I get myself into these situations because my conversion from moderate, middle-aged, Southern conservative to Obama campaign foot soldier got splashed all over the Web after an opinion piece I wrote for the Monitor went viral and briefly turned me into a liberal darling. The questions I was getting that night were not the Sarah Palin-like “So how’s that hopey, changey thing workin’ out for ya?” kind of question. These were insightful questions from intelligent friends interested in a constructive dialogue about politics.

The problem for Mr. Obama and Democrats is that it’s not just Republicans asking questions anymore. Two years ago, 52 percent of independents backed Obama. Today, according to an Associated Press poll, just 3 in 10 say they want Democrats to retain control of Congress. Nine in 10 say the economy is the No. 1 problem, and more trust Republicans to deal with it. What happened?