Lots of people voted for Obama because they thought--not without evidence--that the Republicans had become too incompetent, corrupt, and generally clueless. Certainly there was a perceived "competence gap" between the two candidates for president, and certainly one sounded more cooly competent than the other. Most of all, competence--and not ideology--was the change Obama promised people believed in. People still like our president (and it’s easy to see why), but his actual policies and some of his key appointments are causing people lose confidence in his competence. Even some of his most enthusiastic supporters are asking whether he really knows what he’s doing. It’s likely he doesn’t in many ways, being very short on experience, too ideologically complacent, and saddled with Congressional leaders he can’t or at least shouldn’t (most Americans agree) trust. We shouldn’t hope that he fails, so we should hope that he’s a quick study with an astute eye for what’s working and what’s not. And we shouldn’t hestitate at all to offer tough and helpful criticisms of policies that aren’t personal attacks on the man.