It's an old political truism that voters prefer Democratic policy and Republican politicians. That's why nearly every election except for the last couple have ended with Democrats in tears, wondering why people vote for the guy who hates Social Security and abortion so much. The answer is generally that the Republican seems nice or trustworthy, the sort of person who has the appropriate character and temperament to make good decisions even if you don't always agree with them, whereas the Democrat -- the one whose legislation you might actually support -- is just some droning old tool with no charisma.
Now the tables have turned, oh yes! And we find ourselves in a most unusual position: our Democratic president, Barack Obama, is more popular than his policies, while the Republican leadership abounds with dull, unpleasant nitwits.
A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows Obama with a 63 percent approval rating, even though only 57 percent agree with him on "the issues that matter most" to them. From this we can draw one obvious conclusion: Obama is a secret Republican, using his personal popularity to push through legislation that is only slightly less popular than he is.
Meanwhile, Republicans molder. What exciting, Reagan-esque figure will emerge to lift them from their doldrums? Will it be the chain-smoking sourpuss John Boehner, the earnest dork Bobby Jindal, the bellowing heffalump Rush Limbaugh, or that "Eric Cantor" guy? Sarah Palin has a charming personality, if you're into that kind of thing, but a number of voters asserted in November of 2008 that they were decidedly not into that kind of thing.
In other words, Republicans find themselves in precisely the kind of charisma void that Democrats mucked around in for eight years. As any John Kerry supporter will tell you, it's not a fun place to be in.