Paul Krugman watched the presidential press conference on Wednesday, but had to turn it off when Obama started talking about the congressional process and how it turned off voters:
Nobody cares about this stuff--they care about results.
If Obama had used fancy footwork and 2 AM sessions to pass a big public works program, and this program had brought unemployment down, Republicans would be screaming about the process--and Democrats would have comfortably held control of Congress. Remember the voter backlash against the way Medicare drug benefits were passed? Neither do I.
Oh, by the way--nobody cares about the deficit, either.
I think that's basically right. If Obama had engineered a strong recovery, nobody would care that he used the reconciliation process or made unpleasant legislative deals along the way. They'd be too busy working to listen to complaints from the Republicans or anybody else. As for the deficit, I would argue a lot of people really do care about it; many conservatives, in particular, see it as a sign of irresponsible government. But, as Krugman says, they care about jobs a great deal more.