Actually, unlike in 2008, now he does know how bad it is. In the 6 months between August 08 and January 09, unemployment rose by 1.5%, with several promils per month. I guess some people have forgotten, but no one was sure just how bad things were four years ago.
Sure, they have not turned all sunshine and roses the last four years. Apparently Obama is not a magician. Fancy that.
As for cooperation, that never hurts, but it does take two to tango. If the GOP wants Obama to compromise, they have to compromise too.