ASTONISHINGLY, IF YOU ROUTINELY CHOOSE YOUR DONORS OVER YOUR VOTERS, YOUR VOTERS WILL REJECT YOU
Look, I understand the rationale of President Obama's approach to the economic crisis: engage in only as much liberalism as you think the plutocrats will tolerate, which is hardly any at all (i.e., no prosecutions of fat cats and no genuine mortgage relief), because plutocrats are the people who'll finance your reelection bid and you can't possibly win again without their support.
The problem is, you're going to have hard time winning if you follow that approach, because we still have something resembling a democracy in this country and you still need to win actual, y'know, votes from actual voters. This is from Pew:
As the country enters into the 2012 presidential election cycle, the electorate's partisan affiliations have shifted significantly since Barack Obama won office nearly three years ago.
... Republicans have made sizable gains among white voters since 2008. Currently, 52% of white voters either identify as Republicans or lean to the GOP, compared with 39% who affiliate with the Democratic Party or lean Democratic. In 2008, Republicans held only a two-point lead among white voters (46% to 44%).
... The Democratic Party's advantage among young voters has declined from 28 points in 2008 to 13 in the first half of 2011. The Democrats' edge among voters ages 30 to 64 also has narrowed (from 10 points to three points). And Republicans now hold a two-point lead among voters 65 and older (47% to 45%); Democrats held an eight-point lead among seniors in 2008 (49% to 41%).
Republicans also have made gains among both men and women. In surveys conducted through June, Republicans have a four-point advantage among men (47% to 43%) and trail by 12 points among women (52% to 40%). In 2008, Democrats held a two-point edge among men and a 21-point advantage among women
Republican gains have been substantial among voters with family incomes under $75,000. Notably, Democrats held a 12-point advantage among middle income voters ($30,000-$74,999) in 2008, but now as many identify with the Republican Party as with the Democratic Party. Democrats continue to maintain their advantage among lower income voters, but it is smaller now than in 2008....
I know some of you think that Obama's election was a brilliant scheme to get elected as a liberal and then hand the rich everything they want, while continuing to gull the public with liberal talk. Well, it's not working -- we know a lot of fat cats are whingeing about being disrespected by Obama the capitalism-hater, and now we see that the voters, who were hoping that Obama would actually solve some problems, are abandoning him, too. Some genius plan.
Let's also note that being active, unabashed destroyers of the economy and scourges of the middle class, as well as dangerous spoiled brats in general, isn't hurting the GOP one bit. This is America, and we believe that one party is in charge and the only appropriate reaction to failed policies is to vote for the other guys -- even if they're insane. (Pew does note that voters are increasingly leaning toward the GOP as independents rather than declaring themselves Republicans, but that's the only sign of hesitancy.)
Now, if Obama had the skills to persuade voters that the party that's actually in power is the GOP, these poll numbers would be different. Ronald Reagan and (for a while) George W. Bush could do that -- they could persuade voters, even from the Oval Office, that their party was the outsider, samizdat party struggling to wrest control from the evil liberals (the liberal media! liberal academics! the Dixie Chicks!) who really controlled everything. Obama would actually have a stronger case than Bush and Reagan did if argued something like that, but he won't. And so he's in trouble.
(And no, I'm not addressing the racial aspect of this. Yes, Pew says that all of the GOP's gains are among white voters. You'll say this is because Obama is black. I seem to recall he was also black in 2008, when the higher numbers were registered. Yes, that explains the softness of the support -- non-white voters are clearly more solidly loyal to Obama -- but it doesn't preclude his winning whites over now any more than it did in 2008, when he actually did win them over. They're just looking for someone to get them out of this economic hole, and they're clearly thinking more and more about a change to the status quo -- which they identify with Obama.)