Peter Beinart - who, while not very compelling a thinker/writer, is no run-of-the-mill lefty twit - thinks Obama is a lock for a second term. He gives three reasons: 1) the base will rally, 2) the economy will rebound, 3) the GOP will screw it up. Only one of these is at all convincing to me and that is #3. Yes the GOP could screw it up, although one thing is clear to me, if they screw it up they will screw it up less than last time. So will the voters reject a GOP that is learning its lessons, albeit imperfectly, for four more years of Obama? Maybe, but doubtful. As to #1, I can't (nor would I want) to crawl inside the head of anyone typical of Obama's "base" but I have posited that the Obama coalition is dead. Fine, the base may rally but Obama needed a coalition last time and he'll need it again, but it is gone forever. "The base" isn't enough. (Oh, and let's not forget the other side's "base", if you think the Tea Party crowd will be satisfied with what they achieve in November, you've got another thing coming. Small-gov conservatives, libertarians, and Tea Partiers all understand that this is a two cycle fight at a minimum and that the really important pink slip that they need to issue is...Obama's.) Finally, IMHO the economy will stumble along, but even if the economy does do OK it won't feel like it to the average voter - lackluster growth won't create enough jobs to absorb workforce growth, $4 gas will dampen consumer spending, ObamaCare fallout will continue to plague businesses, and we will continue to look like laggards relative to the rest of the world. Furthermore, and this is a point that Beinart completely ignores, the world will look a mess and/or Obama's foreign policy ineptitude will shine through in a particularly visible and ugly way. The world's bad guys have already sized Obama up and will do what they want, and the world's good guys realize that Obama doesn't much care or even think about things in terms of good/bad, so no net positive on the global scene is forthcoming.
My take is that Obama's troubles are only beginning. One of the structural flaws that he had coming in to his Presidency was a shallow political base. As a newby, he didn't have the deep networks and connections to draw the top talent to his side; he only had the ability to draw party loyalists who do what they do for the party, not for him. As he proves damaging to the party, these folks will not sign up to resurrect the great Obama experiment, which is a major problem for him. He is going to need top class talent to resurrect his presidency. Where is he going to find these people? Where are the All-stars going to come from? Answer: He's not gonna get them. Is he really going to turn things around dramatically in 20 months with a bunch of B-teamers? Doubtful.
Holds up pretty well if you ask me.