Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Democrat Disenchantment Emerges

And so it has begun.
The dreaded buyers' remorse has arrived.
It actually started, very quietly, a few months ago.
I began to notice that Democrats were not quite as quick to defend President Obama when his name came up in conversation. When Obama was criticized at lunches, cocktail parties and other social events, no quick defense was heard from the liberals in the group.
For a long time it was impossible to say anything derogatory about Obama or his policies without being roundly and loudly rebutted, at the very least. Often, critics were publicly ridiculed, defamed and promptly silenced. So, the critics were quiet and cautious while the Obama supporters were loud.
But slowly, this pattern began to reverse itself.
And silence emerged from the left. Critics were finally free to note the President's shortcomings; his biases, his blunders, his oversights, even his arrogance and, eventually his failures. The once strident Obamaniacs said little or nothing.
In many cases they simply changed the conversation.
Now, even some of the President's once ardent admirers are openly expressing their regrets.
One perceptive Democrat quietly confessed to me that she had slight misgivings all along and then added: "I feel badly. But my suspicions are being confirmed."
Another liberal friend said "I'm disappointed." He told me that he felt the same way that he did during the Carter years. "There's a sense of disenchantment," he explained.
Even some very fervent liberals have told me that they feel betrayed and ignored. And they admitted that Obama is not only failing to make a vital link with his base but that he's also seems out of touch with large segments of the population.
Obviously, independents are deeply disappointed. In a recent poll Obama's support among this group has dropped to 38%.
From Washington I hear that there's a sense of retreat if not panic among staffers for Democrat members of Congress. Many are already circulating their resumes in anticipation of defeat come November. "Some people are already jumping ship," is the way it was put to me.
Even in New Jersey (about as blue a state as you can imagine) Democrats seem down in the dumps. The incredible, rapid success of Governor Chris Christie has stopped Jersey liberals dead in their tracks, Suddenly, the ground has shifted and they're not sure how to react or what to do next. "We don't know what hit us," one confided.
Many blame the President.
"He's really the one who sets the tone," one Democrat said. "And there's an increasing sense of failure. Now, people are starting to question whether Obama and his staff are even up to the job. It's becoming a question of competence and that's not good."
Some of my Democrat friends speculate what might have been if Hillary Clinton had been nominated. "With the state that the economy was in at the end of 2008 she probably would have won," a longtime Democrat said. "And there never seemed to be any question about her qualifications -- her ability to do the job. It makes you wonder."
Other Democrats note that Bill Clinton seems to be saying all the right things these days and that Hillary looks more and more presidential. "We had a winning pair," one told me "and we turned them away."
Yes, if the President's popularity takes a turn upward again these Democrats will quickly rejoin the fold.
But for now they are deeply disappointed.
And very UN enthusiastic about November.

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