As during the Carter years, there's a recession akin to a bloodbath; joblessness persists; house values keep plummeting and the nation's mood remains cranky as hell.
But to borrow Joe Biden's oft-quoted phrase, here's the huge fucking deal: Carter's one term held few historically notable successes. Obama's first two years contain a pair of gigantic victories: health care reform and the repeal of DADT. Also, the combat phase of the Iraq war is essentially over (not that we can breathe easy yet, but we're moving in the right direction).
No, Gitmo isn't closed and Obama hasn't devised a way to divide loaves and fishes or walk on water, but it'd be useful if my fellow compadres on the left took a sec, breathed deep and momentarily enjoyed what the administration has accomplished so far. The "to do" list still scrolls to the floor, but focusing on success builds momentum, which in turn leads to more success.
And for god's sake, media outlets, you must chill: no one is challenging him from the left in '12. With so many actual stories to cover, it's assinine to speculate where none exists.