Consider Republicans during the second term of George W. Bush. Rescue efforts in New Orleans and military efforts in Iraq didn't produce anything like the positive results Republican-leaning voters expected. Republican congressional majorities seemed to be producing nothing but big spending (the bridge to nowhere) and scandals.
When the world isn't responding as you hoped and expected, you tend to stop paying attention. You stop watching the news and maybe even get a life.
Democrats in the past 20 months have seen Barack Obama fail to produce the hope and change they expected. It seemed so easy to call for withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, for shuttering Guantanamo, for trying al-Qaida terrorists in civilian courts. But none of those things has happened.
Neither has Obama ended the ban on openly gay men and women serving in the military. He continues to oppose same-sex marriage, while Dick Cheney backs it.
Meanwhile, the vast increases in government spending in the stimulus package and Obama budgets have done little to produce a robust economic recovery, and the health care bill jammed through a reluctant Congress has failed to produce the widespread gratitude that Obama said we should expect.
For upscale Obama supporters, these economic policies were believed to be, in Pat Moynihan's elegant phrase, boob bait for the bubbas. But the bubbas didn't take the bait.
So just as the world stopped working as Republicans expected in 2005, the world stopped working as Democrats expected in 2009.
You can see this in last week's report from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. It found that in 2008, 67 percent of liberal Democrats said they enjoyed the news a lot, while just 45 percent say so today. In contrast, 57 percent of conservative Republicans say they enjoy the news a lot today. The interesting question is whether they will continue to do so if and when Republicans win majorities and share responsibility for governing again.
Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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