Obama did not run on a platform of socializing the economy. He differentiated himself from his fellow democrats (and even some republicans) by firmly declaring that there would never be a mandate to purchase health insurance. In the midst of the slogans of "hope" and "change" he actually did define what they meant. He was going to bring a new tone to Washington, reach out to the other party, establish compromises, eloquently defend civility and truth, and heal our divisions.
Sure, he told Joe The Plumber that it was a good thing when the wealth is spread around - but in the abstract, who can argue with that? At the time, I fully believed that the worst we could get from Obama was some minor increase in spending and some new social programs of questionable utility. I knew he was a liberal at heart, but not that he was anything out of the ordinary.
Obama would often drop hints of how he thought in his speeches. When speaking of affirmative action, he told of why he thought that some people opposed it - and he was right! "Here is a democrat that actually understands my concerns," I said. At the time, I could see no reason for him to have said things the way he did, especially given who he was speaking to. I believed it accidental and therefore genuine.
Of course I wanted to listen to his opponents, but they never brought up much of anything substantive against him. Sean Hannity claimed Obama had the "most liberal voting record of any Senator," but could never bring up a single item of concern, and I can't be expected to look up everything myself. I know that a lot of what is voted on is procedural and I can hardly fault Obama for going along with his own party. As Hannity became more and more unfair in his mischaracterizations, I began to tune him out.
Much of what is known now about Obama's assocciations and education was simply not reported to me before. The mainstream media failed. Even the supposedly "right-wing" FOX failed. John McCain failed. Sarah Palin failed. Talk radio failed. Colin Powel failed (he endorsed Obama). If you knew what was to happen, you have better sources than I. Please tell me where. I don't want this to happen again.