How to Recover From a "Shellacking"

11/28/2010 12:35 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

"President Obama -- who admitted to getting a 'shellacking' from Republicans in the midterm elections -- took an elbow to the mouth while playing basketball yesterday morning with a group of family and friends in town for Thanksgiving," reported the New York Post yesterday. That isn't the only media outlet calling the president's fat lip a metaphor for the president's post-midterm state. "Many a fighter can throw punches, but to be successful in the ring, he must be able to take them as well. The boxer's greatest test is not taken while standing on the canvas, but in getting off it," says J.T. Young at Human Events. But how can Obama get back on track now that he's been bruised?

Change the message: "Even after the 'shellacking' he took in the midterms, Obama is still trying to compromise, to better explain his positions, to appeal to reason," says the Chicago Tribune's John McCarron. "It's as if he didn't hear House Speaker-apparent John Boehner, R-Ohio, declare that the No. 1 mission of his GOP majority will be to make sure Obama is not re-elected. Like a whipped puppy to a cruel owner, this president keeps coming back, hoping for a different response." Let's hear some "outrage" for a change.

Stick to the current plan: Bill Clinton got through similar times in 1994 with patience. "Take your time; focus relentlessly on the economy; offer to cooperate with Republicans where you can, but draw clear lines when you cannot; and admit your own mistakes," says the Los Angeles Times' Doyle McManus. Looking ahead, Obama will try to "frame a new agenda around job creation -- now that his initial approach, the $787 billion stimulus plan passed in 2009, has run out of gas."

Force some compromise in the name of progress: He says "he is ready and willing to hear the Republicans' ideas for dealing with jobs, taxes, energy and even nuclear weapons control," writes the Washington Post's David Broder. "Suppose there is a chance that he is serious" and that "he has reverted to his original philosophy of governing." He wants to get the START treaty ratified and Bush tax cuts resolved. Republicans can test "Obama's sincerity" by meeting with him in hopes of reaching a compromise. "Trust but verify. A good Republican approach."

Reports of Obama's "political death" are premature: Sure, he needs to focus on jobs, but "there are in fact several reasons for Obama's supporters to be hopeful," says Richard Wolffe in the Los Angeles Times. "The stock market, a central indicator of investor confidence, has regained most of the ground it lost since the financial meltdown of 2008. Growth has returned and employment is inching upward. Over the next two years, there is plenty of time for that growth and employment to accelerate." There's already reason for optimism.