Ezra Klein offers a very good roadmap for the President in his upcoming jobs speech.
It involves thinking political, and how best to acheive your policy goals. Also, what would work for the 2012 election.
But for years now, the President has persisted in his refusal to do political things for show.
To push for a way more progressive healthcare bill for the purpose of compromising to the best possible. He instead kept announcing his best guess of what was possible. Either not realizing or caring that by being "honest" or "naive" he was rapidly eroding what was possible.
In the 2009 Stimulus, he tried to put together a plan that was balanced and could have gotten many Republican votes. The old way of politics, which turns out is still the new way, would be to push for as much a liberal stimulus as he could defend, let the Republicans offer their ideas, and then compromise at the end. Obama wanted to skip the process.
But the process is America. He thought he could change it. So far, not so good.
Republicans need to hate Democrats. Democrats need to hate Republicans.
Politics needs to be war. So if you give land up voluntarily, the enemy (opponent) will demand more. Until you agree to fight.
Now what Obama could do is to continue his moderate approach, but once he proposes it, let it be known THAT IS THE COMPROMISE. No more haggling. Any changes will be worse for your side.
That would take backbone, because the media would attack him as inflexible. Even though the substance wasn't extreme. Plus it's counterintuitive. The President has a great record of acheivement in spite of himself. Perhaps the real strategy is over my head. I must admit that possibility. He is the President. The Presidency I never thought possible.
But this compromising logic (in addition to experience) is what led me to support Hillary Clinton back in 2008. The approach didn't make sense then and still doesn't.
I support Obama 99%. If he would fight gay rights, gay marriage, and the whole left wing nazi crowd, it'd be 100%.
So this is really just friendly advice:
play the politics. Win more. Lose less.