The Campaign Spot

How Many Obama Voters Are Still Waiting for Their Hope and Change?

I actually disagree with the premise in the Post’s headline: “Is Race for Governor More About Obama?”

But the story probably ought to unnerve Democrats, depending on how many Obama voters relate to the woman in the anecdotal lead:

The coffee was still brewing when Chris Ann Cleland got her first reminder of the day that voting for Barack Obama might have been a mistake.

The Prince William County real estate agent was sitting at a long wooden

table covered with paperwork. Her clients, a young couple who had brought their 2-week-old baby, were finalizing a short sale on a townhouse that they were anxious to unload, even if it meant ruining their credit, because they had maxed out their credit cards trying to make the payments.

For Cleland, it was another example — one of many this day — of the broken promises of a president who she thought would be different. Obama pledged to change a Washington culture that favored corporations and the connected and instead lift families such as the one sitting next to Cleland out of their economic funk. Rather, she said, Obama has backed billions of dollars to banks that continue to “act like they’re broke” and started the country down a path that Cleland said she thinks will lead to more grief for the middle class.

“He’s just not as advertised,” she said. “Nothing’s changed for the common guy.  I feel like I’ve been punked.”

The story also describes a Republican-leaning neighbor who voted for Obama:

But she has been disturbed by the large Wall Street bonuses that Obama doesn’t seem to be able to halt and his inability to rein in credit card companies that raise rates even on those with good credit. Although she is trying to be patient, she said she is losing faith in the Democrats running Washington.

“Honestly, at this point, I have to say I’m worried. I haven’t come across one person that seems to have been helped,” she said. “If I don’t see a spark, a light at the end of the tunnel, I may be voting Republican [for governor].”

Perhaps these two women are unrepresentative of independents who voted for Obama.  

But when you run on themes of hope and change, and your supporters tout your dazzling competence throughout a two-year campaign, expectations get high and patience runs thin. Unemployment’s up 2 percent since Obama took office. The non-manufacturing sectors have contracted for ten straight months. The real-estate market may have hit bottom, but it’s a long and tough road ahead. Cash-for-clunkers is a Band-Aid fix for a severed wound problem for domestic automakers.

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