Falling out of love

How quickly the schoolgirl crush fades:
Over the last couple of weeks I've been hearing rumblings. They're not from the staged or misinformed protestors at town hall meetings who have decided that shouting down a member of Congress is their right as American citizens. They're not from "the left" -- that wild, unruly group of bloggers and Birkenstockers the White House has called on repeatedly, both in pubic and in private, to be quiet.

They're from the parent who came to pick up her daughter after a play date with my five-year-old, as we stood in the door chatting. They're from my cousin, a family doctor, who called me when he heard about Big Pharma's sweetheart deal with the White House to prevent negotiations on the cost of prescription drugs. They're from a guy I sat next to on a plane this week who doesn't follow politics all that closely but follows closely enough to know that bankers seems to be getting bonuses as homeowners are getting foreclosure notices.

These people aren't "raving liberals." Most of them haven't even gotten word yet that they're supposed to call themselves progressives (and none of them knew the secret progressive handshake). They're ordinary voters who either sometimes or reliably vote Democratic, who were members of the Obama majority in 2008 and were convinced that this time their vote really mattered. Now they're disillusioned.

They can see the economic upturn. They see the Dow rising. They know that corporate profits are no longer in a free-fall. But they can also see that those profits are rising as their own company is considering another round of layoffs -- and that those two facts are not unrelated. And what they feel summarizes what they see: where before they had hope, now they feel primarily frustration and resentment.

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