One thing that Obama is totally aware of is the perception of him being aloof, ignorant of the intensity of the opposition, and not up to the job. He is constantly fighting through those notions with limited success. He knows that his poll numbers are in the toilet and his chances of getting anything through a Republican-controlled Congress are unlikely.
A president has to deal with constant crises many of which are unforeseen. In that regard President Obama is no different than any of our past chief executives. How history will ultimately judge him is another matter. David Maraniss did a fine job providing his background and rise to prominence in Barack Obama: The Story. Remnick essentially completes it in Going the Distance.