Those who live around Washington may smell a faint whiff of smoke in the wintry air. It’s coming from the White House, where President Barack Obama is warming his hands over the last copy of the Constitution. He tossed into the fireplace last night when he unilaterally re-wrote the Orwellian Affordable Care Act again.

Also up in smoke: Obama’s approval rating. He began 2013 re-elected and enjoying majority approval. According to CNN, he ends it with a majority of Americans angry with him, believing he is dishonest, and sure that he is a failure on his signature policy.

Obama’s approval rating stands at 41% in a new CNN/ORC International survey released Friday, which matches the all-time low he fell to in CNN polling just last month. The President’s disapproval rating remains unchanged at 56%, which is an all-time high in CNN surveys.

In the afterglow of his 2012 re-election victory, Obama’s rating stood at 55% in CNN polling in January. That number ranged from the upper 40s to the low 50s through May in CNN and most other national polling, but steadily declined in the following months as Obama dealt with one controversy after another, from NSA surveillance and IRS targeting of political groups to the disastrous startup of and the controversy over millions of Americans being told they would lose their current insurance plans because they didn’t meet stands mandated by the new health care law.

Scandals have taken their toll. Failures are taking their toll. Worse for the president, his own pattern of lies has taken its toll. A majority just don’t believe him anymore. They also see him as a threat.

According to the poll, which was released Friday, 40% say they disapprove of the President because they say his policies and actions have been too liberal, with 12% saying they disapprove because he hasn’t been liberal enough.

Cross over to Gallup, where a whopping 72% believe that big government is the biggest threat to freedom. Obama, as the champion of really really big government, loses there and with the CNN poll. People think he’s too liberal and too much a creature of a menacing blob of a government. A strong majority believe that the government that Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren and their allies champion as the solution to everything, is broken.

Having lost the ears of a majority of the American people, Barack Obama has deprived himself of the only tool in his arsenal: His ability to speak (or read teleprompters).

And it gets worse.

“A majority of women and half of younger Americans, two key components of the Obama coalition that helped to elect and re-elect him to the White House, disapprove of Obama’s track record as President,” Holland said.

Their messiah has killed his own credibility. This leviathan presidency is in a death spiral. On the other hand, a cornered, wounded animal is apt to bite.

Barack Obama had a tremendous opportunity. As a strong advocate of big government, he could have come in, seen that big government is inefficient, messy, byzantine and full of dead weight and waste, and cleaned up. He even promised to do that in 2008, when he promised to go “line by line” through the budget to root out waste. It was a good line. Given his ideological leanings, it was fair to be skeptical of him.

If he had followed through on that, he could have unleashed the stuttering economy by lightening the load on the private sector. He could also have gone down as one of the great presidents.

He squandered that opportunity. He has grown government and given it powers the Founders never intended. He used government as a weapon against his opponents, whom he characterized as enemies. He turned the regulatory state into a shadow government that crafts its own law and ruthlessly enforces them, often with militarized government police. He will not be remembered as a great anything, except failure. Or, perhaps, a great mistake. He could also go down in history as the small man who destroyed a great nation.

Barack Obama still has three years to live down to that one, and he’s well on his way.