The disillusionment of Obama enthusiasts 

My Examiner colleague Mark Tapscott has a blogpost up on the disillusionment of many former Obama enthusiasts for the performance of the Obama administration. He cites a post entitled “The Obama disconnect,” by tech entrepreneur and erstwhile Obama fan Micah Sifry, which also caught my eye. Back in December 2008 Mark was already noting the tension between the Democrats “20th century, top-down, centralized, big government-liberalism” and “the workplace values [which] they most esteem include[ing] ‘speed, freedom, openness, innovation, authenticity and playfulness.’”


I have had similar thoughts, expressed most notably in this August 2009 Examiner column, framed as a letter to a young Obama supporter. My tag line: “You want policies that will enable you to choose your future. Obama backs policies that would let centralized authorities choose much of your future for you. Is this the hope and change you want?”


My sense is that what motivated very many Obama enthusiasts was hatred and loathing of George W. Bush and the desire to oust him and place someone cool in his place. They accomplished this. But they never gave much thought to the public policies Obama and the congressional Democratic leaders backed. Theirs was a politics of style, not substance. They got the style, but they don’t much like the substance. And they don’t like what I call in my Sunday Examiner column “the stench of crony capitalism, bailout favoritism and earmark corruption” which is now part of the Obama record.


All of which suggests that they’re not highly motivated to vote, at least not this year. Obama will stay in office and Bush will stay in Texas however they vote, and if Obama is set back on substance they won’t much mind—and might even be pleased.

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Michael Barone

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