He might lose the Senate and spend his last two years in office wearily vetoing the mudslide the Republicans are planning to push his way and depart as a shadow of the pol he once was. But once out of office, his rep will rebound, and not just because this happens to all Presidents, even George W. Bush. I suspect that this phenomena is not because Joe Public thinks more highly of the actual Administrations of the past; Joe just looks back and sees that his life was better then, because he was younger. His wife hadn't ran up all their credit cards and left him yet; his kids hadn't caused him to cash in his IRA so they could get D's in college; he didn't need Viagra to prime his pump. He thinks past Presidents were better because he was better.
The prediction here is that Obama's rep will soar after he quits his current job, further and faster than any President before him. Why? Because the guy is just cool.
He might be the coolest President that has ever held the office. I admit Kennedy and Roosevelt might have shined on Between Two Ferns as well, had they the opportunity, but coolness was easier to achieve back then. A nice head of hair or a cigarette holder gave you a vast edge on being more chill than your opponent. In these days of the 24 hour news cycle, affecting cool is not enough. You have to emanate cool. It has to be one of your core attributes.
That's where Obama has always stood out. He succeeded in making Hillary wait an extra eight years to be President just because he was obviously dope and made her look whack. He destroyed John McCain's claim to cool, which the war hero had cultivated for years, so quickly that McCain felt forced to nominate a mouthy Valkyrie from the frozen north as his running mate just because she had nice wheels. He bested Romney because the guy couldn't turn his dress-shirt-tucked-into-dad-jeans ass around without pulling a dork move.
This brings us to the Dork Theory of Presidential Politics, which is that the less dorky of the two candidates usually wins. I intend this to supplant my previous HD TV Theory of Presidential Politics, which held that the best-looking candidate usually wins. The Dork Theory explains subtleties that the HD TV theory does not, like how the ugliest man ever to run for President (Lyndon Johnson) managed to landslide over Goldwater in '64 (the man wore huge blocky glasses and was on record as being in favor of the end of the world. Dork). How could a pious incompetent from Georgia upend a sitting President in '76? Because every time the sitting President stood up, he hit his head on something. Dork.
Bush 1 bested Dorkakis, but was stranded on the Dork Side himself by Slick Willie. Need I go on? Gore and Bush—so dead heat on the Dorkmeter the election had to be decided by the Supreme Court. How do you not sweep an obvious bungler out of office in '04? Nominate a horse-faced dork to oppose him.
Armed with the Dork Theory, we are able to penetrate the veiled future far earlier and more adroitly than Nate Silver ever could. Hillary is not unbeatable from our perspective; she is obviously not as chillax as Obama or even her husband. She's a woman who can be a bit overbearing and defensive at the same time, a high school principal of a personality. She's vulnerable. But who do the Republicans have to oppose her?
The leading contenders—the Toupee-Wearing Dork, The Dork from the Great White North, the Water-Sipping Dork and the Altar Boy Dork—all have dork in their DNA. Chris Christie is not a dork—that's why he represented the only real threat to Hillary before he was revealed as a Bully. Bullies are not dorks. They are in fact the final arbiters of who is a dork and who is not, but nobody elects a bully to anything. They are, by nature, self-appointed.
Who's left? Maybe somewhere there is a currently unknown Republican listening to Pandora on his tastefully appointed patio, barbecuing free-range chicken wings and making wry posts to Twitter while watching his wife smoke medical marijuana, who would make a cool candidate, but the GOP had better find him, quick. Otherwise cool will disappear from the Oval Office in 2017 and it may never return in our lifetimes.
My advice is to start missing Obama already.