It was Lily Tomlin who said "I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific."
President Obama must know the feeling.
He took office wanting to remake America and he succeeded in some big ways. From the stimulus to health care to auto bailouts to financial regulation, he has put major notches in his victory belt.
Yet instead of applause, Obama finds himself the target of voter disgust and anger. His poll ratings are deep in the danger zone and show no signs of climbing out.
Ah, if only he had absorbed Tomlin's wisdom. Then he would have remade America in ways most people actually wanted!
The inverse relationship between his legislative victories and his falling public support reflects a growing conviction that Washington is disconnected from the concerns of most Americans. The result is that Obama loses support around the country for every victory he wins in Congress.
It's a losing-by-winning dynamic, with real consequences. His popularity now has sunk underwater, with more people disapproving of his job performance than approving.
The average of the last two weeks, as tabulated Friday by RealClearPolitics.com, showed him having a meager 45.8 percent approval against 49.3 percent disapproval. Those anemic ratings, especially with disapprovals approaching a majority, are a flashing red light for Democrats who have gone against the public repeatedly to impose his and their agenda.
In historic terms, this is an odd predicament, with most presidents, mayors and governors suffering at the polls when they do too little. Harry Truman's 1948 campaign against the "Do Nothing Congress" remains a model of turning a demand for activist government into a winning political theme.
But the unprecedented price tag and sweeping nature of Obama's agenda, along with Dems' lock on Washington and stubbornly high unemployment, have turned activism into a liability. Many voters have expressed shock that Obama is far more liberal than he said he was, so he is suffering a trust deficit as well as a financial one. Congress is paying the price, too, with a recent survey finding only 11 percent approve of the job it is doing. That should translate into big
Republican gains come November.
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Michael Goodwin is a New York Post columnist and Fox News contributor.
Fox Forum is on Twitter. Follow us @fxnopinion.
Michael Goodwin is a Fox News contributor and New York Post columnist.