Now they tell us.
I speak of the erstwhile Obama supporters and admirers, in particular journalists, who are suddenly finding fault with our president.
New York Times columnist David Brooks says he's a sap for believing Obama "when he said he wanted to move beyond the stale ideological debates that have paralyzed this country."
Brooks is disappointed, you see. He had famously said, prior to the 2008 election, that Obama had a perfect crease in his pants -- that he had the appearance of a fellow who was going to make a fine president.
Well, Obama inherited a sizable mess, to be sure. The hope was he'd be the reasonable centrist fellow his supporters and admirers said he would be.
And since we knew so little about him -- and the press passed on many opportunities to examine him in detail during the election -- I certainly hoped and prayed for the best.
Then he and the Democrats rammed through a massive stimulus bill, much of it wasteful, a massive government-directed health bill and all kinds of new regulations, and it became clear we were in for a rocky ride.
Now, as the economy stumbles with no end in sight and our debt grows by leaps and bounds, some former supporters are questioning Obama's abilities.
Drew Westen, a professor at Emory University, examined the matter in a Sunday edition of The New York Times. His essay "What Happened to Obama?" offered some interesting insights:
"Those of us who were bewitched by his eloquence on the campaign trail chose to ignore some disquieting aspects of his biography: that he had accomplished very little before he ran for president, having never run a business or a state; that he had a singularly unremarkable career as a law professor, publishing nothing in 12 years at the University of Chicago other than an autobiography; and that, before joining the United States Senate, he had voted 'present' (instead of 'yea' or 'nay') 130 times, sometimes dodging difficult issues."
Sheesh! Wouldn't this have been helpful to point out before the 2008 election?
I suppose it takes some courage to publicly question your decision to support a fellow who turned out differently than you expected.
Though the real courage would have been to do so during an amazing campaign when it would have been heresy to question Obama's abilities.
Heck, people were fawning and fainting every time Obama said "hope and change." Such people were in no mood for criticism of their savior.
Obama is to be credited for running a slick campaign and maneuvering events to his advantage.
But during that whole period, I felt like a movie actor in a bizarre scene who looks directly at the camera and says, "What the ... ?!"
The hypnotic effect he had on so many was surreal to me. Now, as we near 2012, reality has set in and our president is not up to the job.
Just as we need our president to lead genuine tax reform and entitlement reform -- which would bring needed stability to get our economy going again -- he is in full campaign mode, demonizing "the rich" and offering up platitudes he knows have no chance of becoming law.
Just as we need to come together, the leader of the free world is driving us apart in a desperate, hollow attempt to politicize his way to a second term.
So here we are as a country, badly in need of leadership, and Obama's erstwhile supporters have decided it's finally a good time to examine his ability to manage the hardest job on Earth?
Oh, well. At least they aren't waiting until two and a half years into his second term.
- Tom Purcell is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. His columns are distributed by Cagle Cartoons Inc. (Purcell@caglecartoons.com).