Byron York

It's not clear precisely what the governors will do, but a large number of them, while conceding that Obamacare is now the law, seem uninclined to help it get going.

Other fights will come over energy policy. With new drilling techniques bringing huge supplies of recoverable oil and gas, the governors are likely to be at war with Obama's Environmental Protection Agency.

And then there is the federal budget. The governors don't control it, but they have balanced their own budgets, and many say they are ready to accept cuts in federal funds for their states. They'll be pushing the diminished Republican forces in Congress to keep cutting.

Finally, the governors want a greater role in the 2016 presidential process. While they speak well of Romney, his unforced errors in the campaign hung over the Las Vegas conference. Governor after governor bemoaned the damage done by the infamous "47 percent" video, and reaction was visceral when word came that Romney had attributed Obama's victory, in part, to the "gifts" the president handed out to key constituencies like blacks, Hispanics and young voters.

"It's like fingernails on the chalkboard," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, the new head of the governors' group, said when asked his first reaction to Romney's words. "If we want to continue to lose elections, if we want to become a minority party, if we want to become less relevant to this national debate, we should just continue saying things like that."

The Republican governors believe now is their time. Amid GOP losses, with no clear head of the party, they believe their success at the polls gives them the clout to lead.

Byron York

Byron York, chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner