As they hold their annual meeting here in Las Vegas, Republican governors are quick to point out that they now preside in 30 states, with a population of about 180 million people. …

…[T]he real story to emerge from the conference is the coming conflict between the GOP governors and the Obama administration. It could be one of the major stories of the president’s second term.

Obamacare directs states to establish exchanges through which uninsured people can purchase coverage. … So far, most of the Republican governors seem inclined to say no.

They have several reasons. One, they believe the exchanges will cost their states a lot of money. Two, they believe the federal government will exercise ultimate control, meaning there will be little benefit for a state to do the heavy lifting to get the exchanges started. And three, some suspect the exchanges will be a disorganized and troubled enterprise, and when the implementation of Obamacare comes under criticism, the blame will lie with the administration, and not the states. …

Other fights will come over energy policy. With new drilling techniques bringing huge new supplies of recoverable oil and gas, the governors are likely to be at war with Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency.