Do you remember the hype of the 2008 General Election campaign? The American one, I mean, where "YES WE CAN" was triumphing against doom and fear.
I do. I remember it vividly. Most people do. It had an effect here of course: the Labour government of Helen Clark was on the way out and the Time for a Change pop-culture meme was being butressed by the amazing rhetoric and iconography out of the States.
Obama's problem since is that the U.S. political system does not allow a President much say over what the country does. Combine that set of constraints with the worst global economic crisis in eighty years, and you get disappointment.
Expectations had flown so high. The chilling winds of global turmoil and Obama's inability to meet them -- actually, inability to ever even come close to meeting them even if the economy had been in good times -- has the counter effect today. Many people who were stirred to enthusiasm and hope have had their hopes dashed.
We all know, from our own lives as well as our own politics, what happens to dashed hopes. Especially when they are dashed by someone else.
Sooner or later we tend to find someone to blame or hold responsible, and we take it out on them.
It doesn't happen fast and it doesn't always happen. But when it does it's generally pretty intense and it doesn't often then get rekindled.
How is this relevant to Mr Key?
The National government Mr Key leads is preparing for its fourth Budget, which will be announced next week. It's a budget of failure: National's yawning budget deficits and willful tax splurges for the rich have left a party whose priority is cutting things with little choice but to cut. Or at least not to grow.
Add to that the continual bad news about the rest of the economy and the headlines that are flying around (e.g. Fed-up Kiwis flee to Oz en masse), and the Government's swing to the right since the election, and you're starting to see some similar things here.
Mr Key has far more levers at his disposal than Mr Obama does. He is far more responsible for the absence of progress than his American counterpart.
John Key and National promised a brighter future. All they've delivered is the opposite.
The public have sussed this out. The changing tone of public debate is accelerating the slow change in opinion.
So where's the hope?
Labour couldn't find the inspiration in 2011 to hold out a hopeful vision of the future.
If we can get our heads around that and do it, then 2014 is going to see a change of government.
The one thing voters really don't like is being the victims of false promises. As capable a politician as John Key is, he is not going to be able to distance himself from the core of the agenda that got him into office.
The long downward slide, in other words, has begun.
Next week's budget will be another increase in the slope, because it's all about failure, zero, restraint, cutting, tough choices. Not a skerrick of hope in sight.