Pursuing "universal health care" was bound to alienate Republicans and polarize politics. This was predictable and knowable in advance.
Anger over Obamacare fed tea party turnout in 2010's elections. Partisan gaps widened; compromise became harder.
Perhaps all this would have happened anyway, but Obama's political choices guaranteed it.
Even some economists highly supportive of Obama's policies concede that the health plan was poorly timed.
"It distracted us from the economy," says Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics.
The same mistake occurred for trade, labor and environmental policy. The president subordinated job creation to other goals, says economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, adviser to John McCain in 2008.
"When economic growth is so important," he argues, "you have to be ruthless in focusing on it. You have to err on the side of growth, and they haven't done that."
A similar critique applies to Obama's recurring anti-business rhetoric. Though politically expedient, it cannot have helped job creation.
To be fair, the weak recovery has other, larger causes: the hangover from the financial crisis and Great Recession.
The burst real-estate bubble destroyed $6 trillion of housing values. Rebuilding their wealth, many Americans are repaying debt and saving more.
This depresses consumer spending - the economy's main engine - which is growing about 2 percent annually, down from 3 percent before the crisis, notes Behravesh.
Likewise, the failure of housing construction to revive has hurt this recovery compared to most others, argue economists Michael Bordo and Joseph Haubrich in a new paper.
But Obama's missteps have made the situation worse.
How much? The honest answer: We don't know. Economists' efforts to measure the impact of "policy uncertainty" are primitive.
My guess is that Obama's errors had a modest effect. Suppose they cost 25,000 jobs a month. Beginning in 2010, job growth has averaged about 125,000 a month. The extra 25,000 conceivably might have strengthened confidence and accelerated the recovery.
As it is, Obama faces a tight re-election race. His performance will be judged against Mitt Romney's promises.
He will soon know whether the American people give him a flunking grade.