*(Via the LA Times) Since his midterm election drubbing, President Obama has followed what seems like a wobbly course, taking one step to the left, then two to the right. The pattern, now reinforced by his tentative tax deal with Republicans, has pleased GOP adversaries while infuriating allies on the left.

But viewed through the lens of reelection politics, the strategy forged by the White House becomes clearer. The president is appealing to the independent voters who handed him one of the worst midterm setbacks in decades.

One of their major complaints has been Washington’s inability to work across party lines. And by trying to show that he can work with his nemeses, the president is laying a foundation for 2012, when the two-year tax cut compromise expires.

“We have to get [the independents] back,” said a senior White House advisor who spoke on the condition of anonymity while discussing internal strategy.

At the White House, Obama’s chief of staff, Peter Rouse, is finishing an internal review meant to prepare the president and his aides for the new political climate. It is expected to include a renewed effort to address one of the more surprising shortcomings of Obama’s first two years in office: his failure to forge a closer connection with everyday Americans.

“Since he stopped campaigning, he doesn’t seem to be reaching out and engaging the people anymore,” said Melanie Orpen, 38, an independent voter from suburban Philadelphia, during a focus group discussion Monday night sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Read the FULL story at the LA Times.