When everyone returns in September, Mr Obama will also be forced to focus on keeping control of the Senate in Democratic hands (which will now be harder than ever) and picking up more seats in the House of Representatives. If he is unsuccessful with these political endeavours in the mid-terms, his legacy will then rest only upon the accomplishments of his first term in office.
Despite their last two presidential candidates running on a hard right platform and then losing, the majority of potential candidates for 2016 are those on the far right of the party. Meanwhile moderate candidates who could win, such as Jon Huntsman or Chris Christie, are slammed for being RINOs and too moderate.
The sequester was a legislative tool designed to scare the Congress into doing its job. It clearly seems to have failed to produce this result. If it goes into effect, the sequester means across the board cuts in every agency of federal government with no ability to control what is cut and what is not.
This is a growing problem for all centre-right parties throughout the democratic world. People like the benefits of a larger state but don't want to have to pay for it (leading to moments like the now legendary 'Keep Your Government Hands Off My Medicare' Tea Party placard). You don't need to be an economic genius to understand that if you spend more while making less, you're going to run into debt problems eventually. And it's a problem the Republicans better come up with better answers to in 2016 if they want the White House back.