First, let me clarify that I'm not saying he's a good president or his policies are good. I'm saying that he is skilled at the profession of politics: The art of swaying public opinion, manipulating your opponents and getting elected. The first piece of evidence to support this assertation is that Obama came out of nowhere, got elected to the Senate and then only four years later, beat what was possibly the biggest political brand name in the country - "Clinton" - to win the nomination for president. That, in and of itself was an amazing political accomplishment. I certainly didn't think he had a chance to beat Hillary - at least not at first. So the presidency was, exactly as many predicted, out of his league. He invited Republicans into the White House, appointed them to his cabinet and put three of them on the committee that was to mold health care reform. After six months of meetings on health care, the GOP members admitted they weren't there to work with the Dems at all and "hadn't even read the proposals and never would." Oops. Seriously, after a decade of Dems and Repubs battling each other on everything, did he really expect daisies and hugs? He continued to screw up and do a bad job for almost two years, as was evidenced by the steady decline in approval without a single spike. So Obama finally got his footing and realize that the ideal of bi-partisanship was not going to be found. He changed tactics. Time to learn from the Bush playbook when the Dems worked against him on everything - which they did. If the other side won't play nice, then screw them. Obama started doing whatever it took to get things done - including Executive Orders and Appointments during Absence. This infuriated Republicans much in the same way that Dems were infuriated when Bush did the exact same thing. But things started getting done. He has actually done some things well. Pulling out of Iraq, Announcing the end and withdraw from Afghanistan, getting bin Laden, repealing DADT and other things helped Obama with everyone but the Conservative Base - who of course, would no more attribute ANYTHING positive to Obama, than a diehard Liberal would have, with Bush. Then he started letting the Republicans set traps for themselves. Obama waited until John Boehner and Eric Cantor pubicly criticized him for not getting involved in Libya,seying it showed his "Wekaness on defense". One day later he announced we would join NATO forces in their efforts there. We got in and out, more cleanly than we have in any conflict in recent memory. What happened? Those same Republicans then criticized him for our involvement and Obama let them. Because they looked completely hypocritical and foolish to everyone but their Faithful Followers. Refusing to raise the debt ceiling looked GREAT to everyone in the Conservative Republican base! To everyone else, the fact that the debt ceiling had always been raised before was was pretty glaring. The GOP had a legitimate point in that Obama criticized Bush for reasing the debt ceiling but no congress in history had taken it to the ludicrous level the GOP did in 2011. When Moody's made it clear the credit downgrade was directly attributable to the GOP being unwilling to work with the Dems, it made the GOP look very party-before-country. It got worse. The GOP was willing and DEMANDED that the Bush tax cuts be extended - without any effort to show how they could pay for it. Obama and the Dems let this become as big an issue as the GOP wanted to make it because they knew what was on the horizon. Sure enough, when the payroll tax cut that would benefit the Middle Class came along, the GOP suddenly DEMANDED that it be paid for in advance. Again, the Conservative Base was thrilled and everyone else was appalled. The hypocrisy was obvious. Obama repeated the phrase "They will only approve of tax cuts for the rich" over and over again - and held out until the GOP caved. And then he held out again in February until once again, the GOP caved. The marketing goal was obvious: Obama is the Champion of the Middle Class and the GOP cares only about the rich. That may or may not be true but all that mattered was the perception of everyone but the Faithful Conservative Base. It worked in Obama's favor. The 2012 GOP primaries. Hmmm. Okay so candidates always attack each other. This is expected. But Obama made himself the outside factor. As a tennis coach, one of the things I tell players is to stay focused on their strategy and whatever they do, don't let the other player dictate play. If the opponent has a weak backhand, attack the weakness over and over. All the GOP had to do, to continue increasing their chance to capture the White House, was attack Obama's "backhand". Stay focused on Unemployment. The Economy. The Deficit. In that order. Nothing else. Don't get distracted! Along comes Obama and the Birth Control Issue. He makes what I thought was a TERRIBLE mistake (and posted to that fact! Once