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Wag the Blog: An Obama Mandate?



Did President-elect Barack Obama earn a mandate on Nov. 4? (AP Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

At an otherwise news-less press conference yesterday, President-elect Barack Obama was asked about the nature of his victory earlier this month.

He responded:

"We had a decisive win because of the extraordinary desire for change on the part of the American people. I don't think there is any question that we have a mandate to move the country in a new direction."

That got us to thinking about mandates in the context of political campaigns and whether Obama's win truly qualifies.

By historical standards, Obama's win fits relatively nicely into the mandate category.

He took 365 electoral votes and 52.6 percent of the popular vote, totals that compare very favorably to George W. Bush's electoral and popular vote counts (286, 50.67 percent in 2004; 271, 47.88 percent in 2000) as well as those of former President Bill Clinton who took 379 electoral votes in his 1996 win over former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole (R) and 370 in beating then President George H.W. Bush in 1992.

(Obama's win does not constitute a landslide by modern historical definitions, however, as his vote totals don't come close to the 525 electoral votes and nearly 59 percent of the popular vote then President Ronald Reagan took in his win over former Vice President Walter Mondale of Minnesota.)

And, Obama also assured the sort of downballot majorities -- a gain of 24 seats in the House and seven seats (and counting) in the Senate -- that typically accompany so-called presidential mandates.

Of course, a mandate is only what you do with it. Remember that Bush declared a mandate of sorts following his 2004 reelection and set out to expend some of his famed "political capital" on reforming the Social Security system. That effort collapsed before it ever began and contributed to Bush's dramatic political fall over the ensuing four years.

And, Clinton sought to use his mandate following the 1992 election to pass a big initiative -- universal healthcare -- that, once rejected, led to the loss of Democratic majorities in the House and Senate in 1994.

For today's Wag the Blog question, we want to hear your take on whether Obama's win is rightly described a mandate. If not, why not?

As always, the most thoughtful/insightful comments will get a post of their own later this week.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 26, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Wag The Blog  
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Comments

Holy Moley, 37thandOStreetRules! Do they pay you by the word, or keystroke?

Posted by: earlyburd | December 3, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Obama absolutely has a mandate...he has filled the majority of people in this country and even the world with a renewed spirit of optimism and faith in America. I STILL get emotional when I see him speak...I am just so proud that we the people had the good sense to choose him.

Posted by: hardworkingwoman | December 1, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I do believe President-Elect Obama has a mandate. Anyone with eyes can tell he does. Let's look at the ways in which this mandate is expressing itself:

1) Looking at the electoral map, it's clear to see that something has truly changed because of Obama. In my lifetime (30yrs) the states of Indiana and North Carolina, in tandem with the Commomwealth of Virginia, left their snug spots on the GOP side of the column and voted Democratic for the first time in 44 years. This had, to varying degrees with the fact that Obama is African American (North Carolina & to a lesser extent, Virginia) and more to do with the fact that the middle and upper income voters in these states swung in the Democrats favor. In Indiana, Obama won a state that last time when to the GOP by 23 points! the negligible number of Afro-Americans and the working class nature of the state, proved that Obama's coalition cut across all economic backgrounds.

2) Again, taking glance at a competitors website of the election results also showed the sheer breath of Obama's victory.

http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/results/president/map.html

In the states that the Dems lost to the GOP in 2004 by large margins (20+ points), such as Montana, North Dakota, Georgia, and South Carolina, Obama was able to whittle those margins down to two, seven, nine, five and nine. That is a remarkable shift in the electorate. Even looking at states which Obama lost by 10+ points (Texas, most notably), it was a SIGNIFICANT improvement over the 2004 disaster. Finally, even the states where Obama lost by more than twenty points (Wyoming and Idaho), it was still an improvement over past Democrat performane.

In fact, Obama only performed worse in three states confined to the Deep South (Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee).

All of this is a long way to say the following: the entire country absent the three states mentioned above seems to have voted for "change we can believe in". THat is enough of mandate that any person can take to Washinton, DC for at least the next four years!

Posted by: omar_densel | November 30, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

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The Clinton administration was anything but the best and brightest -


These are the people who started off claiming they were "policy wonks."

Soon it became apparent they were unable to produce any workable proposals for health care legislation - they produced a deficit-laden plan that had zero chance of passage.

Then they proved even more inept by failing to get support for their own plan.

Incredibly it was all downhill from there: the stage was set for

losing control of Congress,
the budget crisis,
the Monica affair,
the trade deals,
the Chinese money,
the Indonesian money,
the lying in a deposition,
the disbarment of a sitting President.

Do I have to go on?

The Clinton administration was the worst in the 20th century - so much promise and absolutely nothing delivered.


All the while squandering the opportunities which came at the end of the Cold War -

You people can not be serious.

History will lay responsiblity for current economic crisis squarely on the democrats in the 1990s - the money that that DNC and the Clintons took from Wall Street in order to deregulate and repeal the Glass-Steagall Act

OH Hillary did get herself elected to the Senate - coincidence that she was courting Wall Street for her run at the same period of deregulation of Wall Street ???

As history will lay the failure of US Foreign Polic in the Middle East to confront al queda in the 1990s squarely on the Clinton Administration - leading to al queda's increasing boldness until the terrorist attacks in New York.

DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT RE-INSTALLING THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION IS A GOOD IDEA???

ONLY IF THE INTERNS COME TOO.

What this nation needs most is HONESTY - we have way too many partisans spinning their own versions of history so many ways that perhaps even they have deluded themselves.

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Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | November 29, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

One thing to keep in mind is that this election was a rejection of Bush, but it was also an embrace of Obama. This is a guy that people really started to like. Of course there were questions, but those issues got settled through the debates and through campaigning. People saw someone who was empathetic and intelligent. Pundits didn't seem to think Obama was empathetic enough, but people did. People don't just want divergence from Bush, but they want to see what this guy has to offer. It will be up to congressmen and senators to decide what their constituents want, but overall, people want to see Obama's agenda carried out. They will then determine if their lot has improved in four years. That is the mandate brought by the people. A lot of the grassroots people like Kos and MoveOn are getting out there to not push a candidate anymore, but to now push agendas. I think the success of these groups may signal the true extent of Obama's mandate.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 29, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Mandate, Schmandate! He doesn't need it, and I say that as a red (or should I say blue?) hot liberal. We are all going to be delightfully surprised with the Obama Presidency. Finally; an end to "supply side", "trickle down," "Reagonomics" or whatever else you want to call this nigntmare we've been living since Richard Nixon. America's stature in the world will arise once more and all Americans (liberals included) will again be able to walk with our heads held high as the true and patriotic Americans that we are. I say all of this after reading AUDACITY OF HOPE. All of you liberals, like myself, should do this. Despite the media decrying his staff selections (back to the Cinton era, etc.) and his moves toward the political center; reading what the man truly believes will reassure you.

Posted by: nwsjnky1 | November 29, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I think the term, "mandate," really depends on what is happening at the time of election.

What was the issue the Bush reelection turned on? It was the Bush administartion's, "You may not like me but Kerry is much much worse."

It really was a campaign of personalities. Public opinion had turned against the war. That didn't change with the election. The ecomony was so-so -- no great push for reform there. What's more, in 2204, no great change in congressional numbers.

In 2008, we are in an economic crisis. The overriding election issue since mid September was an ecomonic crisis of historic proportions. Everybody was brushing off histories of the Great Depression to find somthing to compare the current crisis to. Bush certainly felt a manadate to do something dramatic with the ecomomy before the election, though his bailout is mis-directed, ineptly administered, and much too small.

The 2008 congressional elections saw a great strengthing of the Democrats' control of Congress, a swing that began when the Democrats took control in 2006. But their razor thin Senate majority of 2006, is now a substantial majority in 2008, at least 58, with two still up in the air.

It is clear on the context of these times that Obama, and the Democratic congress have a mandate to rescue the economy. And the public is willing to accept drastic measures to see that done. The voters in 2012 will decide if Obama fulfilled that mandate.

Posted by: AlaninMissoula | November 29, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Posted by "37": "I would like to see some people take personal responsibility for electing an inexperienced person with no foreign policy experience, no defense experience, no business experience and no economic experience."

No, you're wrong, 37. We didn't elect Phalin. (I assume you were referring to Phalin, weren't you?.) Remember Phalin was the one who was stumped by Katie Couric's head-scratching question, "What newspapers do you read?" And it was Phalin of whom Mac's (not O's) campaign said: she has no knowledge of any policy debate that has occurred in the last TEN years. And it was Phalin who boldly challenged the geographical reality that Africa IS a continent.

Or maybe it was Mac you were talking about: well, his relevant "experience" is recited in vivid -- and depressing -- detail in Tim Dickinson's memorable Rolling Stone profile of him. For economic guidance, Mac said he would select a vp who would advise him in that area. His choice? -- Phalin, with her 200,000 wardrobe budget.

"37," the country DID pick someone with the right experience and judgment, in a landslide, the man known to Mac as "that one" and known to Phalin as Samb-, er, let's not go there.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 29, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

test

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 29, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

"Russia, France, Venezuela and China are waiting for their chance too to push the limites -"

France? Cripes, you are deluded.

Posted by: SeanC1 | November 29, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

email blogs@washingtonpost.com to report 37+o. Include links from multiple blogs as well as times. This guy is sick to gloat about people dying in India.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 29, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

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Let's talk about the Clinton Administration and the "judgement" of re-installing them in the government:

From the Wall Street Journal today:


Under fire for his role in the near-collapse of Citigroup Inc., Robert Rubin said its problems were due to the buckling financial system, not its own mistakes, and that his role was peripheral to the bank's main operations even though he was one of its highest-paid officials.

