3. The Bush tax cuts will be a major issue going forward. Nothing fires up the left wing of the Democratic Party like the Bush tax cuts. When President Obama agreed to temporarily extend them for two years in December 2010, the Democratic Party's base howled in anger. Congressional Democrats appear single-mindedly focused on killing the Bush tax cuts once and for all. Ending them would result in the largest tax increase in American history, over $1 trillion, and that was the price for a deal in the Super Committee. Republicans were not willing to pay it. Expect to hear about this issue often on the campaign trail.
4. America is still facing record deficits and record debt. President Obama promised to halve the deficit by the end of his first term. He didn't. In fact, the three largest deficits in American history (each over $1 trillion) are on President Obama's watch. Without congressional action to reduce spending, which neither President Obama nor congressional Democrats want or would allow, the record deficits will continue.
Our national debt just crossed $15 trillion, or 100 percent of our gross domestic product.
European nations like Greece and Italy were facing similar debt loads only a few years ago. Discussions of necessary austerity measures domestically will soon begin.
5. Fundamental differences between the two political parties will become more important. There are fundamental policy differences between the Republican and Democratic parties and the 2012 election will offer the public an opportunity to choose which vision of the future they prefer.
American is facing major obstacles over the next decade and critical action is required.
Republicans will propose cutting spending to 2008 levels, reducing and rolling back Obama-era regulation, lowering taxes and reforming the tax system and returning to a more limited government.
Democrats will propose bigger government, no reform of entitlements, tax increases and more regulation.
The reality is that President Obama has talked a good game about deficit reduction, but his actions have demonstrated a clear disregard for fiscal responsibility as he's only brought record deficits and our rising $15 trillion debt.
Whether Americans choose to hold him accountable for the decisions he's made as president remains to be seen. But the playing field upon which the 2012 election will be fought is evident. The only thing left to determine is President Obama's opponent.