Obama’s largest rhetorical miscalculation – and it bears part of the responsibility for 2 November – was to suppose he could move people to admire and sympathise with government even as he encouraged them to disdain and deprecate politics. By holding himself above politics he cleared a path for an insurgent movement that put itself below politics. Obama echoes Reagan in speaking often of ‘Washington’ in a tone of assumed displeasure. The difference is that Reagan had so little grasp of the details of his administration that the disavowal in a sense showed consistency. For Obama, the same posture is transparently inauthentic. And in a democracy like the United States, as in any representative government, a contempt for politics whets the people’s appetite for sudden remedies.
A Reagan-loving friend of mine isn't so hot on the disparagement there, but otherwise I wonder if this isn't getting at something. In a representative democracy, politics is how we make government go. If you're always grumbling about the mud that you're in, is it any wonder if people think you're a pig?
That said, there are limits to this theory. I still stick with the theory that the Tea Party originated as a gathering of sore losers from the 2008 election; I don't imagine there's much President Obama could've done to win them over.