“The term bubbled up from a set of focus groups we did with swing voters, independents, soft Republicans and soft Democrats,” says one strategist involved in an extensive RNC research effort nationwide and in key states like Virginia, Colorado and Florida. “It’s something that a vast majority of voters believe is true, that Obama is running what amounts to an experiment with our future.”

The RNC researchers came away convinced that Americans are scared. Certainly voters expected Obama to do things. But they are frightened by the sheer scope of the president’s proposals, the fiscal dangers they present and, perhaps most of all, the astonishing speed with which the administration is trying to enact such fundamental and far-reaching changes.

“When Americans voted for change, it was for a change from the uncertainty and economic unpredictability at the end of the Bush years,” says Alex Castellanos, the Republican message master who helped shape the RNC campaign. “But the president is giving them economic unpredictability on steroids. There is the clear sense out there that he is moving so fast on so many fronts that his health care plan cannot be well thought out.”