We're pretty much done with that pesky election of 2010, so here is my analysis about President Obama's chances to be re-elected.
In 1994, following Newt Gingrich having engineered the first Republican majority in the U.S. House in 40 years during President Bill Clinton's first mid-term, Clinton decided to move to the center.
The center was Clinton's natural location. He was a centrist Democrat before he ran, and he had been dragged to the left to (a) gain the nomination, then (b) govern in his first two years. Moving to the center was a relief to Clinton, because that is where he had lived his entire public life.
Obama is not a centrist by training, by ideology, by experience, nor by inclination. So, using Clinton as a model will not work.
Going back in time, the Obama team might look at Ronald Reagan who also suffered a major defeat in his first mid-term election in 1982. Unemployment was over 10 percent and there had not been a two-term Presidency since Eisenhower 1952-1960.
Reagan reached out to Democrats in the Congress - Reagan Democrats they came to be called - to help him pass tax cuts and reductions in regulations to get the economy growing. It did, and Reagan ran on a campaign slogan of, "It's Morning Again in America" which fit the mood and the aspirations of voters.
I can't see how Obama duplicates that inasmuch as there is no such thing as an Obama Republican in the House or Senate for him to co-opt if he continues to pursue his Liberal, elitist agenda.
So, now we go back to Harry S Truman, and the election of 1948. Truman was not an elitist (as FDR had been), he was not a centrist, and the only reason he was seen as a legitimate candidate was because he happened to have been chosen as VP to run with Roosevelt and was the sitting President after FDR's death.In the election of 1946, the GOP took control of the House and the Senate by large margins and had no interest in helping old Harry S do anything to help control the raging inflation which was attached to the end of World War II rationing, the return of millions of men from Europe and Asia.
Add to that power of women who had "manned" riveted together the planes, ships, trucks, and guns during the war and had no interest in returning to their pre-war status and there was too much money chasing too few goods.
Truman ran against the Congress. He coined the phrase "The Do-Nothing Congress" during the campaign for President in 1948, beat New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey in an upset, and dragged a Democrat Congress into power behind him.
If I were advising Obama, Truman is the model I would suggest he use.
Truman had a Republican House and Senate; but Obama has a Democrat-controlled Senate. Nevertheless, with 46 or 47 Republicans in the Senate, he might well be able to make the case that between the overwhelming Republican majority in the House, and the ability of Republican Senators to thwart his legislation (because Harry Reid needs 60 votes to pass anything Republicans don't like) the "Do Nothing 112th Congress" is the enemy of the people.
I don't think he will be able to pull it off.
Obama has no idea what real people think about real issues. In his presser the day after the election he said this:
That's not the way "families all around the country" do it. What real families do is take a look at how much money they have and then decide what they can buy. Not buy something and then decide how (or if) you can pay for it.
Sounds like a difference without a distinction, but it is at the center of why Obama believes that paying for an ever expanding Federal government ("if you spend something") must be funded by taxing working Americans more and more ("you know how to pay for it").
Republicans in the House and Senate want to do what real families do: Quit spending until there is money available to buy more stuff. There is a reason Americans from every dimension - geography, income, age, and ethnicity - are paying down their credit cards and reducing their debt load.
There is no need for Republicans in the House or Senate to attack Obama. All they need to do is to point out why he still has no concept of the kitchen table issues facing American families.