"Nobody was prepared for this," Mr. Rubin said in an interview. He cited former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan as another example of someone whose reputation has been unfairly damaged by the crisis.

Robert Rubin, in Washington this month, faces criticism as Citi slides.
Mr. Rubin, senior counselor and a director at Citigroup, acknowledged that he was involved in a board decision to ramp up risk-taking in 2004 and 2005, even though he was warning publicly that investors were taking too much risk. He said if executives had executed the plan properly, the bank's losses would have been less.

Its troubles have put the former Treasury secretary in the awkward position of having to justify $115 million in pay since 1999, excluding stock options, while explaining Citigroup's $20 billion in losses over the past year and a government bailout of at least $45 billion.

Mr. Rubin's salary made him one of Wall Street's highest-paid officials -- and a controversial figure among Citigroup shareholders and some executives, who questioned whether his limited duties justified the big paydays.

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Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | November 29, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

broadwayjoe


Again you are wrong on all accounts


Irresponsibility may be fun to engage in, however it may extremely difficult to realize that one has been irresponsible when electing a public official.


What do you say about the voters in Alaska who would prefer a convicted person?


We have an inexperience person with no foreign policy experience and no defense experience - he is going to have to learn on the job - you did it.

On the economy we have a similar situation - no business experience - no economic experience except for buying cocaine -


I know you might find it difficult to realize some personal responsibility for your choices in life


However I suggest you realize what you did.


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Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | November 29, 2008 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Well Chris, I think Obama does have a mandate. He defined the growing divide among Americans first over the War in Iraq and then over developing issues that propelled his candidacy in real time. He brought focus and intelligent insights to issues and policies that Americans have defined within their own communities but have been ignored by Washington insiders for decades. He has challenged the status quo and the apathy of the electorate.
While his opponents from both parties fell back upon old methodologies and ideologies of the political superhighway, Obama took the dusty back roads to the hearts of concerned Americans. He recognizes that the country has been polarized between the free market elitists and the working Americans who bear the burden of economic excesses without any benefit or relief.
Yes our president elect has a mandate. It is to the people of America who put their faith in his sincerity and articulation of our dilemma. He has a mandate to move our nation to energy independence and insure a healthy environment simultaneously, he has a mandate to deal with foreign threats without jeopardizing our civil liberties, and he must rescue our economy without eliminating competitive markets or allowing laissez faire domination.
Mr. Obama has many mandates but the most pressing will be to help Americans realize a legitimate, "ownership society", not one of abstract financial speculation, but one where citizens have a strong voice in the direction of their country and a mandate allowing Americans a dignified lifestyle commensurate to their efforts; health care, retirement and housing within the grasp of those who provide services and goods through their hard work and commitment to family and country.
Mr. Obama can be more like mainstream America than any recent president and if so we are willing to work with him. His mandate and ultimate legacy is to make that a reality.

Posted by: foothillbill | November 28, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Posted by "37": "I know all you Obamaniacs are all happy right now."

Of your 138 postings this week, the one quoted above is the only posting that is coherent, relevant, and true.

Look, the entire world is happy for new leadership and a new direction. Your idiotic attempts to blame BHO for the tragedy in India is foolish and offensive. BHO is not president until Jan 20 so your theories about this or that group "testing" BHO are just plain silly. He is not in a position to do anything even if anything needs to be done (which it doesn't since this is a local tragedy as far as we know).

Again, "37," we get that you are a bigoted troll who hates O. We understand that. So why not just do one post per week, full of your very best bile and venom, and leave it at that. Doesn't Hannity or Hal Turner have blogs just waiting for your wisdom? Just a thought...

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 28, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

37thOStreetRules. I believe that Pontius Pilate was quite 'experienced' and a military man to boot. And look how HE screwed up. The reason Obama won and McCain lost (yes, that's democracy) is that McCain is a one-liner politician: fight, fight, fight and always think about danger. Obama has the sense to know that that's the kind of attitude that's dug the hole we are in already (the first rule when in a hole is to stop digging). He also thinks, silly fellow, that it's better to understand the other person's point of view BEFORE you blow his head off - and tries to be fair, without being soft How novel!! But a really good idea, in politics (and in marriage).

Posted by: Hugh2 | November 28, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Chris- Interesting & provocative question. Lots of lively responses.
Yes, Obama has by any reasonable definition received a strong mandate. He is moving decisively to correct the damage done by 8 years of the worst President in history; that's what the people asked for. Obama has the intelligence, temperament, & political skills to do a great job as POTUS. Thank goodness he does, since the problems we face are monumental. He received his mandate the hard way; he EARNED it- first coming out of nowhere to overcome an established heavy favorite for the Democratic nomination, then shattering precedent by becoming the first minority elected POTUS in history. He ran the most brilliant campaign in history, proving his mettle. Now he really has a chance to give this nation & the world the benefit of his skills. The younger voters whose knowledge of Presidents consists of W & Obama will be cemented as Democratic voters for decades.
It appears that the postings on this blog fall into 2 categories:
Most were thoughtful & relevant. But a sizable portion consisted of the lunatic rantings of 1 poster (37thOStreetRules) and people attempting to respond to them.
My professional advice to anyone who has ever or will ever even THINK of responding to that turkey: Don't do it! He literally doesn't deserve the dignity of a response, so save your time & energy for something more meaningful. The only way I'd ever communicate with that miserable excuse for a human being is when I get a call from the Emergency Room that they need a Psychiatric Consultation on a seriously disturbed individual & when I arrive in the ER the patient turns out to be Mr."37thOStreetRules."

Posted by: DoctorB | November 28, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

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The world is a dangerous place - I know all you Obamaniacs are all happy right now - however the Presidency is no place for an inexperience untested person who has no defense experience and no foreign policy experience.


You all should be ashamed of yourselves for being so irresponsible with your votes.

145 people are now dead. The Kashmiri Muslims decided that they wanted their issues front and center so they decided to test Obama before he got into office - other terrorist groups are lining up to test Obama next.


Al Queda can't wait to attack - just to see if Obama will "cut and run" from the region.

Russia, France, Venezuela and China are waiting for their chance too to push the limites - all set-up by the irresponsible latte liberals. HOW MANY MORE PEOPLE HAVE TO DIE BEFORE YOU REALIZE THAT AN EXPERIENCED TOUGH PERSON WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER ???


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Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | November 28, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

37thOStreetRules, the only score I look at is this: Obama - 365, McCain - 173

Game, set, match.

Posted by: SGall23241 | November 28, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

txgall


A hotel is a private entity however they can not discriminate based on race - how is that the law?


Because it is interstate commerce.


Interstate commerce provides that any public access be free of civil rights violations.

Your point is shallow at best, pathetic at worst.


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Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | November 27, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

SGall23241

We all know what was going on in Obama's Chicago headquarters AND it was not a "better job" unless you consider cheating and race baiting acceptable.


First of all, I do not have to prove anything to you. Take a look at Obama's FEC filings to see how many people were paid and if you can figure out what they did there OR ASK SOMEONE.

As for the money situation, the allegation is this: the function on the credit card software which is used to verify the address of the contributor - which can easily be used to verify that the address of the credit card is within the United States - WAS PURPOSELY TURNED OFF.


The Obama campaign and its treasurer are legally responsible to make sure all contributions are legal, i.e. from a US citizen.

Well, if they purposely turned off the software, purposely ignoring a way to verify such information, that has to be a violation of federal law, and perhaps racketeering.


Furthermore, if there was an effort to tell people abroad that contributions could be made in this manner when previously it was thought to be illegal, that would be a violation of federal law.


There needs to be an investigation of the credit card contributions to the Obama campaign. The credit card companies should be willing and able to provide the information necessary.

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Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | November 27, 2008 11:55 PM | Report abuse

"Obama had 300 paid bloggers at his headquarters in Chicago - they worked in shifts and harassed other posters on a daily and hourly basis."
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Uh, if anybody should prove their evidence, 37thOStreetRules, it should be you. I ask you to show this. Otherwise, I have no choice but to consider you said troll.

And say if you DID produce such evidence? I don't think there's anything illegal in what was done. Obama and his people simply did a better job than McCain and his people, and it just gets to you, and you don't want to let it go. You seem to be doing the proverbial Sour Grapes thing. You need to take a chill pill and cool out. It's over and done with.

Posted by: SGall23241 | November 27, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

JUST IGNORE THE CLUTTER TROLLS...

"37thandOStreetRules" is obviously a paid disinformation troll.

His mission: to create obnoxious clutter that serves to deflect attention from other more thoughtful posts that some entity regards as threats to the status quo.

And who would back such a mission? An entity that fears freedom of speech because the free flow of certain ideas and opinions poses a threat to its overriding mission.

And what is that overriding mission?

Could it be to impose a certain ideological world view on the rest of us?

Just a guess...

... But why else would some entity order up the daily production of such clutter and clap-trap?

The bottom line: The work of trolls like "37thandOStreetRules" is not that of your average politico...


"EXTRAJUDICIAL TARGETING": A Cause of the Financial Meltdown, a Threat to Civil Liberties?

