Paul  Kengor

For one, the American voter decisively elected as president a man that the widely respected, non-partisan National Journal had named the “most liberal member of the Senate” in 2007, to the left of even Barbara Boxer, Ted Kennedy, and Hillary Clinton. As a U.S. senator, that man had co-sponsored the Freedom of Choice Act; as a state senator, he had opposedand blocked legislation to prevent healthcare to babies that survived abortions. That man also possessed remarkably disturbing radical associations and influences, which were hardly irrelevant, fromFrank Marshall Davis to Bill Ayers to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

I could say more, but I don’t want to sound like I’m beating up President Obama. My point is simply that Americans don’t elect presidential candidates with records and backgrounds this extreme—but they did on November 4, 2008. And they did so with traditional Democrats and moderates leading the way, thinking they had elected “another Jack Kennedy” or a “give-‘em-hell-Harry Truman,” men bearing zero ideological resemblance to Obama, or, for that matter, to Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi.Speaking of the latter two, that same electorate gave a gigantic majority to arguably the most left-wing Congress in the history of the republic.

Yet, most amazing, that same electorate, after voting as it did, walked out of the booth and described itself to pollsters as conservative over liberal by an overwhelming margin of two to one, 40 percent to 20 percent, as it has in every poll for two decades. That data held even throughout the start of Obama’s presidency and the peak of his popularity.

A major Gallup pollconducted from January to May 2009 found more self-described conservatives than liberals not only by 40 percent to 21 percent but in all 50 states.How could this happen? We can list the reasons: The public didn’t like John McCain. Voters were angry at George Bush and the Republicans. The economy crashed.