Excerpt from AoSHQ:
In the 90s, if I remember right, liberals fretted that their fellow liberals were less interested in the boycotts that because fashionable during the 80s. Many liberals got tired of the long list of foods they weren’t supposed to eat — apples (they have alar!) and grapes (migrant farmers aren’t paid enough to pick them!) — and just tuned out of the Boycott of the Week.
This was called “Compassion Fatigue.” It’s not that these liberals disagreed with any of these boycotts. They just grew weary of trying to remember what they could and could not eat. They never argued against the boycotts; they just silently demonstrated their disinterest in them by ignoring them.
That strikes me as a plausible model for how an Obama voter might become a Romney (or Perry, etc.) voter: Not through outright repudiation, not through a major intellectual journey and ultimate re-orientation. Those happen sometimes, of course, but most people are content to go through life believing in all the false and foolish things they’ve always believed in.
But through a less intellectual driver: Simple fatigue. Weariness. A snap decision, made mostly in the gut, that one is simply tired of someone, and that he is no longer charming, or compelling, or fashionable.
A bit like falling out of love. Few really plan on falling out of love with someone. It just happens. There is a period of increasing dissatisfaction, and then one day, without any definitive event to mark the change, one finds he’s just no longer fond of someone he’d once loved.
Obama’s on the television too much. He threatened Republicans, during the debt ceiling negotiation, that he would take his case to the public; the public didn’t much care.
The public viewed him as cloying. And needy. And attention-seeking. And weak.
I think many people are, as Goodwin says, “giving up on Obama.” In fact, I think many people have already given up on him, past tense, and are really just waiting for a suitable eligible candidate to announce himself (or herself), at which point will come the “It’s not you, it’s me” speech.