Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in his first speech in the 111th Congress back in 2009, laid out the Senate Republican strategy at least if not the Congressional Republican strategy as a whole, both House and Senate when Minority Leader McConnell who may be leaving Congress if he’s not reelected in 2014, because he’s going to have a very strong Democratic challenger, but he said his number one goal was to prevent President Obama from being reelected.
The Senate minority party obviously has the power to slow and block legislation. Especially if they are a large minority that Republicans have had in the last three years. The House is a little different obviously, but what the House Minority Leader can do is tell his or her caucus, “you are not to work with the majority party on anything”. And get that memo out to their caucus. “Because we want to use everything they pass and try to pass”, that is the House majority party in this Congress, “against them whether the legislation becomes law or not.” Which is what John Boehner who in President Obama’s first Congress did as the House Minority Leader.
The President of the United States is the most powerful person in the world. Yet that person whoever they are, are limited to what they can do both constitutionally and legally. But politically as well and when you have an opposition party that is strong enough to at least slow you down in Congress and they tell you, “we aren’t going to work with you on anything. And just want to win more seats in Congress and are waiting for you to leave office one way or the other”, it makes the President’s job very difficult to get much done through law.