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/targeting-u-s-citizens-govt-agencies-root-cause-wall-street-financial-crisis OR
members.nowpublic.com/scrivener


Posted by: scrivener50 | November 27, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

37thOStreetRules,
You misunderstand freedom of speech. The First Amendment reads as follows:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The First Amendment bars Congress from enacting laws abridging the freedom of speech…this has nothing to do with the right/choice of newspapers, magazines, journals, radio stations, television stations, websites, or other communication mediums to publish/broadcast--or not--articles, essays, opinions, ideas, comments, or any other communications from the public or their employees.

Further, the First Amendment doesn't pertain to public criticism over things published/broadcast; does not pertain to whether or not a media outlet can edit, delete, or ban entirely comment(s) on blogs; or whether people can organize a ban against someone with whom they disagree.

The First Amendment is simply meant to keep political officials/government from shutting down the press in the event the press is critical of their action/inaction.

Posted by: txgall | November 27, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Your attempts to take the high ground are highly suspect, given that all you do is make ridiculous and unsubstantiated accusations IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE THAT'S TOTALLY MATURE and then accuse people of violating your right to make stupid statements when we point this out.

Of course, you're a comment troll, so it's unlikely you actually believe any of that.

Posted by: SeanC1 | November 27, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

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SeanC1


Harassment of other posters is a violation of terms of service - I would say name-calling falls into that category as well - everyone should report you for using inappropriate language as well.

Address the points.

Make your points and support your points - stop harassment and intimindation of other posters.

Obama had 300 paid bloggers at his headquarters in Chicago - they worked in shifts and harassed other posters on a daily and hourly basis.

I challenge your assertion that all those people are a "theory" - and you fail - you fail on multiple counts.


Again I suggest you make your points and support them.

Leave it at that. As for your Civil Rights Violations - I suggest you think long and hard about that - Free Speech Rights - Voting Rights - other Constitutional Rights - they are all covered by the Federal Civil Rights Laws.

And the attempts to create a conspiracy to violate someone's Free Speech Rights.


Think long and hard about that one - or we will start calling you Milhouse.

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Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | November 27, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I'll defend your right to make an ass of yourself all you want, but I'll continually assert my right to point out that you're an ass, and ask you to cease and desist from being so.

Still flogging the "paid blogger" theory, too, I see; another fail.

Posted by: SeanC1 | November 27, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

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To the Posters who call themselves DDAWD, broadwayjoe, SeanC1 and DrainYou:

I have FREEDOM OF SPEECH guaranteed to me by the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION.

The Washington Post fought one of the most famous Free Speech battles ever against the Nixon Administration over the Pentagon Papers.

I will characterize your postings as this: an attempted conspiracy to RESTRICT THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH OF US CITIZENS.

The Nixon Administration would be proud the the Obama people have adopted these tactics, first at the Daily Kos, and now here on this blog.

One other note: the conspiracy you are attempting to engage in - which is based on THE CONTENT OF ONE'S SPEECH - should be viewed as a VIOLATION OF CIVIL RIGHTS UNDER THE UNITED STATES FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS ACTS.

In intimidation, harassment of other posters whose views you do not like - hmmm - some of this is being paid for - PAID BLOGGERS have been instructed to hit the 'report abuse" button based on the CONTENT OF ONE'S SPEECH NOT ANY REAL VIOLATION.

So, we have foreign money coming into the Obama people, unverified by simple software which has been turned off, a flood of questionable money from questionable sources - a flood of money which might be foreign money - of questionable legality - being utilized to restrict the Freedom of Speech of American citizens.


The disgraceful actions began last winter and they continue.


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Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | November 27, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

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NOW we have the same idiots out there demanding unity for their program - an extremely silly notion -


OK if you REALLY want unity this is how to get it:


Post Partisan - give half the cabinet positions to Republicans and cover the entire political spectrum


Post Racial - end affirmative action - enact an entirely MERIT-BASED economy and throw all college and graduate school admissions boards in jail who give any advantage based on minority or gender status.


OK that would begin to Unify people.


HOWEVER we don't have that - do we? We have a re-installation of the Clinton administration (are the interns coming back too?) -


AND "CHANGE" is defined as throwing in a few guys from the Carter administration - a "fresh-face."

OK there you have it - if Obama adheres to his actual message - instead of the ultra latte-liberal agenda which they ware attempting to slip in under these crazy campaign themes.


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The poster nycleon below asked - what did the American people vote for?


His point is they voted for what I just outlined, not some ultra-liberal agenda and the sooner everyone realizes that and that idea guides action, the better for the entire nation.

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Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | November 27, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

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Weapons of Mass Destruction - means chemical weapons too - Saddam had them and he used them - he used them to kill 100,000 of his own people.


All the intelligence services in the West were concerned - NOT only that he had them - BUT THAT HE WAS SICK ENOUGH TO USE THEM.


That is a key point.


The concern was that Saddam COULD team up with terrorists and used those weapons against Western targets, or even in the United States itself.


THAT WAS THE CONCERN WHICH HAD TO BE DEALT WITH.


GROW UP - THAT WAS A LEGITIMATE THREAT AND YOU ARE LIVING IN CANDYLAND IF YOU WANT TO IGNORE THAT REALITY.


One additional factor: the democrats in Congress starting in the 70s - through the 80s and the Clinton administration - CONSTANTLY DEMANDED THAT OUR INTELLIGENCE BUDGETS WERE CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT.


This cutting left our nation's intelligence services basically blind in the Middle East - and YES ONE MUST BLAME THE DEMOCRATS BECAUSE THEY WERE THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS IDIOTS WHO WENT OUT AND DEMANDED THAT OUR INTELLIGENCE BUDGETS WERE SLASHED.


So, we ended up a with a situation in which the we had significantly less intelligence resources in the Middle East - and what do the democrats do?


They run around for years and years and years saying "Bush lied, Bush lied" - about intelligence reports WHICH SHOULD HAVE BEEN SUBSTANTIALLY BETTER WERE IT NOT FOR THE DEMOCRATS CUTTING THE BUDGETS.


Sorry however this story WILL BE TOLD.


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Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | November 27, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

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OHIOCITIZEN


I call 'em as I see 'em - and there are no mischaracterizations. This election was more about money than anything else, hence the blame on the "latte liberals" who can be characterized as spoiled brats who love to ignore reality.


I take issue with your "truly patriotic individuals" idea.


"Truly patriotic individuals" are those who, when the republicans are joined by the democrats to vote for the war, do not "cut and run" and withdraw their support for the war when they see a potential electorial advantage in the overnight polling.

"Truly patriotic individuals" - do not run around for years and years saying "Bush lied, Bush lied" - when we have troops on the ground in a foreign land getting shot at.


The only person on tape saying that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction was Bill Clinton - no one went around for years saying "Clinton lied, Clinton lied."


AGAIN, these are the same people demanding unity now - for their program - extremely silly notion given that they refused to give the nation unity during wartime.


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Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | November 27, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Personal to broadwayjoe:

Word to that.

As for the "agenda'...

... believe me, when I was doing investigative reporting for major newspapers and TV stations, and later producing and hosting a highly-rated TV show on a major NY regional sports network, the topics of "extrajudicial targeting" and "organized gang stalking" were absent from my rundown sheet.

Then someone or some entity decreed, "Take him down;" and I became a "target." Suddenly, my mission changed, and, once semi-recovered from what truly has been, in my view, officially-sanctioned domestic torture, I became a full-time civil libertarian.

I invite you to read in full my articles on those topics at http://members.nowpublic.com/scrivener and reflect on my first-hand experiences and reporting through this prism.

Hey -- I said it was "personal" didn't I?

Thanks, B'way J.

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 27, 2008 12:55 AM | Report abuse

email blogs@washingtonpost.com to report 37+o. They are in charge of that thing.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 27, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

broadwayjoe and SeanC1,


I've already e-mailed Chris about this racist cracker piece of crap "37thandPsychopathSt" who is ruining his blog.


I'm pretty sure he's going to be permently banned.


This nutless wonder is just a troll who seems to be lost from his Redstate.com or Freeperland.com mothership.

Posted by: DrainYou | November 26, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Scrivener, really, nobody is paying attention to your conspiracy theories.

As to 37thandFail, I ask again, how are terrorist attacks in India, which is unrelated to the war with Al-Qaeda, and which we don't yet know the perpetrators of, related to Obama? Particuarly since Obama is not in charge yet, and thus can't actually make policy.

You fail, yet again.

Posted by: SeanC1 | November 26, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

I, of course, can't buy into your whole, er, agenda, Mr. scrivener, but your points today are well taken: (a) there was documented voter flipping by machines, especially those in West VA (where the machines (allegedly) would flip O votes into Mac votes) and (agreeing with your earlier point) O has no business campaigning for Martin in the Deep South prior to the inauguration (I believe Donna Brazile put the kibosh on that idiotic idea -- good work, Donna). Good night.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 26, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

MAYBE OBAMA GOT A TRUE MANDATE AND ELECTRONIC VOTING "IRREGULARITIES" TOOK IT AWAY FROM HIM

A third of the votes were cast on electronic voting machines, only a small fraction of which provided a voter-verified paper trail.

In early voting, there were reports that electronic machines "flipped" votes. A few mainstream media outlets reported this; many did not. Once the election was over, there was virtually no coverage concerning electronic voting anomalies.

Are we to believe that the vote-flipping reports were not true? Or is it possible that, by accident or malice aforethought, some machines were calibrated in such a way as to siphon off votes from one candidate to another?

Please ponder that very plausible scenario when you ask the question, "Did Obama Receive a Mandate?"

BUT WILL THE ELECTION EVEN MATTER?

Not as long as government-supported extrajudicial "vigilante injustice" targeting squads are "gang stalking" American citizens, making a mockery of the rule of law:

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/american-gestapo-state-supported-terrorism-targets-u-s-citizens


WHAT IF THEY COULD SHOOT YOU
WITHOUT LEAVING A TRACE? THEY CAN.
http://www.nowpublic.com/world/zap-have-you-been-targeted-directed-energy-weapon-victims-organized-gang-stalking-say-its-happening-usa-1

OR http://members.nowpublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 26, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

37andOsewer, check the calendar.

BHO doesn't become president for another two months. As I recall, your vp candidate can't remember a newspaper she's read, couldn't submit to journalist interview, and doesn't know Africa is a continent -- so much for foreign policy experience. But why revisit an election that has ENDED wekkes ago. Hello! Stop the carpet-trolling!!!! As it is, you have had to change your troll handle about four times so far. Why go for five? The topic was whether O had a mandate: I think he did and arguably also had a landslide victory (at least as good anyone will get in this environment). Do you have anything to say on this topic aside from your previous lunatic bigoted trolling?

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 26, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

SeanC1 and broadwayjoe:

The Islamic extremists are going to "test Obama" - they are going to push him has far as they can to get him to "cut and run"


Sorry if that does not fit into your "everyone in the world is going to love us because we elected Obama" naive fantasy world.


This is all the fault of the naive people who ignored the obvious: electing a person with a strong defense and national security background -

Instead you wanted the inexperienced, weak affirmative action Obama who had no defense experience, no foreign policy experience, no economic experience and no business experience except buying cocaine on the street.

This is the situation you have created: one in which the enemies of America are going to seek to take advantage of an inexperienced, weak affirmative action guy who is inclined to "cut and run" at the first sign of bloodshed.

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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 26, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

"YOU voted for Obama now 90 people are dead - with more "testing" to come


The terrorists want Obama to "cut and run" - they are going to try to get him to do that."

Cut and run from where? India? What exactly would the US retreat from in India?

Your attempts to hijack the murder of numerous innocents to advance you own political trolling exposes your rotten nature.

Posted by: SeanC1 | November 26, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Posted by 37andOalley, "How many people are going to have to die because the wingnuts in this country decided to vote for an inexperienced, weak candidate who is liable to "cut and run" at the first sign of trouble.

90 people died today in India."

Regretably, the troll spray didn't work so I am taking it back to Home Depot.

What in the world did what happened in India have to do with 44? We don't even know who did what or why there? Also -- Hello! 44 hasn't been inaugurated yet.

Once O gets his diplomatic team together (S. Rice, Mrs. WJC (yes, with the full support of her 18 Hillarians, including lawyer Lan E. Davis) and Biden), he WILL lead the world community to address these problem.

Joe Lieberman, a fan of O, NOT, just recently said O has addressed every post-election issue "perfectly" and his appointments so far have been "perfect." So, Alley, what is your problem?

As far as we know, this India tragedy is some unfortunate local incident just like a mugging in Central Park would be.

Look, Alley, why can't you just post once and for all that you are a bigoted troll who hates O and leave it at that. Why the tiresome incoherent carpet-posts, again and again on every Post blog?

Oy.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 26, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

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Broadwayjoe and Drainyou:


How many people are going to have to die because the wingnuts in this country decided to vote for an inexperienced, weak candidate who is liable to "cut and run" at the first sign of trouble.


90 people died today in India.


Who is next? How long will this "testing of Obama" go on ???


Unlike others, I like to evaluate the consequences of one's actions.


The Obama people are taking risks with this nation which are unnecessary - they are "taking a chance" - inexperience and weakness is not a formula for a successful foreign policy.


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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 26, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse


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DrainYou


Are you seeking to REPEAL THE FIRST AMENDMENT AS WELL ???


How UnAmerican can one be to attempt to silence one's opponents?


I believe we should send you to a Gulag in Siberia next week, that would be more fitting.


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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 26, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

nycLeon


Very well said.


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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 26, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

By the numbers this would have been a mandate. Unfortunately, we, the progressive supporters of Obama, and even those who are not so progressive- did not talk much about real policy. We talked about change, but now what change would look like. So the "changes" that are coming are standard Democrat fare- some extra money for infrastructure, some attempt at healthcare that is less than universal, etc.

We had the opportunity to talk about the issues- when you win on issues- you can push them more easily, but mostly we ran a campaign about not being them, about how he was old and out of touch, how she is a ditz who spends a lot on wardrobe- so what mandate did we win? Iraq is probably the only "mandated" policy change.

We must rise above the superficial level of discourse in this country and engage- the media will not help us with this, it is up to us.

Posted by: nycLeon | November 26, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

DrainYou, we (the entire Western World) are with you, bro. Good luck.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 26, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Dear, Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 26, 2008 3:58 PM


When are you going to learn that the crap you read on the mass Wingnut E-mail circuit is just that, CRAP?


You and your party (Republican) have just finished being on the wrong end of arse-kicking back to back (2006, 2008) landslide elections and yet you are still dumb enough to think that somehow someone other than the morons who live in your little Wingnutoshere bubble are going to believe your propaganda crap?


That's what I love about Wingers like you, "37thandOStreetRules" moron, you always think that if they just scream a little louder that people will all of sudden stop thinking that they're insane.


To the other people on here:

I say we petition Chris to have this nutball banned from this sight next week, what do you guys think?

Posted by: DrainYou | November 26, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

First, pssssst (trollspray to clear out "37andO").... Now to the topic --

O did win a mandate: he won 53% of the vote, and ran the table in terms of electoral votes, winning even red VA, Indiana, North Carolina, NM, Colorado, Nevada, and one vote in Nebraska. Had he been a paler candidate, it is certain he would have had a Reagan level landslide (the racial drag wa sprobably about 5-7%).

As it was, the strong vote for BHO clearly indicated the country wanted change. In fact, there were many anecdotal stories about how some bigoted voters in the deep South were asked by the press who they voted for and they would respond, "I voted for the XXXXXX." What a great country...er, I guess.

Winners this week:
O
O's family
O-Nation
Dean Smith
Hillarians (Give credit where credit is due. They breached the walls of O-Nation and now that unhinged band of losers, mentals, and harpies will be on the federal payroll at the State Department making mischief with a multi-billion dollar budget for eight full years.)

Losers of the week:

Peter Orszag, O's choice for director of the Office of Management and Budget (Drudge today has a picture of him wearing a squirrel glued to the top of his head under the caption, "The Whigs." Friends of Pete, please tell him to remove the squirrel and drive directly to the barber and get a Bruce Willis cut. Pete, not that you meant to, but you embarrassed MANkind, you embarrassed yourself.

Post columnist Kathleen Parker (When you write, as she recently did, a Gone With the Wind-sounding ode to her black nanny in explaining her feelings about O's victory (condemned in writing by at least one black journalist), it's bad enough. To follow it up in the Post, with some junk about people not being "smart enough" to vote (a veiled call for Jim Crow "literacy tests," perhaps?), is truly unbelievable. Ms. Parker, step out of your wayback machine; it's not 1865 or 1954...thank God.)

This week "the Dean of the Post" is NOT a loser. (He wrote a great column recently on O so maybe he's having a Kurt Warner-type comeback. Welcome back to legitimate journalism, Dean.)

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 26, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

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Is Obama going to "cut and run" from India now? These terrorists have killed over 90 people attempting to test Obama.


Here's to the Great Latte Liberal Experiment !!!!


Are the Obama people going to comfort the families of the dead ????


Go to the funerals ???


Clearly the Obama people set the stage for this "test" of the inexperienced Obama -


The Obama people naively thought that making such an "affirmative action statement" the world would look at us differently and peace would break out all over the place.

Instead the terrorists can't wait to start to attack and see if they can get the "cut and run" Obama to pull back and allow the terrorists to make gains against American interests internationally.


The terrorists were running through hotels demanding people who had US and British passports.


This is the response of the terrorists to the latte liberals electing the inexperienced Obama.

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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 26, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse


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Iconoblaster


I call 'em as I see 'em


YOU voted for Obama now 90 people are dead - with more "testing" to come


The terrorists want Obama to "cut and run" - they are going to try to get him to do that.

Actually if the US pulled all its outsourced jobs back to the US it wouldn't be such a bad thing, huh?


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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 26, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

A mandate is an authorization to act, or authoritative command, and is not determined by the size of any victory.

Does Obama have a mandate? Technically, yes. By law, he will be given the authorization to act on the countries behalf. By an arcane election system, he has emerged the winner.

But I believe the spirit of the question far exceeds the technical definition of "mandate." Can a candidate hold a mandate when he fails to connect to a majority of a wide swath of the country?

Considering the political environment during the election, McCain's numbers were absolutely phenomenal. He held his own despite following a sitting President who is quite possibly the most inept in 100 years.

The country fell in love with the change mantra, but feared a further decline, so why not McCain, at least you knew what you were getting.

The country still remains fractous and fearful of the future. They didn't know who to believe in....but they do send Obama into the White House with an expectation, an overwhelming mandate for change by the American people.

The mandate does not go with the man, it goes to the cause...the cause of "change."

Posted by: kimba1 | November 26, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Please all Indian people, don't petronize our greatest President-elect Barack Obama.
If terrorist attack took place in your city of Bombay, America is not resposible for that attacks Please grow up you Indians.

Posted by: akber_kassam | November 26, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"You are suffering from delusions of relevance."

Delusions of white power too. Good thing that pure racists like him are slowly vanishing.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 26, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

37th&O: Why would you imagine that someone doing violence in India, now, is "trying to test Obama"?

Maybe you don't realize that Obama isn't the President, yet... before you go about criticizing "latte liberals", perhaps you should get back in touch with Planet Earth.

Not EVERYTHING that happens in the world is even related to, much less caused by, American political events.

You are suffering from delusions of relevance.

Posted by: Iconoblaster | November 26, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

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Is Obama going to "cut and run" from India now? These terrorists have killed over 90 people attempting to test Obama.

Here's to the Great Latte Liberal Experiment !!!!


Are the Obama people going to comfort the families of the dead ????


Go to the funerals ???

Clearly the Obama people set the stage for this "test" of the inexperienced Obama -

The Obama people naively thought that making such an "affirmative action statement" the world would look at us differently and peace would break out all over the place.


Instead the terrorists can't wait to start to attack and see if they can get the "cut and run" Obama to pull back and allow the terrorists to make gains against American interests internationally.

The terrorists were running through hotels demanding people who had US and British passports.

This is the response of the terrorists to the latte liberals electing the inexperienced Obama.

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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 26, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

A mandate is largely in the eye of the beholder, since most politicians do not even make commitments of any real sort in the campaign, there is no mandate to do anything except to adhere to the direction of the party they represent. Reagan's margin or FDR's at an earlier time would be called mandates by any fair minded person and, indeed, Lyndon Johnson won a mandate in 1964. But even Mr. Cilizza errs here when he referred to a Clinton mandate in '92. He actually won by a plurality -with about 43% of the vote. George W. Bush won by a very tiny electoral margin, losing the popular vote count to Gore, but he governed as if he had a mandate and largely got away with it. We have only one President at a time, as had been said 100,000 times recently and he can do what he wishes, within the limits imposed by the Constitution and Congress. A victory as large as Obama's shows he indeed has the support to change the nation's direction. That is good, since it is currently headed down on all fronts. ( What will be said in the State of the Union in January??) With a deficit of such vast proportions now that even the Chinese may not be willing to fund us, the prospects for this nation are not the greatest but we will continue, like Rome, to act as if we are what we were - until we fall victim to our internal rot.

Posted by: earlmchu | November 26, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

TheDiplomat


Obama is an admitted cocaine user - if you chose to ignore that and voted for him anyway, I feel sorry for you.


Obama could go back to using cocaine anytime.

Any stress of office could cause Obama to go back to using drugs. It is a risk. One which an intelligent person would not take when selecting a person for such an important position.


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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 26, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse


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“This is about as fresh a face as you can get.”


This is how Obama talks about re-installing a Carter appointee


Obama has been busy re-installing the Clinton administration - (that is his definition of CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN )

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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 26, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

In the last five decades, only two non-incumbent candidates have garnered a larger margin of victory than Obama. Reagan's margin of victory in terms of the popular vote was 9.7% and George H. W. Bush's margin was 7.8%. Obama's (provisional) margin of victory stands at 7%. That's a mandate.

Posted by: sahildmehta | November 26, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

What a great commentary - thanks to everyone!

Whether he has a mandate or not..we all need to get behind this movement..if only to see how well it works out. Obama seems to be courting the center..which is very encouraging to those of us who embrace some level of conservatism and individualism.

Posted by: newbeeboy | November 26, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if the country really sent an Obama mandate, but they did send a message against clinging to the status quo. Neither candidate ran on a message of "steady as she goes," so it would be surprising to see much resistance in the way of economic or foreign policy change. That said, any sort of radical departure would be met by strong resistance and a health care plan still has to be carefully constructed. The key to using a mandate is knowing how far it really stretches. Believe the people voted for you to be King and you'll be scrambling for a parachute.

More important than his mandate, Obama will be the first President since Reagan who can go on TV and swing votes in Congress. Congressional subcommittees aren't nearly as susceptible to a mandate as they are voters calling their offices.

Posted by: caribis | November 26, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

To TheDiplomat:


I couldn't agree more. That goofball (37thandOStreetRules) seems to have an inferiority complex in the worst way so he spreads out his Wingnut rants hoping that someone will actually look at them and take him seriously.


Chris should ban him if he keeps it up

Posted by: DrainYou | November 26, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

One has a mandate if one was elected by a comfortable popular vote margin (one does not a landslide, though the bigger the margin the stronger the mandate) on a platform that would break with the status quo. Obama obviously meets both conditions. The challenge is that the second condition, when met, requires that you deliver change in a reasonably short timeframe, i.e. visible change in policies and politics by the time of the midterm elections.

Posted by: franckj1 | November 26, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

37thandOStreetRules, you have already made a complete fool out of yourself but yet you continue to keep digging that hole.

The person who is constantly accusing someone else of doing drugs is the person who appears to be a drug addict.

Learn how to use a keyboard and how to comment without having a thousand lines of white space before you post your worthless rants.

Posted by: TheDiplomat | November 26, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I'd say that, with both candidates running against Bush to some extent, Obama does have the "mandate for change" he claimed. He (rightly) recognized the tempering of that mandate reflected by McCain's portion of the vote and the necessary of therefore practicing humility in his policies, something Bush never understood when claiming his own "mandate."

Posted by: SW-erner | November 26, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

It will be interesting and fun to watch the GOP shrink to a few nativist haters, a couple of religious nuts, and the Kathryn Jean-Lopez's of the world in the next few years.


As long as the Rethuglican party continues to offer huge outsized tax breaks for the filthy rich and nothing for everyone else, the extremist nuts will be the only one's left carrying the GOPer banner after 2008.


I think it is going to be a while before we hear about the big tent Republican party.


Ladies and Germs...I give you your 2009 Republican party:


All hail the GOPer "pup tent party"!
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5mdIPNB8t8
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Posted by: DrainYou | November 26, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Definition of MANDATE:

MERRIAM-WEBSTER:

Etymology: Middle French & Latin; Middle French mandat, from Latin mandatum, from neuter of mandatus, past participle of mandare to entrust, enjoin, probably irregular from manus hand + -dere to put.

1. An authorization to act given to a representative .

DICTIONARY.COM:

2. A command or authorization to act in a particular way on a public issue given by the electorate to its representative: The president had a clear mandate to end the war.

In a representative democracy, such as ours (and taking into consideration the distrust of absolute rulers and the special protection of the smaller States, which the Founding Fathers, in the case of the presidency, intended by the creation of the “Electoral College”) a president receiving both a solid majority of the popular vote and a significant percentage of the Electoral College vote can clearly be said to have a MANDATE TO GOVERN. However, that “mandate”, even when it is the product of an overwhelming majority of both the popular and electoral college vote, is neither an absolute nor an unfettered authorization to implement all of his/her agenda. In every case, even in a “landslide”, a significant portion of the electorate did not vote for him – this without taking into account the special protection that minorities (socio-economic, political and ethnic) are entitled to under the Constitution. That is why we also have a legislative and judiciary as well as other systems of “checks and balances” that regulate the power of the executive. A mandate gives an elected representative the authorization to act on the issues which presumably resulted in his electoral victory; but, it is not a “blank check”! Unfortunately, Presidents and other elected official are particularly subject to that “hubris”, which was voiced by our current president at the end of the 2004 election. That is why I was pleased to hear President-elect Obama recognize that he had a mandate, but humbly acknowledge that he still needed to earn the trust and approval of the 46 to 47 percent of the population that did not vote for him! Let us pray that he continues to remember this and not succumb like others before him to the sirens’ call of power.

Posted by: lew112 | November 26, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Well I suppose Biden and Obama have a high regard for each other, and might share a genuine affection - but I, for one, wouldn't call it a mandate.

... not that there's anything wrong with that.

Posted by: DonJasper | November 26, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

365 EV's and a 53%, 7 point popular vote win constitutes a mandate, I don't think there's any question there. The real question is what Obama thinks the reason is for being given this mandate by the people. Is it to take a sharp left turn or to enact a more centrist agenda with liberal accents? The rest of his answer you quoted suggests it's the latter:

"I won 53 percent of the vote. That means 46 or 47 percent of the country voted for John McCain. And it's important, as I said on election night, that we enter into the new administration with a sense of humility and a recognition that wisdom is not the monopoly of any one party."

The last two Democratic presidents can be viewed as warnings of the dangers of overestimating the mandate given to them by the people. The current president as a warning of the danger of being caught in an ideological bubble in which little or no dissenting voices are raised (and which can also lead to overreaching). Judging from his comments and selections so far, he is trying hard to avoid making the same mistakes as his predecessors.

Posted by: CohtR | November 26, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

All presidential elections produce a "mandate," if only that the people's choice try to do what he/she promised to do, while running.

President-elect Obama's mandate is more decisive than most, though; we really expect him to produce. For the most part, we'll back anything he tries, however he tries it. After all, when you're stuck at the bottom of a very deep well that's been dug for eight years, the only direction you can look is up.

So far, so good, I say. I kinda like looking up.

Posted by: deberry10 | November 26, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Mandate shmandate.

As long as republicans are out of power and unable to continue crashing this great country into the ground, I really don't care what you call it.

Posted by: dastubbs | November 26, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse


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“This is about as fresh a face as you can get.”

This is how Obama talks about re-installing a Carter appointee

Obama has been busy re-installing the Clinton administration - (that is his definition of CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN )


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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 26, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

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AND BY THE WAY, HE'S BLACK !


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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 26, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

cdavidj


Resentment?? That is a new one - it is the democrats who had the sour-puss on for the past six years, complaining they whole way.


The Iraq war is over, and we won,


No thanks to the democrats by the way.

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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 26, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Obama has a mandate, all right, and it has been imposed by a much larger constituency than what we traditionally accept: the world. I may sound as though I'm wandering into messiah territory here, but I do have a point that precludes traditional assessment...

On election night, e.g., the overwhelmingly positive reactions and spontaneous celebrations from every corner of the planet reflected a depth of admiration and joy that we as a country, indeed we as a world, have never experienced. It corroborates those amorphous new age-y, new millennium concepts, that through unprecedented information-sharing via internet and communications technology, we've tightened up this global thing big time. We (the world) have soared in education, cultural and moral sophistication, diversity, and the general idea of just "doing the right thing" for the betterment of all. Obama's forward thinking not only fits this new milieu; it is now defining it in terms that will have far-reaching effects.

My point is this: although Obama's charismatic, universal appeal is undeniable and timely, it is also inextricably tied to the song that is America. The fact is that people (the world) have always taken America personally, but so much more so now since the communications spike at the beginning of the century. Just as our 9/11 drew instant universal, heart-felt sympathy, our recent missteps (read: G. W. Bush/Iraq War/torture, etc.) have frustrated and depressed the world in personal terms. In its vision (the world's), we shine. We represent the future, the promise of a free voice, free dreams, equality, and more. These concepts make us "special," you see, and consequently, held to a higher standard. "To whom much is given, much is expected." This is why our travails and triumphs are global. This is why election night was a planet party, why the stock markets this week have green-arrowed against Obama's press conferences. We have so many expectations to fulfill, so many promises to keep…

On November 4th, it wasn't only the majority of Americans who picked Obama to lead us in meeting these grand obligations; it was the majority of the world. And the world's mandate? Why, everything, of course! We are its inspiration! It's light. We cannot assume it would want anything less than all.

As never before, this president will have the weight of that world on his shoulders; however, if he sticks to his promised path of returning our government to us, as never before, we (Americans) will have the opportunity to share in carrying that weight. Can we do it?

Wait for it…..

wait...

Yes, we can!

Posted by: earlyburd | November 26, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

AND BY THE WAY, HE'S BLACK !

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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules

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huh!

I hadn't noticed.

More of a light cocoa though, almost cinnamon-y.

I'm just glad he's smart, competent and doesn't have the last name of Bush.

Posted by: wpost4112 | November 26, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

a man date, other than what do you call an evening with you and Dana Spermbank? Not that there is anything wrong with that. Obama's constitutes a victory with a mandate because a sitting president has been totally discredited... and rejected. The mandate also entails house and senate majorities.

The MANDATE does not allow Obama to appoint the corrupt, soon to be outed Rodham Clinton (Wall Street, hedge funds) as chief diplomat.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | November 26, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

""at least the US Supreme Court has not said so and they should be the final decision maker on the issue of extraconstitutionality."

Yeah, they are, but only if they are asked.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 26, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Yes. Winning the election by more than one Supreme Court judge must be a mandate, because W. sure got a lot of capital out of that one. Leading your party to down ticket landslides on election night is a mandate. It's more than a repudiation of Bush, as many here argue. It's a repudiation of the politics of resentment. So give it a rest, 37thandO.

Posted by: cdavidj | November 26, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

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AND BY THE WAY, HE'S BLACK !


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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 26, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse


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Your posting is filled with lies and even more lies.


Iraq is NOT a quagmire -


The war in Iraq is over - a few roadside bombs during an occupation is NOT a war. There are no fronts - armies are not opposing each other, shooting at each other every hour of every day - that is a war.


I dispute that anything has been done extra-constitutionally - at least the US Supreme Court has not said so and they should be the final decision maker on the issue of extraconstitutionality.


The Culture of Greed was rampant under the Clinton administration - during the internet bubble - so how in the world can you attribute such a culture to George Bush ???


If anything George Bush has NOT had a career laced with corporate greed at all. He was never on Wall Street - the shading internet stocks and shady banking deals were far from him.

I really challenge your assertions - somehow the left believes if they keep on repeating this set of lies that somehow they will all of a sudden become true.

Why didn't you chant "Bush lied, Bush lied"at the end of your posting as well ???


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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 26, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

The margin of victory does not determine a mandate. Dubya received a mandate in 2000 even though he did not win the election. A newly elected president receives a mandate from the voters to act ethically, consistently with campaign promises that have been extensively advertised and debated, and in accordance with the Constitution (not everyone, of course, carries out or lives up to the mandate). Talking about the quantitative strength or degree of a presidential mandate is fatuous. Even if you shift terms and try to measure a victory in terms of a landslide, an equally fatuous pursuit, its quantitative strength can be effectively nullified if the new president does not have a cooperative Congress (an unlikely scenario, perhaps, but it is conceivable and it illustrates the point). Obama has received his mandate, and with a favorable legislative partnership, there is abundant hope and goodwill toward his vision for America, even though he must first face the dismal economic crisis that Dubya gave birth to by carrying out his perceived mandate to give succor to corporate greed, acting extra-constitutionally, and carrying out military objectives that left him embroiled in military quagmires from which he cannot extract himself. He acts like he doesn't really care, and he probably doesn't -- he was simply acting on his mandate.

Posted by: boomerconsumer | November 26, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

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AND BY THE WAY, HE'S BLACK !

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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 26, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

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A decision to opt out of the campaign finance system which has served this nation well PLUS a decision to turn off the verification features of a website credit card software DOES NOT A MANDATE MAKE.

That added up to the additional commercials on television which produced the extra votes.


This country did not evaluate the two candidates on any rational basis.


The economy of this nation IS NOW AT RISK because we have someone with no economic or business experience except for buying cocaine on the street.


The National Security of this nation is NOW AT RISK because we have someone with zero defense or foreign policy experience and someone who harbors naive notions that "cut and run" policies will lead to the long-term security of this nation.

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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 26, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

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mathmike

so your position is that Obama claimed he has a mandate to re-install the Clinton administration ???


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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 26, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Obama chose his words carefully. He claimed he had a mandate for change. Sure the country wants change; they want the economy to change for the better.

If, however, Obama tries to impose universal healthcare, he won't have help from any mandate.

Posted by: mathmike | November 26, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I grow weary of the term WIN regarding the election. Two men applied for a job and we selected one of them. If there is a WIN in this effort, let us hope it is the American citizen. Too often citizens want to be part of an emotional WIN as if the election were a beauty contest, rather than determining who best fulfills the job and voting for that person regardless of polls and political pundits.
A vote majority for an individual does NOT necessarily mean approval for any or all goals stated...it may merely mean the selected individual was deemed most capable to address the challenges of a president. There are formidable problems to address.
However, the election is over! Let's keep our eye on the ball folks...what if's and why's are nothing compared to current problems.

Posted by: kbrahmer | November 26, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Happy Thanksgiving! That is a mandate.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 26, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Paul Volcker will hit the ground running... http://www.enewsreference.wordpress.com

Posted by: nquotes | November 26, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter by how much Obama won. The dictionary defines a mandate as an authoritative command; an authorization to act given to a representative. The American voters have given him a command to change the direction of our nation. He has already stepped up to the plate and with "deliberate haste" is putting in place the means to bring about the changes that are required.

We elected the right person. He's not wasted anytime preparing to take office. Right now Bush is the sitting President - and he's doing just that sitting on his hands. America is looking to the President elect to assure them that he's on top of everything and come January 20th we're going to see changes - that his team has already hit the ground and is running with the ball.

Given how McCain flip flopped on the issue of the economy, I wonder if the election had gone the other way, how far along he would have been in picking his staff and working on plans for the economy. I think he would not have made the progress that Obama has made.

Posted by: Nevadaandy | November 26, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Mandate is such a vague term. This is something that varies from issue to issue and from place to place. Susan Collins in Maine is going to face different pressures and expectations than David Vitter in Louisiana. It will come down to what it always comes down to. Do the representatives represent their constituencies? The way the state voted for president gives some indication as to what they want, but the vote for president is essentially a dichotomous choice. A collective body of legislation isn't.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 26, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I would not call it a mandate. I would call it an extraordinary opportunity to deliver on the promise of leading the country in a new direction. If the Obama administration slips into a partisan, us vs them mode, the voters will likely reduce the opportunity in the mid-term elections of 2010. The real problem Obama will face as President, is the Congressional Leadership's likely presumption that THEY have been given a mandate. Holding them in check will be a significant challenge for President Obama.

Posted by: bsimon1 | November 26, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Only the media indoctrinated, liberal public school tutored unthinking, unknowing and uninvolved would make that leap about a "mandate"! I bet those who assume everything they read in the papers is true, also have no idea who their congressman is or what congressional district they're in, who their mayor is or who their state representatives are! Yet they know this? Please! Americans are as disengaged politically as their dogs and cats, or more likely their tropical fish!

Posted by: vgailitis | November 26, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"I would be curious to see the results had the race been colorblind."

I think it would have been a Hillary/McCain race.

Posted by: Skeptic1 | November 26, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

James A. Swanson, Los Altos, California
www.bushleagueofnations.com [for free download of entire book]

My knee-jerk reaction has been to avoid using “mandate” because Bush abused and redefined the word, making it a joke, another obscene word.

