Victor Davis Hanson, well-versed in the ironies of history, sees a path for Obama towards ultimate victory, or at least getting re-elected:
If Democrats get clobbered in November, expect just such a passive rope-a-dope strategy, different from the last two years of either the Carter term or the first Clinton term. Obama will let Republicans punch themselves out over the nation’s problems, hoping they expend energy and incur blood. Then, as things improve, he can come alive to brag in 2012 that the upturn would have been even better had he not been stopped by right-wing obstructionists.
The mellifluent Obama will do far better if his agenda remains hope-and-change banter instead of becoming messy and costly law. Republicans will try to ensure both — and thereby may save Obama from himself.
I have trouble envisioning this sort of zen/aikido Obama myself. I have an easier time imagining him reacting like an angry child to the Democrats losing the Congress. As I see it, he tends more towards bullying and looking for ways to get around the Constitution than he does engaging in persuasion and long-term strategy.