A certain guy a day older than me just turned 50 today. Enjoy, Mr. President.
It's a bit too early to start to declare him on the downslope, for we don't know the fulll trajectory of his life. The authorized movie version closes with his passage of the health care bill last year, only to see things take a series of setbacks since then.
On one level, there are some interesting comparisons with Jimmy Carter; both were thinkers who weren't all that gifted in the below-the-belt Beltway tactics and both went into their reelection campaign with sucky economies. That's the meme that conservatives would like to see happen, since Reagan proceeded to rout Carter in 1980.
The other analogy that could well play out is Bill Clinton; the 2010 election begs comparison with 1994's takeover of Congress, but Clinton managed to triangulate his way to the center ground and was able to win a game of chicken with the Congressional GOP, getting them to take the PR blame for a government shutdown. Clinton them made himself out to be the moderate one fending off the Newtonian radicals on the right and managed to make a rather moderate Bob Dole look bad by proxy.
So far, Obama has yet to have that victory. The standoff of this last month came out a near-tie, with neither side getting a clear win; that's the nature of divided government. At least we have a government; as I was reminded of here, Belgium is working on a caretaker government for over a year with no one able to carve out a viable majority.
As the old song went, the future is still unwritten. Obama is a better politician than Carter but he isn't Slick Willie. He'll face someone between Reagan and Dole in abilities as a campaigner.