Barack Obama was out on the hustings the other day (this time at the University of Wisconsin) where he pleaded with his college age audience, "Keep believing that change is possible. You've got to stick with me; you can't lose heart."
Well as the old saying goes, "Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on you."
Firing up the base may have worked in 2008, when the country, having suffered through the banality and misrule of the previous eight years of the despised Bush/Cheney mob and in the throes of the worst financial and economic calamity since the great depression, was hungry for and ready to respond to the inspiring rhetoric of "change you can believe in" that Obama was selling.
Two years later, when failed leadership has replaced the eloquent, inspiring speechifying, and those same words of "change" don't quite have the same ring to it.
Truth be told, the expectation of the 2nd coming of FDR was probably too much to ask, but that "hope" would be dashed so easily was astonishing.
To this observer, there were early warning signs, even prior to the election i.e. Obama's intention to expand the war in Afghanistan as well as surrounding himself with an economic team (particularly Lawrence Summers and Tim Geitner, both proponents of laissez- faire deregulatory capitalism) who were deeply connected to the Wall Street "banksters" that brought the financial meltdown.
Then early on (weeks after the inauguration) Obama made it known his Justice Department would not investigate and hold accountable those in the Bush administration who authorized the torture of detainees that had occurred at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, Iraq.
Even the announcement of his intention to close Guantanamo within one year was greeted with skepticism (from here) when shortly after Obama made his promise, his Republican opponents rose up in unison and condemned his decision, to which the president waffled and finally caved, leaving in place the prime symbol of the U.S. descent into barbarism.
By the summer of 2009, the health care debate had deteriorated into crazed "tea party" led shout downs and yell fests at Congressional town hall meetings, this occurring after Obama had ceded his leadership position at the forefront of health care reform. He had tossed the ball to the Senate Finance Committee (where "Blue Dog" Democrats and Republicans held sway) who from the outset was opposed to any inclusion of a single payer, Medicare type option plan which essentially killed any chance for real health care reform to be enacted.
Then there was Obama's opposition to "cramdown", the proposal that would have given bankruptcy judges the authority to force mortgage holders to rework the mortgage terms of distressed homeowners to keep them in their homes. This was the proposal initiated by Senator Dick Durbin (D. Ill.) who when interviewed by a local Chicago radio program host (after "cramdown" was defeated in the Senate), was quoted as saying, "And frankly, they own the place", referring to the financial industry's influence over the majority of the senators who voted against the measure.
Combine all the above along with many other issues, to wit, the continuing economic malaise with paltry job creation combined with a stagnant job outlook plus the ongoing epidemic of home foreclosures that are now associated with more job losses"and "hope" coming from the lips of Obama becomes a little hard to swallow for the many people caught in the maelstrom.
Lastly, Obama had an election mandate granted to him by an overwhelming majority of the American people who would have backed him if he chose to use his "bully pulpit" to appeal to them and their support in fending off his opponents. Instead he pursued an ill conceived belief in his own power of persuasion and sought bipartisanship with a Republican opposition that resisted and obstructed everything he and the Democrats proposed.
That Obama chose not to appeal directly for the people's support to help fend off his opposition essentially exploded the "myth" of his being the "peoples" agent for change.
Republicans may be poised to gain many Congressional seats in November not because they have anything to offer, but primarily because of the failure of the Democrat majority and their leader in the White House.
This expected Democrat defeat in November should be considered a self inflicted wound that will have had little to do with Republican obstructionism and resistance to Democrat proposals.
When you have the power, which the Democrats have had and squander it as gutless and meekly as they have done, nothing Obama says in the next few weeks will save the Democrats from the likely bloodbath they will suffer in November.
It didn't have to be this way.