Well, the first round of regret is being expressed by the converts to Obamania. I expected that, but I don't think it'll last. And I don't think it can be counted on to sink Obama four years from now.
Let's look at it this way. Let's start out by saying that it was highly likely that the Democrat would win this last year, anyway. The tide was setting their way. They had all the money, too, in the closing days of the race. That doesn't explain the sudden, irrational surge in support for Obama by otherwise Republican-voting moderates.
Why did they vote for a guy whose announced objectives were so horrifying to them? Why did they suspend their own good sense to vote for someone who promised to do things they didn't want done?
Well, lemme tell ya. I've seen it in my own life and in others'. You're grinding out a situation -- too little money or too many commitments or something -- and every new burden gets shoehorned in and you do with a little less disposable cash or free time. One thing after another is accommodated, and you find yourself juggling more and more and enjoying yourself less and less. Then along comes one more demand on yourself, and rather than try fitting it in and adjusting your lifestyle, suddenly you grab your credit card and go to town. Or maybe you just head for a bar or the fridge.
What happens to people who are overloaded with managing the ever-increasing demands of un-fun-ness is that once in a while they grant themselves a plenary indulgence for stupid behavior. They go on a binge. They can't stand the cognitive dissonance anymore, so they get loaded and go for a joyride. It's dangerous, unproductive behavior. It's irresponsible. But they can't help themselves. They're just so tired of being responsible all the time and not getting anything for it.
I think that's what happened to many folks last fall. They knew that John McCain wouldn't fix everything. But at least, he wouldn't break too many things. Mostly, we'd keep muddling along, with the same old partisan shouting from the Democrats, the same obstructionist crap in Congress, the same problems that we can't seem to fix. Managing the same ol', same ol' was getting to be a real hassle.
So, they granted themselves a vacation from reality. They bought the super-expensive, useless appliance on ridiculous terms. But it felt good
when they did it. Just like whipping out that credit card and treating yourself to a night out, because, damn it all, you're just tired of doing without. Not that you were really doing without anything important, you know, but you had to worry about it every day, and that was just intolerable after a while.
Well, now they're beginning to wake up to their new payment plan and the shattered remnants of their previous goals. A few of them are expressing bewilderment over Obama being someone other than what they thought he was (which was merely the projection of their own desires onto him). What will they do now? Will they admit they screwed up and vow never to vote for such candidates again? Or will they double down on their investment and become ever more strident in their support of what they know is indefensibly awful?
I'm betting many of them will become unbelieving True Believers. They will defend Obama to the last. Why? Because the alternative -- to admit they were wrong -- is psychologically painful.