"It's all personality based and the fact that they view his ascendancy to the POTUS as something to be proud of."
This is something I've thought about quite a bit. From the start I thought the right's attacks on Obama as a person/alien/other were all wrong. It should have always been about the larger Progressive Democrat ideology that should have been attacked. Not a personalized thing. I could not care less what he or Michelle Obama do--they should be made irrelevent due to their flat-earth economic and political ideology.
It is late now and I can't remember exactly how it goes, but I seem to remember a strategy in England after WWII, when Churchill's challenger Clement Atlee adopted the slogan 'Cheer Winston:Vote Labour', he won the election, against all expectation. In other words, the Labour party acknowledged Churchill's popularity and people's strong emotion toward him, and let them still feel that way even while voting against him.
This was better explained by Robin Koerner last year:
Anyway, this should always have been the strategy IMO