Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 3, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

MANDATE....I hate to say this, but I hope liberals quit whining about George Bush's "mandate." It may be a narrow one, but of course he won a mandate. We've all been saying for months now that this election was a referendum on the incumbent, and the incumbent won the electoral college, won the popular vote by nearly 4 million votes, picked up four Senate seats, tossed out the Democratic leader in the Senate, and picked up a few more House seats for good measure. If the results had gone the other way, we'd be talking about them as a clear repudiation of Bush and everything he stood for.

Needless to say, this doesn't mean we should just mope around and let the Republican party run the country unopposed. At the same time, though, it doesn't help to be in denial: the fact is that Bush did win a convincing victory, and he did it because more Americans agreed with his vision for the country than agreed with ours. Our job now is to try to change that, not to pretend that it never happened.

UPDATE: The comment section is its usual rollicking self, which is fine. However, let's not get hung up on semantics: I called it a "narrow" mandate, not a sweeping mandate, and if your only objection is to the word itself, I don't mind if you choose another one. But one way or another, Bush did convince a decisive majority of Americans that his vision was better than ours.

Having said that, though, I'll repeat something I said a few days ago: I wouldn't be at all surprised if Bush makes the same mistake Newt Gingrich did in 1994 and interprets this as a mandate for radical conservative change. It wasn't, and if he overreaches I imagine he'll meet the same fate Gingrich did.

Kevin Drum 10:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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