stockholders. People held a perception – a perception he was at least complicit in permitting, if not active in creating – of Tiger as one thing, and he turned out to be something else, and something very “unclean” to boot. The wronged public has reacted with outrage, and taken away his toys and privilege. In short, his value was trust. He turned it into zero value. By his own hand. By his arrogance and sense of entitlement.

A recent poll suggests only 6 percent of Americans believe Obama’s assertions that his stimulus spending saved or created jobs. The rest are either unconvinced and uncertain, or outright think he’s a liar or an incompetent or both. It is microcosm of public opinion about most everything Obama. Were he a Tiger saddled with such low public trust, his sponsors would be jettisoning him, and everyone around him but those with no choice (in Tiger’s case, the PGA itself), would be distancing themselves. He would soon stand shunned and alone.

Mr. President, you can fool some of the people all the time, all the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time. Not even for a full year. Your unbounded arrogance has shown through your coolness, your sense of entitlement has been recognized and rejected. Much worse is yet to come. Ask Tiger.

Dan Kennedy is a serial entrepreneur, adviser to business owners, sought-after speaker and author of 13 books. More information about Dan can be found at www.NoBSBooks.com, and a free collection of his business resources including newsletters and webinars at www.DanKennedy.com.