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After the 2004 election, many said Bush had a 'mandate'. There were many metrics cited for this mandate. Including:

More total votes than any previous president (62.0 million)
A 3.6 million margin of victory
First to win by more than 50% (51.5) since 1988
Republicans added 4 in the Senate (to 55) and 3 in the House (to 232)

The Wall Street Journal opined at the time:

We trust that the President will not now let those same opponents interpret his mandate for him. The effort is already under way to diminish the victory by insisting that Mr. Bush "move to the center," which is code for giving up the agenda that voters just endorsed. The country remains "deeply divided," we are told, so Mr. Bush is obliged to make concessions to Nancy Pelosi and George Soros.

Yet it wasn't Mr. Bush but Senate Democrats whose obstructionism was repudiated on Tuesday. South Dakota voters rejected Tom Daschle expressly on the grounds that he had made the Senate a "dead zone," as we once put it, for the Bush agenda. Mr. Daschle responded by saying he could bring more pork back home, but by blocking so much legislation he undercut his own credibility as a politician who could deliver. The men who really defeated Tom Daschle were Ted Kennedy, Chuck Schumer and the Filibuster Democrats.

So how about the 2008 Election:

More total votes than any previous president (63.9 million)
A 7.5 million margin of victory
52.4% of the vote
Democrats added 5 (so far) in the Senate (to 54) and 18 in the House (to 254)

Of course if we use the Bush measure for a mandate, it certainly looks like Obama has a mandate.

And then there is this little gem from the David Frum via AEI:

From almost the very second that the state of Ohio was awarded to President Bush, he and his party have been solemnly warned that they must "reach out" to their Democratic opponents.

Much of this advice is beyond absurd. Elections are how democracies decide things. The 2004 vote was an unusually unambiguous one: as one contributor to the fiercely anti-Bush British newspaper, the Guardian, put it, "If this doesn't add up to a mandate, it's hard to know what the word means." In Latin, mandatum refers to an order or assignment given by a superior officer to a junior. The same really is true of our English "mandate." The mandate is not a grant of power to the president; it is a commission of trust from the people. President Bush has not merely the right to pursue conservative domestic economic and social policies; he has the duty to do so.

So it seems pretty clear Obama has a mandate. But a mandate for what?

Republican's claimed that Bush's re-election was a ringing endorsement for a conservative agenda. Of course, we argued that was simply not the case. Even Kos reminded everyone at the time that 56 million people voted AGAINST Bush. Yesterday, 56 million voted for McCain, which I guess means they voted against Obama?

And yet here we are, today, proclaiming that the vast majority of Americans have endorsed a progressive/liberal agenda?

I am not convinced. And look at what happened to the Bush/Republican mandate and the beginning of the permanent Republican majority.

If we really want a different outcome than what the Republicans experienced in 2006 and 2008, if we want at least a semi-enduring Democratic majority, there is much work to do. Talking about a mandate will not get us there.

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead....

Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people....

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.

The mandate as I see it, is simply for change. Sure, a change in direction. Not so much a turn to the right or the left, but a change in focus: putting the People first, not the Party; moving the country forward, not simply advancing a political agenda.

Originally posted to tln41 on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 09:21 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  to a degree, (0+ / 0-)

    but not cuz he got over 50% of the vote. Time and time again, people blab how Clinton didn't do so, but that was cuz exit polls showed pro-choice pro-gay anti-NAFTA Perot took equally. If a viable funded 3rd party like Ross had been in this election in summer time, he woulda picked up a lot of steam, cuz his message woulda resonated really well this year, and either kept Obama plurality or cost him. But enough about that, a mandate can be shown in a few ways. The fact he did have a decent margin of victory 5.9% more voters went for him than McCain, his party made large gains, not the mini gains Bush made with Congress in 2004, and the fact that he's a change of party gives him a mandate. But he should not overreach. Look what happened to Newt Gingrich and the Republicans. There is sort of a mandate here, the Americans clearly said they are not happy with the status quo. With Bush, it was more like "we don't like Kerry as much." Obama's got somewhat of a mandate, but the thing is that his pop margin was the result of huge regional margins in the blue states. He needs to reach out to the red states and the states he barely won like FL, OH, VA, IN, and NC. He also needs to reach to the deep south more and the plains and upper rockies, where he suffered. When a President can only govern one region of a country, he fails, hence George W. Bush