again, I am wrong). Then he makes a compromise which basically means that the laws / benefits that were in place during the entire Bush presidency, will be exactly the same now. Catholic Health Care Systems puts out a press release thanking him and saying they're fine and dandy with it. All over, right? Wrong. Rick Santorum seizes on this issue and as a result, Romney is forced to discuss it too. it becomes all they talk about for weeks. Obama is dictating play. In the Arizona Debate, unemployment and jobs were discussed for a total of five minutes! The economy was discussed much more but while the candidates offered a lot of criticism, they had little in the way of convincing solutions. "I'll lower taxes!" seemed to be the gist and every candidate. The problem for them is that with the exception of their Faithful Base, most people thought "Gee, never heard THAT one before..." However, Gay rights, birth control, America being a Christian Nation and other social issues got a LOT of time in that debate - time that those issues should NOT have gotten at all. They really should have stayed focused on the obvious: Unemployment, The Economy and The Deficit. The result? Obama's approval ratings among women has risen TEN POINTS in less than three weeks! And Obama continues to subtley and overtly provoke and prod his opponents into giving him soundbites that will be priceless in the general election. Now Santorum continues to preach from the pulpit. Romney is forced to at least add some similar commentary to his rhetoric so he doesn't look like the "Non-Christian" candidate. In the meantime, Obama is hitting the "backhand" of his opponents over and over. After Mitt's flop in Detroit, Obama stirred his own audience into a frenzy talking about how he's glad "some people" didn't have the power to stop the auto bailouts. Now Mitt is having to backtrack and modify his game to handle Obama's attacks. After Santorum's remarks about the seperation of church and state, Obama mentioned how grateful he was for JFK. Now Santorum is backtracking and modifying his game to handle Obama's attacks. Obama is a cunning politician. He's playing his own strategy and attacking his opponents' weaknesses. The result is he leads every GOP candidate in the polls by 5 - 11%. RealClearPolitics - Latest Polls There is NO WAY this should be the case! Anyone objectively viewing his performance would conclude that Obama just hasn't been that great of a president. The lead is because Obama is dictating play. Now the Republicans are saying we should get involved in Syria. Defense was always an area that the GOP could attack the Dems for being weak on. Not with this president! He has the notches on his belt. Now he can use this rhetoric by the GOP to get involved in Syria to capture a LOT of Independents and Mods (and maybe even one or two Libartarians - especially if Romney ends up on the ticket and campaigns like a hawk). "Do you REALLY want another expensive war in the Middle East?" The GOP would be wise to stay away from defense this year but Obama is already prodding them a bit and they have plently of people like McCain and Graham who don't even need prodding. As long as they talk about Syria, they're NOT talking about Unemployment, the economy and the deficit. Oops. What's next? If Obama is smart, he'll start talking about issues like Affirmative Action, Immigration and so on. Put the bait out with one specific incident or situation. Then, if he's lucky, the GOP candidates will swing as wildly to the Conservative Right on that issue, as they have on birth control. This would guarantee Obama the minority vote which is expected to breaks all records at above 30% this year. It will also offer more distractions from Unemployment, The Economy and the Deficit - Obama's "backhand". By the time the GOP has finally picked Mitt Romney as their candidate, the dice will be rolled. All the ammunition Obama could ever hope for, will already be in his possession. If Obama can continue to dictate play, to keep the GOP candidates talking about things that are non-issues to everyone but the Conservative base, if he can continue to egg the GOP candidates into running farther and farther to The Right and away from the Center, and if the economy improves at all, Obama will see a re-election. Given the massive number of mistakes he made early in his presidency (especially the debacle known as ObamaCare), pulling off a re-election would be a spectacular display of political skill. And remember, I'm not saying he's good, bad or otherwise as a president. I'm saying he's good at politics: swaying public opinion, manipulating his opponents and getting elected. Barring an "X-Factor", it's looking like he'll also be good at getting re-elected. This would be where some people comment or debate issues discussed here, and the weaker ones just sling petty insults and labels because you know, issues and points just aren't anything they can handle.