Commentary Magazine


Disenchantment with Obama on the Vineyard

It looks as if America’s disenchantment with Barack Obama has even made its way to Martha’s Vineyard.

According to a story in the Boston Globe, “When President Obama took his first trip to Martha’s Vineyard after taking office, the excitement among locals here was palpable, from the signs of support strung across shop windows and front porches to a full-page newspaper ad taken out by 125 Vineyard grandmothers in support of his health care plan. This week, with the jobless rate stuck above 9 percent and the president’s nationwide approval rating at its lowest level, the Vineyard’s broad allegiance shows cracks, leaving some islanders with a more textured, even tormented feeling about the president.”

It’s reasonable to conclude, I think, if Obama’s support is cracking in Martha’s Vineyard, it’s cracking just about everywhere.

Part of the alienation has to do with the shaky local economy. Empty storefronts dot main streets in Vineyard Haven, Edgartown, and elsewhere, according to the Globe. But it goes deeper than that.

“I think a lot of people in ’08 felt, ‘Hey, here comes a breath of fresh air, and maybe this guy can put an end to a lot – not all of it, but a lot – of the foolishness that goes on,’ ’’ lifelong resident John Alley said. “But he hasn’t been very good at that.’’

And Mary Jo Goodrich, a 21-year resident and real estate broker who voted for Obama in 2008, said he will not get her support next year.

“We all wanted a happy ending to this fairy tale,’’ said Goodrich, owner of Mary Jo Goodrich Island Properties in Vineyard Haven. “But I don’t think there’s going to be one. I just don’t see a turnaround in the near future.’’

Neither do we, Ms. Goodrich, neither do we. Perhaps it’s also worth pointing out that fairly tales are nice — but fairly tales are not real. And neither, it turns out, was the hope and promise of Barack Obama.