As you watch the president tonight, do not be surprised if he sounds more defiant than you expected. If the president has not fully come to terms with what has happened to him, his political base has not even begun to.

The mere mention of a spending freeze covering about a fifth of the budget starting next year, triggered howls from the left that Obama was now Herbert Hoover. The left still thinks that Mr. Obama's election signaled an ideological sea change. This was no longer a center-right nation, they insisted. It was now a center-left country which had vote for sweeping liberal change.

The truth is that there had been no sea change. One poll of actual voters taken on Election Day 2008 found that on a left to right scale from one to 10 voters averaged out at just below six, center-right. Successive Gallup polls this year found 40 percent of respondents calling themselves conservative, only 20 percent liberal.

It is no surprise that such an electorate was turned off by the staggering deficit spending in the so-called stimulus, and they don't believe you can add millions to the health insurance rolls and save money at the same time; and they certainly didn't want to do it by cutting hundreds of billions out of Medicare and raising taxes. Add the failure of spending to keep unemployment below eight percent and you have set the stage for Massachusetts.

But if Mr. Obama doesn't seem to edge far enough to the center tonight, remember that his base thinks he's gone way too far already.

Brit Hume is the senior political analyst for Fox News Channel.