Considering the mood in late 2008, and contrasting that that to now, is eye opening. Even some of Obamas most enthusiastic supporters cannot deny that there is some disappointment being felt within his own political base.
It is a valid point that nobody could have lived up to the naive and unrealistic expectations heaped upon his head, especially when he had been dealt such a poor hand.
But, rather than trying to temper expectations with a message of "well, that's flattering but we'll do the best we can given these headwinds", instead, the Obama camp played off this sentiment and milked it for all it was worth. He revelled in his presentation as a healer. He preached a future where Americans would work together, reaching across party divides. Remember the Hope and change posters? In some circles, it stopped just shy of implying he could walk on water.
The dawn of a new era that was promised has been only a continuation of politics as usual. In fact, you could argue the bitterness and distrust have in fact grown worse over the last few years.
Washington is more broken than ever before. Of course, that is not entirely his fault. But it is certainly not his triumph either, given the expectation his team so cleverly cultivated.
Previous presidents (both Red and Blue) have also had to deal with Congressional majorities of the opposing party positioned "against" them with the same tools of filibuster; and yet they managed to make more progress. The level of gridlock seen now is unprecedented. The degree to which he has been politically clumsy is surprising given how he was presented to the voters.
Navigating those tricky waters is just an important skill for the POTUS to possess as being a charismatic, intelligent orator.
IMHO, you need both skills to succeed as president. Having said that, nobody will be surprised to learn I dont think we've had a "successful" president for quite a few terms now. 300+ million people to draw from, and the last few examples are truly the best we can muster to run the place?