I feel like Obama might have inadvertently destroyed the Republican party.
Continue below to see how, and why it's a bad thing. (Spoiler: he didn't mean to do it, and it's definitely not his fault.)
He did this by being black, being a democrat, and having a Muslim sounding middle name... and then embracing most of the conservative's best ideas. (Yes, there used to be a few of those). Once Barack Hussein Obama was for any idea, that idea became, by definition, socialist/left wing/communist/liberal/unacceptable for Republicans. It didn't matter if the idea in question originated with a conservative, or is quite obviously based on traditionally conservative principles; if Obama liked it, it became socialist retroactively. (For example: Cap-and-trade is a method of using market forces to guide corporate behavior, instead of regulating or banning that corporate behavior directly. That is a "good conservative idea". And indeed, most conservatives [McCain and even Palin] at one time advocated for it. But once Obama was on board... OMG!!11!SOCIALISM!1!!OMG!!)
The long term side effect of this is that the Republican party started to have a critical dearth of good ideas. If they proposed a good idea, all Obama would have to do is like it... and poof! it became instant socialism. It happened with health care, too. Poor Mitt Romney... he planned, quite reasonably, to find a way to "solve" the health care problems in Massachusetts using conservative principles, and then ride that conservative accomplishment to the White House, laughing the whole way at all the liberals who (he thought) would be insisting on silly liberal solutions like Single Payer. Who could have guessed that a black democrat with a name like Barack Hussein Obama would actually skip right over all actual liberal solutions (like single payer or Medicare for All), and push through a conservative solution just like Mitt's? Of course, once Obama did that, the solution in question could no longer be called conservative, by definition. It had to now be socialism (despite being a transparent give away to private industry).
Thus, the Republican party had to position itself way to the right of anything Obama said he liked. So, all Obama had to do was like their best ideas... and suddenly, Republicans didn't have any good ideas anymore.
A party with no good ideas is eventually doomed. And so... that's how Obama doomed the Republican party, without ever meaning to.
Andrew Sullivan is not kidding when he describes Obama as a "moderate Republican". He pretty much is one- or at least, he's what a "moderate Republican" should be.
The real shame of this is that, in the "marketplace of ideas" (or at least, ideas that have the slightest chance of being considered for real implementation), it's a contest between "the very best conservative ideas" versus "conservative whack-a-doo crazy nonsense argh blargh arglbloo". Democrats argue for the very best of the conservative ideas, and Republicans argue for the fevered ramblings of a conservative syphilitic brain.
Fortunately, the American people voted for the best conservative ideas (some of which are actually pretty good- I'm a liberal, but I recognize that some conservative principles can work if applied judiciously), and said "no" to the fevered mess.
Unfortunately, the very best liberal ideas don't really get a voice.
Wouldn't it be better if the Democrats were arguing for single payer health care, an aggressive plan to ban carbon pollution, a 91% top marginal tax rate (like we had under Eisenhower), a useful and well-thought out safety net, drug legalization and regulation... and the Republicans were advocating for Romneycare, keeping carbon pollution legal but managing it with cap-and-trade, only a 70% top marginal tax rate (like we had under Nixon), a safety net at least as good as what we actually have, and only legalizing marijuana?
In such a world, even if liberals lose, some good things will still probably happen. These days, if we lose, it puts our whole society at risk (and that's only barely hyperbole).
Here's Rachel Maddow making a similar point (towards the end of the video, but the whole thing is great). You go, Rachel.