But we need to reclaim lots of words from the GOP, including “liberal,” “compassionate,” “family values,” “Christian” and, yes, “mandate.”

So let’s barge ahead.

Necessity is the mother of mandate, in addition to invention.

Whatever Obama’s winning margin might have been—several million votes, or one vote, or even a negative margin like Bush’s margin in 2000—Obama has no choice but to try to save the world from the GOP’s Great Depression II.

In other words, Obama has the Mother of All Mandates.

Obama has obviously hit the ground running, but time will tell whether his arrival on the “grime and crime scene” is in time.

Fortunately, in the handoff from Bush to Obama, we are transitioning from arsonist to firefighter, from criminal to good cop, from warmonger to peacemaker, from “management by hunches” to leader.

And the world says, “Thank God!”

Posted by: jimswanson | November 26, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

He does indeed have a mandate: for change. He'll be judged successful if, in four years, a majority feel that the change was for the better.

Posted by: Kili | November 26, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

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A decision to opt out of the campaign finance system which has served this nation well PLUS a decision to turn off the verification features of a website credit card software DOES NOT A MANDATE MAKE.

That added up to the additional commercials on television which produced the extra votes.

This country did not evaluate the two candidates on any rational basis.

The economy of this nation IS NOW AT RISK because we have someone with no economic or business experience except for buying cocaine on the street.

The National Security of this nation is NOW AT RISK because we have someone with zero defense or foreign policy experience and someone who harbors naive notions that "cut and run" policies will lead to the long-term security of this nation.


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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 26, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

My first comment is, Bill Clinton didn't lose the Congress in 1994... just like John McCain didn't lose the Presidency in 2008... and just like GWB didn't win the Presidency in 2000.

John McCain lost because George W. Bush is The Worst President Ever.

But for the financial meltdown the last two weeks, he well might have won the election -- and that would have been considered a miracle, which is a higher pay grade than a mandate.

Also, the Democrats lost in 1994 because the majority of them were involved in a major Democratic "check-kiting" corruption scheme.

Health care lost in 1994 because the health care insurance companies financed one of the most expensive and intensive campaign push backs in election history.

Conclude what you will about a Barack Obama "mandate" in 2008, but at least start with the facts.

I personally think he has a mandate to do whatever works with whoever works.

Posted by: freespeak | November 26, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

We are observing the paradox of true Leadership - the humble man who leads with the power of his modesty. The man who leads by listening before acting. ...................


http://thefiresidepost.com/2008/11/26/barack-obamas-leadership-paradox/

Posted by: glclark4750 | November 26, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse


Bush claimed a mandate in 2004 when he had none. Obama acknowledged a mandate in his response yesterday, but also used the word "humble."

So far in this transition, he is being very measured, careful, and constructive. He recognizes that if he has a mandate, it is a mandate for a change from partisanship to bipartisanship in Washington, not a switch from a right-wing to left-wing ideology. A switch from spending political capital you don't have, to true consensus-building. From swaggering around the world with a big stick, to re-building the honor of this country.

God speed, President-elect Obama.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | November 26, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I feel this election would have been closer if an appropriate contender had run against Obama. The fractured Republican Party couldn't run a strong, steady, and predictable leader in the wake of the Bush Era. Instead, as the country was heading into confusion and financial ruin, the Republican Party nominates its "maverick" who contrary to popular belief was not a uniter, but a general outcast of both parties who frequently bursts his neck veins at "friends" on the Senate floor.

McCain was erratic in a time when the country and its people needed a calm, steady hand to guide them. McCain answered this need for steady leadership with campaign gimmicks, desperate stunts and Governor Palin. Yes it was a terrible campaign, but McCain was a terrible candidate who made terrible decisions and ran an out of control contest. His actions did not paint an appropriate picture for the leadership that we need during this crisis, and the vote reflected.

It was a mandate. There was only one clear choice for president this year and the election was always a referendum on Obama - his poise, his demeanor, his intelligence - and the majority of people cast their votes either for him...or against him.


Posted by: trident420 | November 26, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

One cannot tell anything about a "mandate" from the 40% who would have voted D no matter the candidates.

In fact, a better measure of the mandate to change the GWB culture was the upset victory of McC in the R Primary. Further, to have had McC and MDH as the last Rs standing indicated R dissatisfaction with GWB. These two, plus Ron Paul, were the Rs who campaigned against secret closed government and against torture.

To a D, all Rs may look the same - and McC fell into a trap of his own making by elevating Schmitt and running his GE campaign to attract the remaining Bushies.

So if I were going to describe the "mandate" it would be based on why indies voted 3-2 for BHO. That would be, as others have said, a mandate to reject the GWB secretive command-and-control style executive, first. But to put a finer point on it, competency, openness, working with Congress when possible, and a steady level-headedness with just an occasional burst of cautious inspiration were traits indies sought. That is what BHO promised and appeared to be capable of. That is independent of any single issue, as Boutan suggested, but gives BHO room to push alternate energy and health care that someone who appeared hot-headed or unlettered would never have been granted by indies.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 26, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

A black man, named Barack Hussein Obama and a first-term senator, garnered 365 electoral votes and nearly 53% of the vote against a war hero who's been in Congress for more than 25 years. That sounds like exactly what Obama described it as - a mandate for change, and a mandate to take this country in a completely new direction.

Posted by: ManUnitdFan | November 26, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

We had better hope that Obama has a mandate or believes he does. He certainly can't do what he has to do without one. This is not a time for timidity or endless haggling over details. If we are going to get out of the current mess someone is going to have to take charge. Obama may well be that person. He is assembling a credible, even impressive, team and he is an leader of obvious talent. Democrat, Republican – the whole world needs desperately for him to succeed. That is what I call a mandate.

Posted by: 13577207 | November 26, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Obama has a mandate to 'not be' George W. Bush. The Democrats prospered by not being Republicans. That's all. Bush's father got 54% of the vote and 426 electoral votes in 1988, both exceeding Obama's totals. That was a 'status quo' mandate.

I'm a little tired of the liberal race-baiting that attends Obama's election - the less racist America is, the more often it gets called 'racist' by a certain sort of political activist. The fact is that Obama, with a thin resume, a background in the fragrant politics of Cook County, and sketchy judgement in friends and associates, defeated a certifiable American war hero with a long record of service. In doing so, he out-performed the eight previous Democratic presidential hopefuls, all of whom possessed impeccably Caucasian carcasses. Let's start marginalizing the race-obsessed both Left and Right, and the pragmatism of American voters will be more clearly seen and understood.

Posted by: MarkR1 | November 26, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

What exactly is a "mandate"? How does it actually function in terms of legislation?

Does congress say after an election -- "oh, this guy won a mandate, so we better follow his lead" or "nah, that was a marginal victory, the prez will have to go it alone the next 4 years"?

I ask this as an open question of sorts, because I see this as even more fundamental.

Before determining whether or not someone wins a mandate -- it makes sense to determine if the term itself has any real meaning.

How much of a president's ability to get things done is a result of a "mandate" (whatever that is) and how much of it is do to some other factor(s)?

-- e.g. the partisan composition of the legislature, a politician's own abilities to coerce, cajole, and convince other politicians to buy into his (or her) policy agenda -- and visa versa.

Right now the House will be about 59% Democratic leaning in its composition (e.g. 256+ out of 435 with four races still pending); the Senate will be at least 58% (58 out of 100 with two races pending; and the president won with close to 53% of the vote.

These would seem to point in the direction of Obama being able to get things done.

On the other hand, Reagan achieved quite a bit in 1980-84 without control of Congress and having won in 1980 with just over a few decimal points above 50 percent of the popular vote.

That's about as far as I would go in applying the term "mandate" to this election cycle. Voters attitudes towards the political party's changed between 2004 and 2006. Those trends played out along similar lines in 2008.

Posted by: JPRS | November 26, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Chris,

Great piece and discussion item. I would agree with Obama and others who say he has a mandate but I think the mandate is broader than Obama. The mandate is for the Democratic Party and Obama given the two consecutive cycles of big pick ups in Congress and the impressive Obama win. The Democrats have this mandate because they have done a much better job of listening to and reflecting the will of the voters. It is now incumbent on them to deliver promised change. Bush and the Republicans effectively handed the Democrats a billy club to continue beating the President and his party over the head the last two years by refusing to compromise on any Democratic led initiatives in Congress, they basically doubled down on a bad election and lost big time (tip of the cap to Dick Cheney for that one!).

This is a mandate for Obama and the Democrats to lead us out of our current mess and I think they have a long leash to deliver results given the current situation. The more interesting debate will be within the Republican Party on whether they will continue to listen to and cater to an ever shrinking group of voters. Right now there is only one "big tent" party and we have a clear mandate.

Posted by: Halfaworldaway | November 26, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Mandate is a vague term, but I'd say the American people voted for him to implement his platform fairly decisively; certainly, compared to the last two elections, both in popular and electoral votes, he dwarfs the winners there.

Posted by: SeanC1 | November 26, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

dopper0189 pretty much sums up my thoughts.

Yes, it's a mandate. But it's a mandate for changing the political culture and reversing course from the disasters of the Bush Administration. That does not imply a full 180 toward socialism-that is not what was promised in the campaign, and that is not what the majority of Americans voted for. President-elect Obama has a mandate from the American people to dig into the huge problems facing us and to actually do something about them, rather than dicking around and/or creating even greater problems as Bush has done. The President-elect was voted in on a platform of pragmatism and progress. That's where his mandate lies. Based on how he's conducted himself since the election, I'd say he's on the right track, and he's so far spent very little political capital.