    Keep that faith, keep your courage, stick together, stay strong, do not yield! Stand up, WE'RE DEMOCRATS AND WE'LL NEVER SURRENDER!

    by deaniac20 on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 09:29:50 PM PST

  •  Yes, Let's do whatever the Republicans ask (0+ / 0-)

    us to do!  It's the only way. Ha.

    just another liberal, anti-American, cutnrun combat veteran

    by Uncle Irish on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 09:30:35 PM PST

  •  You're exactly right - look at this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trashablanca, ggwoman55

    From this rather insightful article:

    Republicans agree they're in bad shape after Democrat Barack Obama's decisive win over Republican John McCain. But they are sharply divided when it comes to the path ahead.

    Well that we know. They are squabbling and breaking off into factions. The Palin bunch aren't aligned with the Beltway gang. In fact, you could make the case that Washington, DC rejected the Palin hillbillies because they were trailer trash and that they themselves engineered the McCain loss because Obama was more patrician in bearing and background.

    One group says the party needs to recommit to its first principles: less regulation, smaller government and lower taxes.

    Exactly the policies that led us to where we are now. So these guys are losers.

    Or, as House GOP leader John Boehner told colleagues Wednesday, "America remains a center-right country. Democrats should not make the mistake of viewing Tuesday's results as a repudiation of conservatism."

    Ha ha ha. No that's exactly how we are viewing Tuesday's results. You fucking people fucking suck and we all get that now. You are empty of ideas and only do "messaging." It's so 2003.

    Another group is pressing the GOP to develop new ideas and more relevance. "We need to think about how to apply our principles to the problems of the contemporary middle class," said Yuval Levin, a former domestic policy aide to President Bush.

    Well yeah. And the guy who figured out how to do exactly that drank your milkshake. If the republicans can articulate a vision of government that benefits the middle class they'll have a winning ticket. Bonus points go to anybody who can spot the problem here.

    Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

    by The Raven on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 09:36:10 PM PST

    •  'principles'? What 'principles'? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Raven

      Making up shit, and then invading countries based upon the lies isn't 'principles'. It's a war crime.

      And as for the problems of the middle class? They don't like getting f***ed up the ass without any lube, in order to bail out Bush's rich pals .. thank you very much.

      They are truly a delusional bunch of losers.

      2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

      by shpilk on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 09:53:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Change in direction, yes (0+ / 0-)

    A ringing endorsement for everything Progressive, no.

    •  I'm perplexed by your agenda (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FarWestGirl

      in writing this diary.  What specifically do you suggest O'bama focus on to press your "change" that is not progressive?  

      just another liberal, anti-American, cutnrun combat veteran

      by Uncle Irish on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 11:24:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agenda = simple reminder (0+ / 0-)

        of what was said in 2004 and the end result.

        I am not suggesting Obama not lead from a progressive agenda. It is simply my belief that the People selected a change agenda more than they signed-on for a progressive agenda. There is no mandate for everything progressive. If we make that assumption, we may be repeating history, not making it.

        The People want the country to move forward. If the choice is between compromise or gridlock, the People will choose compromise on most issues.

        By working hard to move the country forward, Democrats can have an enduring majority.

        Mandate, as implemented by Bush, was a 'my way or the highway' approach to governing. I don't think that works.

        Looking at the voting results here in Lancaster, PA - deep red territory - went Republican 2:1 in 2000 and 2004. In some strong Republican areas this year, it was 55/44 and 52/47. The people that voted in these areas are not Democrats and they did not vote for any 'liberal' agenda. They voted either for change or to punish the GOP for screwing up so badly. Some Republicans in these areas simply did not show up to vote.

        It would be very wrong to assume that these votes will be there in 2012.

  •  Mandate? (0+ / 0-)

    Yes.

    "We're all working for the Pharaoh" - Richard Thompson

    by mayan on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 09:48:07 PM PST

  •  Conan O'Brien did a great job (0+ / 0-)

    making fun of Bush when he said that .. and John Kerry probably not only actually won the election in 2004 with EVs from OH, I wouldn't doubt he possibly also won the popular vote, too.

    2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

    by shpilk on Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 09:50:46 PM PST

  •  Obama Has A Mandate! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FarWestGirl

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