This is an old progressive lament: Our product is perfect, we just didn't sell it convincingly to the rubes.
But wait a second. If they spent "much more time trying to get the policy right," how come nobody said, "Uh, Mr. President, these 'shovel-ready jobs' you keep talking about? They're sort of like good flan -- they don't exist."
Let's not dwell on such things. Besides, Obama has already said that his problems come from "neglecting marketing and PR and public opinion." Indeed, that, and only that, explains why people think he looks like "the same old tax-and-spend liberal Democrat."
The only problem with that: facts. Obama's health-care plan raises taxes on Americans (though Obama says this is not so, they're merely mandatory fees and premiums) and will cost trillions. He wants to raise taxes on "the rich" -- defined so that a cop married to a nurse might well count as rich -- and on small businesses.
Meanwhile, Washington is now spending 23 percent more than it did two years ago. As the Washington Post recently editorialized, Congress' "emergency" bailout to avoid "a teachers crisis" was a fraud to simply transfer billions to the teachers' unions in advance of the midterms.
And then, of course, there's the stimulus that paid for all of those "shovel-ready jobs" that Obama now admits never existed. Los Angeles County deployed $111 million in stimulus money to "save" 55 jobs at the cost of $2 million apiece. The White House has spent $192 million on road signs that brag about how the construction delays ahead were paid for by the stimulus. Meanwhile, unemployment is a full three points higher during Obama's "recovery" than it was during the "worst recession since the Great Depression."
Maybe it's unfair for people to think Obama is just another tax-and-spend Democrat. After all, some tax-and-spend Democrats are actually competent at it.