Barack Obama may be a relatively successful president to some extent, with respect to the administration's ability to address the United States’ internal economic problems. He in fact managed to pull the U.S. economy out of the deep economic crisis of George W. Bush's second term, and succeeded in eliminating the heavy debt caused by his and other neocons' military escapades in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is no small matter. In comparison with other American presidents and their accomplishments, Obama and Congress managed a successful financial recovery from disastrous straits within a few years, recovered the strength of the American currency relative to other global markets, caused the economic growth rate to rise and even passed social security reform. He's done all of this and more, including securing re-election two years ago, thereby shattering Republican dreams of a return to the White House.
Nothing gets by Obama when it comes to internal politics, which may explain why he may be one of the most successful presidents of the past half-century. He's been unmatched when it comes to domestic issues, with the exception of former Democratic President Bill Clinton, who oversaw the country's economic rebound to unprecedented levels before George W. Bush sabotaged it. So there was no reason to defeat the Democratic Party in the recent Congressional election, but the Republican Party’s successfully obtaining the majority is a defeat for Barack Obama. Indeed, it will weigh heavily on him, as the Constitution will force him to obtain the support of Congress in many management decisions — support which usually entails concessions on the part of the president. However, it should be noted that throughout the past six years, the Obama administration did not tackle policy without the cooperation of Congress, even when his party held the majority.
According to Republicans, the Democrats’ defeat in the midterm election should be seen as a rejection of Obama's policies. But inseparable from the nature of the American political system is the general political mood of the country, particularly among citizens who are not partisan, characterized by shifting loyalties and voting behavior. They represent the balance of government and policy choices. Their mood is not contrary to the political system or prevailing culture, but represents an objective facet of them.
The U.S. Constitution guarantees a strong democracy and a separation of powers between Congress and the executive branch, and between the state and federal governments, in order to prevent a monopoly of power through a blend of parliamentary and presidential systems. It was born out of American society's need to check one party's power in the event the president or Congress made a mistake. Public opinion ensures a balance between the presidency and Congress, especially after states give the president a second term, wherein the president prepares to make many crucial policy decisions without the fear of losing an election. It was not a Democratic defeat, a referendum on the surprising successes of the Obama administration regarding domestic affairs, or a punishment for his mismanagement. It is a shift in the political mood and a search for balance, which is characteristic of the U.S. political system. Obama was lucky to win a second term, unlike George H. W. Bush, who sullied his reign with the bleeding of former-Soviet Afghanistan, the disintegration and collapse of the Soviet bloc, the destruction in Iraq by Desert Storm, the Madrid Conference, which settled the Arab-“Israeli” conflict and other factors which placed the United States solely against the rest of the world.
So the reason for the Democrats' defeat in the midterm election? It was the desire to challenge the ruling elite and reinstate the balance of power.
While Obama will leave the White House after two years, he will leave having become one of the prominent heads of state, who successfully managed domestic affairs and saved the economy from collapse. His reputation in foreign policy will look faulty and much more sullied than his domestic policy. But this failure par excellence is another issue.