Posted by: ASinMoCo | November 26, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Chris – you are asking us to make a judgment without defining a term that has different meanings for most folks. Here is my attempt.

As I taught my graduate students for many years -- look for dissatisfaction with the status quo if you really want a measure of the pressure for social/organizational change. They are inversely proportional. If the intensity of rejection of the status-quo is great enough – any change is welcome. Measure the difference between those who like things the way they are and those who do not – that is one indicator of a mandate for change.

I consider the Obama election victory a "mandate" from the electorate to change the direction, focus and operational process of the federal government -- to bring the nation's priorities away from the phony "war" smokescreen that Bush used to cover his administration's fumbling, bumbling and often tragic mishandling of foreign and domestic affairs.

The mandate, so called, is a tenuous reward however, as the current Administration has nearly upended our economy by driving us into a very deep ditch. The reaction of American voters to the current Administration added to the intensity of their embrace of change.

It will take strong, bold and clearly understood policy to get us back on to the road toward a safe and prosperous future. Doing that will require that the American people suspend their angry distrust of government and help to push toward change -- in nearly everything that Bush and his foolish and stupid "conservative" friends permitted to happen on his watch.

Americans know this is the case and a clear majority are crossing their fingers and hoping that Obama can bring about a change in direction on nearly every front.

Posted by: gandalfthegrey | November 26, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

What do you think Chris? Yes, he does. How about you write a succinct story about how this junior senator took on an entrenched machine in Hillary Clinton and the Republican Party and won them without doing what so many of you in the press asked him to do: Get nasty and underhanded!!

I am tired of silly questions like these. To date, I have yet to see a detailed story about what this man has achieved thus far.

You guys are always trying to tweak Obama. Remember when he went overseas and had a successful trip, after so many of you questioned the wisdom of his going, and when he came back, the big question from the media: was he arrogant or presumptuous? Remember?

No candidate has been more scrutinized than Barack Obama. From the stupid questions about his religion, to some asking that he produce his birth certificate. Never seen before in this country, but it did to Barack Obama.

Yet, you have the likes of Mark Halperin crowing that Barack Obama was given favorable treatment by the press. You guys need to stop.

And you, Chris, remember that column, you a so-called mainstream media reporter, hailing Matt Drudge, as the go to person for news? Not surprisingly, Halperin says Drudge is the next Walter Cronkite. Say what? How far we've fallen!

Is it any wonder we are faced with Iraq and this debacle that is the economy?

Go back and review Drudge during the campaign, and see how eagerly he tried to change the narrative, but fell flat.

Go figure!!

Posted by: askpeabody@cox.net | November 26, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Yes he has a mandate. But mandates come in various sizes. I think he can push through 2-3 big ideas from the center-left, and maybe one big liberal idea. Beyond that he does need to push through mostly ideas from the middle. I'm a progressive by the way, not a mushy moderate, but I am also pragmatic. If he pushed through any of 2-3 center left ideas (alternate energy, public works, increase access to healthcare, withdrawl from Iraq) and one big libeal idea (union card checks, end the federal funding ban on stem cell reasearch), I think he would be safe to compromise on just about every other issue.

But the very question of "does he have a mandate" is insulting. Winning by more then 5% in a contested election is a mandate. Large margins in both houses is a governing coalition. To even ask this question in a insult to an educated reader' intelligence.

Posted by: dopper0189 | November 26, 2008 8:09 AM | Report abuse

I believe 7 million more people voted for Obama than voted for McCain. The electoral college numbers are of landslide proportions. But, the most important indicator of a mandate is the fact that 70 percent of the people think the country is going in the wrong direction-even many Republicans. The wrong direction has more to do with Bush policies than Bush the person who is difficult to dislike. Obama has a mandate to change our foreign policy, our economic policy, our health care policies. People seem to be to hung up on his appointments not being real change as if he is going to snatch some 22 year old Political Science major off a college campus and make him/her secretary of some major government agency. The change will come from new thinking and leadership. The people Obama is appointing are not ideologues like the Bush appointments. They will follow Obama's lead. His management style will be inclusive and all stakeholders will be involved in the decision process. Once the decision is made they will carry it out. This is real change! Contrast that with Bush who had a very small circle of advisers and when they made a decision no one knew enough about the rationale to successfully implement the policy. Obama has a mandate to make these changes.

Posted by: cdierd1944 | November 26, 2008 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Of course there's mandate for reform. Remember that McCain spent a lot of time running against Bush, too. There really is no constituency for the disastrous status quo that Bush brought us.

Posted by: david6 | November 26, 2008 7:59 AM | Report abuse

I consider the Obama election victory a "mandate" from the electorate to change the direction, focus and operational process of the federal government -- to bring the nation's priorities away from the phoney "war" smokescreen that Bush used to cover his administration's fumbling, bumbling and often tragic mis-handling of foreign and domestic affairs.

The mandate, so called, is a tenuous reward however as the current Republican administration has nearly upended our economy by driving us into a very deep ditch. The reaction of American voters to the current Administration added to the intensity of their embrace of change.

It will take strong, bold and clearly understood policy to get us back on to the road toward a safe and prosperous future. Doing that will require that the American people suspend their angry distrust of government and help to push toward change -- in nearly everything that Bush and his foolish and stupid "conservative" friends permitted to happen on his watch.

As I taught my graduate students for many years -- look for dis-satisfaction with the status quo if you really want a measure of the pressure for social/organizational change. They are inversely proportional.

Posted by: gandalfthegrey | November 26, 2008 7:57 AM | Report abuse

of course, barack obama has a mandate. i remember how quickly the wdc commentariate fell in line to parrot idiot son's claims. and now, curiously, you question whether obama's decisive electoral victory earns the same...

Posted by: mycomment | November 26, 2008 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Looking at the last few elections, Obama certainly has an impressive mandate. He won more votes than any other presidential candidate in history, got an impressive electoral vote total, won some red states (VA, IN, NC) that had not gone blue in a long time, took all the big EV states except TX and GA and gained seats for his party in both houses of congress. All this in the face of being called a socialist or worse by the opposition. Oh and of course he did all that while being black. If Obama does not have a mandate,what president ever would?

Posted by: dave8459 | November 26, 2008 7:42 AM | Report abuse

The mandate was not for Obama..it was against Bush. We must also remember that voters were inspired by this 'moment in history' aspect - which has still eluded me. Add to that: McCain and Palin - only the most fervent supporters would say today..I really wished John and Sarah were going to the White House. I voted for them, but I won't miss them too much, they could have beaten themselves - not sure why Obama wasted his money!

Posted by: newbeeboy | November 26, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Of course he has a mandate. If George W. Bush can proclaim a mandate with 50.7 of the vote in 2004, then Obama most certainly does have a mandate. I don't remember the media scrutinizing Bush's "mandate" declaration in 2004, so why all the scrutiny now of Obama's comment when he won by a larger margin?

Posted by: DJShay | November 26, 2008 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Chris you're spot on in that this election wasn't a landslide or even that one sided. Ronald Reagan's 1984 election was.

There is no real mandate, because there were no clear stances from Pres-elect Obama. Let's just hope he does a decent job and let's see where we stand 1, 2, and 3 years from now.

Posted by: kolbkl | November 26, 2008 7:27 AM | Report abuse

52.6% of the vote, after having about 3 times his opponents money, the most favorable press coverage in history, a old and unloved opponent, who didn't even have the support of his own party, the most unpopular and basically invisible President in a century, two unpopular wars, and an economy in total and absolute freefall the likes of which we have not seen since the great depression....

and he only got 52.6% of the vote.

Mandate my butt.

Posted by: idiparker | November 26, 2008 7:12 AM | Report abuse

The question is, mandate to do WHAT?

Obama won a change election, which was mostly a mandate to get rid of Bush. Mission accomplished. Perhaps he can also claim a mandate to "fix" the economy and end the Iraq war (the other 2 big election issues)... but Obama must be careful not to over-reach.

If 'mandate' becomes an excuse to enact legislation rather than the driving force behind it, then the voters will ALWAYS claim revenge at the next available opportunity.

Posted by: Boutan | November 26, 2008 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Tru dat mudrock. Obama isn't even sworn in yet and already its clear Americans chose well. He has already drawn praise from left and right for staff appointments as well as projecting confidence and fairness. Close your eyes and picture how Hillary, McCain/Palin, Bush, or anyone else for that matter would approach this current mess we're in. No one compares. I am still furious at how Bush took a popular vote loss and tried to spin it into a mandate to force extreme right wing ideology onto this country.

Posted by: JohnDoug | November 26, 2008 7:08 AM | Report abuse

It is a mandate for change in a number of ways. Obama converted a number of states from red to blue, underlining voter dissatisfaction with the Republican status quo. Additionally, there are at least 7 new Democratic senators and 20 congress members further bolstering the Democratic majority.

It is also a mandate for a new generation to take over. The age difference between Obama and McCain was stark, evidenced in their approach to everything from offering solutions to running their campaigns.

In contrast to Clinton and W, Obama will not have the luxury of choosing which issue to address with his mandate. As he's inherited a mess on nearly all fronts, he and his administration will do well to keep their head above water in his first year in office..

Posted by: RickJ | November 26, 2008 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely Obama scored a mandate in the recent election. I would be curious to see the results had the race been colorblind.

Posted by: Mudrock63 | November 26, 2008 6:13 AM | Report abuse

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