Start with a failing economy. Throw in a team of inexperienced politicians, people in fact who had spent their careers deliberately avoiding official politics. Add a population with the highest possible expectations. And, as a wild card, introduce an international community that was not offering very much in the way of financial assistance.
Normally when one refers to the "loyal opposition," it's the party out of power questioning specific policies and positions of the party in power. But right now, given some Republicans' encouragement to those threatening violence, and threats at state-levels to ignore the authority of the federal government on health care, it's lame to dignify them or their actions with the "loyal" adjective. At the end of the day, most Americans will be repulsed by these efforts, and thus of greater interest now is the "loyal opposition" to the administration that is developing within the Democratic Party itself.