09/02/2011 Opinion The Wall Street Journal One animating theme of Barack Obama's campaign and early Presidency was that he would repair government's post-Reagan reputation, expanding its role in American life so voters would turn once again to Democrats as the party of government, as they did in 1964 and the 1930s. So how's that working out? Not so well, judging by a remarkable Gallup poll this week that asked the public about its views of government and various businesses. The federal government dropped to its lowest approval levels ever. Only 17% were positive, 63% negative, for a net approval rating of minus-46%. Government never ranks well, but for the first time since Gallup began asking in 2003 it fell to last place—below even the oil and gas industry, which netted minus-44% approval. . . . Liberals claimed one political age was giving way to another of activist government, with the Reagan era as the aberration. "For the first time since the Johnson Administration," George Packer wrote in the New Yorker, "the idea that government should take bold action to create equal opportunity for all citizens doesn't have to explain itself in a defensive mumble. That idea is ascendant in 2008 because it answers the times." So why have the times apparently changed again, and so fast? The public's falling confidence in government is no doubt partly due to the economy and joblessness, and some of it, too, to the debt-ceiling fracas. But it also reflects the historical pattern of modern American politics: Every time Democrats attempt to govern the country from the ideological left, they damage government's reputation and status. LINK _____________________________________ Hello, I'm Obama. I'm from the government, and I'm of no use to you at all. Stick a fork in me. I'm done.