A year later, WaPo wonders: What happened to the Hopenchange?

Now, the mood through much of the nation seems restive, even sour. It is almost jarring to look at the photographs from Grant Park, to study those upturned beaming faces, many streaked with tears. Was that a movement? Or just a moment?

In a series of conversations before and after the State of the Union address, fervent Obama voters and former campaign staffers said they still are committed to the president and support his policies. But many are experiencing what generations of the politically passionate have learned over the years: Campaigning is fun; watching the person you’ve elected engage in the long slog of governing, less so. Some are working for his ideas. Some have struggled to find a way to engage. And for others, their passion was deep but brief. When Obama took office, they went back to their lives…

“To be an activist is a lifestyle,” says Jenn Watts. She was Shimm’s boss. An Irish Catholic girl of 22 with a Fordham education in philosophy and urban and African American studies, she started as a fundraiser in the District, then went into the field in Iowa and followed the primary trail — Minnesota, Texas, Wisconsin. She helped organize the national convention in Denver and went home to Indiana for the finale.

Then she crashed. “I was malnourished. I was delusional. I hadn’t slept,” she says. She moved to Washington and began competing with fellow staffers for White House jobs. “I saw some people who turned into different people. I felt naive about it. We were all one big progressive happy family, I thought, and now it was, oh, this was about you and your career?”