Obama's legislative difficulties are largely of his own making. For example, it's easy to criticize the Republicans as the Party of No, but because of this administration's negotiating strategy of preemptive capitulation, the GOP has absolutely no incentive to say yes to anything. Why should they, when every NO results in more concessions from the White House? Similarly, we hear a lot about how difficult it is to muster a majority in the Senate on any issue. However, this problem is largely attributable to the White House's bizarre policy of empowering and supporting Blue Dogs (e.g., Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln) who consistently oppose and undermine the Democratic agenda. Add to this Obama's attitude of aggressive passivity and disengagement from the legislative process, his preference for secret back-room deals, his near-neurotic obsession with bipartisanship (reaffirmed in a recent interview), his refusal to engage in anything resembling confrontation, and his tendency to begin all negotiations by loudly proclaiming his willingness to accept half a loaf, and one is amazed that the White House has been able to achieve anything at all.
Wow, John C. Calhoun lives! The Confederacy is alive and well and living in the minds of historians who don't know much about history. The reason the Nullification Doctrine is associated with racism is that it IS racist, i.e., it has traditionally been used to legitimize State-sponsored racism. In the 1780s, adoption of the Constitution was opposed by the anti-federalists because they believed -- correctly --that the Supremacy Clause in Article VI would give the Federal government the power to enact statutes abolishing slavery. Later, the doctrine was revived by John C. Calhoun as a justification for opposing the growing anti-slavery sentiment in Congress. Eventually, the Southern States used this as a justification for secession. And a century later, this same argument was adopted by Southern governors such as George Wallace and Orville Faubus to defend their opposition to Federal efforts to end segregation. In short, since the beginning of the American Republic, every time the nullification argument has been raised, it has been used to justify legalized, institutionalized, State-sanctioned discrimination. And every time this argument has been raised, it has lost. Earth to teabaggers, get over it -- the laws of the federal government are, and will continue to be "the supreme law of the land."