The crushing rebuke of the Democrats in the recent election by no means finishes Barack Obama. He can easily win a second term by emulating the last Democratic President who likewise lost a midterm election but came back to win a second term. Bill Clinton simply played along with the Republicans to the point of co-opting their positions. Welfare reform was a Republican issue, but Clinton made it his own. He also won the public’s sympathy.
President Obama could take upon himself the reduction of the deficit. (Yes, he caused a big part of it, but that doesn’t have to matter politically.) He could drastically cut corporate welfare, farm subsidies and the military, thus pleasing his left flank. The Republicans would co-operate with his other cuts, such as eliminating whole departments and highly-visible programs. He could reform social security, perhaps by not letting rich people get it. He could increase his popularity by just leaving Iraq and Afghanistan, while keeping up the drone assassinations.
I’m not saying he SHOULD do any of this. I’m just describing what might be successful tactics. What else could he do?