Charles Krauthanmmer

*To casual observers and Obama haters the past few months have seemingly been not too kind to the president. His overall popularity numbers are tanking and the war in Afghanistan is losing more and more support from the public. And let’s not even mention the Gulf oil spill crises. And even though the oil seems to have finally stopped flowing, the prez is still being made the fall guy for some unexplainable reason in poll after poll.

The naysayers: conservatives, AKA, Republicans, Tea Partiers and of course Limbaugh and Beck’s ilk, are jumping for joy because of they believe what’s happening now will translate into Democrats losing seats in the upcoming mid-term elections this fall.

However, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, writing in the Washington Post, predicts what could be good times ahead for Mr. Obama and the Democratic Party, regardless (and maybe even because of) what will likely happen in November.

Krauthammer is issuing a warning to conservatives to be cool and, in no uncertain terms, “Don’t underestimate Barack Obama.”

Krauthammer compares Obama’s presidency to Reagan’s, noting that “both presidencies were highly ideological, grandly ambitious and often underappreciated by their own side.” And while Obama has come under fire from critics on both sides of the aisle, Krauthammer argues that critics are being shortsighted.

Consider what he has already achieved. Obamacare alone makes his presidency historic. It has irrevocably changed one-sixth of the economy, put the country inexorably on the road to national health care and, as acknowledged by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus but few others, begun one of the most massive wealth redistributions in U.S. history.

Act One is over. The stimulus, Obamacare, financial reform have exhausted his first-term mandate. It will bear no more heavy lifting. And the Democrats will pay the price for ideological overreaching by losing one or both houses, whether de facto or de jure. The rest of the first term will be spent consolidating these gains (writing the regulations, for example) and preparing for Act Two.

The next burst of ideological energy — massive regulation of the energy economy, federalizing higher education and “comprehensive” immigration reform (i.e., amnesty) — will require a second mandate, meaning reelection in 2012.

That’s why there’s so much tension between Obama and congressional Democrats. For Obama, 2010 matters little. If Democrats lose control of one or both houses, Obama will probably have an easier time in 2012, just as Bill Clinton used Newt Gingrich and the Republicans as the foil for his 1996 reelection campaign.

Read Krauthammer’s full article HERE.