Commentary: Standing by President Obama

President Barack Obama speaks at the United Nations
President Barack Obama speaks at the United Nations Susan Walsh / AP

Less than two years after a historic landslide election, it seems everyone is disillusioned with President Barack Obama.

"I'm deeply disappointed where we are right now," a woman told the president at a town hall aired nationwide Monday on CNBC.

"I'm waiting, sir," she said of her expectation that Obama would change Washington. "I don't feel it yet. Is this my new reality?"

In California's state capital, Sacramento for Obama, a grass-roots machine during the 2008 presidential campaign, is out of business.

The magic evaporated soon after Obama was inaugurated in January 2009. "Yes we can" became "politics as usual."

Governing and campaigning really are very different.

"There is now a group called Organizing for America, but it is much smaller and that is disappointing to me," said Kim Mack, the former spiritual and organizational leader of Obama in Sacramento.

"They kind of hitched their wagon to the Democratic National Committee and that turned off the Republicans and independents who came out for Obama."

After Obama's win, Mack decided to run the congressional campaign of Ami Bera. She exuded a passion for democracy but was soon shoved aside by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Mack said party hacks wanted a "pro" over her.

"I took a layoff with the county to work with Ami," she said.

She also was rocked by the deployment of her son to Afghanistan by Obama.

She turned away from politics and is now focused on voter registration for a nonprofit.

But when I asked Mack if she had given up on Obama, her answer became a rebuttal to those who wallow in being "disillusioned" or who are swayed by politicos who promise the moon but offer no detailed proposals.

"I've become disillusioned with partisan politics but not our president," she said. "If you look at his record, he's accomplished a lot. But I think we placed ridiculous expectations on him.

"It's not just about Obama. It's about the actions of the administration before him. It's about the legislative branch. Obama is not a dictator, he's the leader of a democracy with checks and balances and is working within that system."

But we don't want to hear that. We want promises over concrete proposals, wars without cost, services without taxes, gains without sacrifice. We have unprecedented access to information and yet we are often uninformed and insular.

"For some, if Sean Hannity tells them the world is ending, they believe it," Mack said. "Some people don't look further than a particular news source. Until people understand they have to be in this for the long haul, nothing will change."

In truth, Obama is just a human being. For real reform in America, what we need is a mirror.

Related stories from McClatchy DC