Last year, when a Republican candidate should have waltzed to victory, Mitt Romney got his teeth knocked in by a man who could fairly be called the single least competent American President in history. This beating had very real consequences.
1) Barack Obama feels empowered: Liberals are always vulgar in defeat and hubristic in victory, but Barack Obama has become so toweringly arrogant that it wouldn't be a surprise if he were getting himself fitted for a crown. He's acting as if he expects to have anything and everything he wants handed to him on a silver platter and if anything gets in his way, he'll simply shred the Constitution, ignore the law, or issue an executive order and dare the Republican Party to do something about it.
2) The Republicans In Congress have lost their nerve: Republicans on the Hill have turned into a pack of cringing dogs since the election. They've lost the will to fight on spending cuts, they're seriously considering an amnesty for illegal aliens and Karl Rove and his establishment pals at American Crossroads are now planning to target conservatives in Republican primaries. There's not a single issue where you can trust the Republicans in Congress to hold the line because they've lost confidence in themselves, the people who elected them, and conservatism.
3) The conservative grassroots is demoralized: Conservatives haven't lost faith in their principles, but they've started to wonder if the country has passed a tipping point. Do we have too many takers and not enough makers? Is the Republican Party so hopelessly incompetent that it's time to give in? What's the point of fighting to help the country when the Republicans we have in office are just going to let us down yet again? Are we fiscally doomed no matter what we do?