A couple of quick flashbacks to remind you that, no matter what you might think, winning big is not a mandate, no matter what you may hear.
So how should Democrats interpret last night's victories? Not as the broad mandate for liberalism that many of them would hope it to be.
A mandate is what you get when you're elected with the smallest popular vote margin in a century.
Andy Serwer, CNN: "Interesting time for the president, obviously, he [Bush] seems to have a mandate from the people to go ahead and do what he wants to, his bidding."
David Sanger, New York Times White House correspondent: "Mr. Bush no longer has to pretend that he possesses a clear electoral mandate. Because for the first time in his presidency, he can argue that he has the real thing."
If you're waking up this morning feeling more than a little depressed, it might help to remember just where we were when Bush eked out that "mandate."
Paula Zahn, CNN host: "A president with a mandate, a 10-seat majority in the Senate, at least 25 seats in the House. So everything should be smooth sailing for Republicans, right?"
And what was on the agenda?
Ceci Connolly, Washington Post staff writer: "Interestingly, what you heard President Bush focus on was tax reform, Social Security changes, partial privatization. And continuing what he calls the war on terrorism."
They had the House. They had the Senate. They had the press. They had a plan to destroy every social safety net and grind away the last vestiges of programs it had taken decades to build.
First we stopped them. Then we beat them. It's too bad that we have to do it again, but hell, that's democracy. You get up in the morning, you put on your shoes, and you go back to work.
If I were one of the big corporate donors who bankrolled the Republican tide that carried into office more than 50 new Republicans in the House, I would be wary of what you just bought.
For no matter your view of President Obama, he effectively saved capitalism. And for that, he paid a terrible political price.
Suppose you had $100,000 to invest on the day Barack Obama was inaugurated. ... As of election day, Nov. 2, 2010, your $100,000 was worth about $177,000...
It is clear that Democrats over-interpreted our mandate. Talk of a “political realignment” and a “new progressive era” proved wishful thinking. Exit polls in 2008 showed that 22 percent of voters identified themselves as liberals, 32 percent as conservatives and 44 percent as moderates. An electorate that is 76 percent moderate to conservative was not crying out for a move to the left.
What's most impressive about Evan Bayh? That he can get paid for misrepresenting numbers that have already been misrepresented over, and over, and over. You can pretty much guess where this is going, because there's not one new word or idea in it.
The bruising election results that left the House in Republican hands and the Senate much more red also killed much of Obama's agenda. The incoming conservative chairmen of House committees will have no love for enacting measures that the president had hoped to pass -- such as an expansion of health care to include those left uncovered by this year’s landmark legislation. Indeed, Obama is likely to face an all-out assault to repeal his health-care bill -- although it's one his veto pen can probably nix.
We'll see about that.
Congress lost one of its foremost experts on telecommunications with Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., falling to GOP challenger Morgan Griffith. ... Boucher has been the man behind a host of telecommunications and technology legislation. From writing provisions of the 1996 Telecommunications Act to working tirelessly to advance legislation that would reform a $9 billion fund that subsidizes low-income and rural communications, Boucher has been a cornerstone of telecom policy for nearly three decades.
Whoever ends up sitting in that chair now, you can bet that "net neutrality" is something he'll say with a snarl -- and he'll have no idea what it means, or why it's important (except for the funds that opposing it brings).
NY Times Editorial
The question is: Will either side draw the right lessons from this midterm election?
Mr. Obama, and his party, have to do a far better job of explaining their vision and their policies. Mr. Obama needs to break his habits of neglecting his base voters and of sitting on the sidelines and allowing others to shape the debate. He needs to do a much better job of stiffening the spines of his own party’s leaders.
Editors of Nature
In the current poisoned political atmosphere, the defenders of science have few easy remedies. Reassuringly, polls continue to show that the overwhelming majority of the US public sees science as a force for good, and the anti-science rumblings may be ephemeral.
Yes, that one's over a month old. Read it anyway. Polls may show that Americans consider science a force for good, but they've elected people that believe science is "a scam." Now what?