Have there been any positives from Obama’s first term? Yes, but there have not been too many. The most important contribution from Obama was a political shift in state power from predominately liberal to conservative. After the 2008 election the Democrats controlled 30 governorships and 28 state legislators. The Republicans controlled only 20 governorships and only 14 state legislators. In 2008, eight state legislators were split. After the 2012 election (and remember this was a good election for Democrats who picked up seats both nationally and at the state level), Republicans controlled 30 governorships and 28 state legislators. Democrats controlled only 20 governorships (including independents that side with the Democratic ideology) and only 19 state legislators. Three state legislators were split after the 2012 election. In fact, Republicans currently fully control the governorship and state legislators in 25 states (including big Obama states Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Oho). The Democrats only fully control 14 states. This is a massive switch in power at the state level. Even at the national level the Republicans gained 5 Senate seats and 57 House seats over the past 4 years. Remember, Democrats had super majorities in both houses of congress after the 2008 elections. This political landscape reversal was a referendum on Obama style politics. And, in my opinion, it is better to control local and state legislators than national legislators. Even though the federal government is infringing on state rights, local and state legislators still have more pull on the local level.
This shift in state and national power has been huge. At the national level the House can block any Obama and liberal legislation they introduce. Even though the Democrats control the Senate, they no longer have the 60 vote super majority to avoid filibuster tactics from Republicans, which is also handy to block the Obama liberal agenda. At the state level, we see states fighting back against Obama policies passed during his first two years when Democrats had super majorities. States have passed voter ID laws, immigration laws, filed suit against ObamaCare, and right to work laws. In fact, state and federal lawsuits against each other have been the norm under Obama and new Republican leadership in the states. Some of the cases made it to the Supreme Court including the Arizona immigration law and ObamaCare. In both the Arizona and ObamaCare cases, it was a split decision. In the Arizona case, the court unanimously upheld the provision requiring state law enforcement officials to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest if they have reason to suspect that the individual might be in the country illegally. In the ObamaCare ruling the Supreme Court said ObamaCare was constitutional, but gave states the right to choose if they want to setup health insurance exchanges and expand Medicaid payrolls.
The biggest gain for states has been the return back to balanced budgets in most cashed strapped states after the recession. And in doing so, the governors of the states of New Jersey, Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, and now Michigan have not only been taking on the powerful unions, but they have been winning. By doing so, the states can begin to reign in billions of dollars in unfunded pension and benefit liabilities created by union and liberal leaders over the past several decades. And in many cases, the states will no longer use tenure to protect underperforming teachers or other union workers. Workers in these states will now have the freedom to choose whether they want to be affiliated with a union and pay dues or not. This is a win for workers who previously did not have a choice in the matter. Many state voter ID laws are also being challenged by the DOJ. It will be interesting to see how this turns out. Obviously the laws enacted prior to the 2012 election did nothing to suppress the minority vote one bit (minorities turned out in record numbers). The court unanimously sustained the best-known part of the law, which requires state law enforcement officials to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest if there is reason to suspect that the individual might be an illegal immigrant. The court unanimously sustained the best-known part of the law, which requires state law enforcement officials to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest if there is reason to suspect that the individual might be an illegal immigrant. The court unanimously sustained the best-known part of the law, which requires state law enforcement officials to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest if there is reason to suspect that the individual might be an illegal immigrant.
Yes, Obama and the liberals have won the presidency, but there has been a huge political shift at both the state and national levels towards Republicans. Republicans have never enjoyed the level of state success they have achieved over the past four years. And it is equally rare when the Republicans control the House of Representatives. Hopefully this trend continues in 2014 and beyond.