Did President Bush Receive a Mandate?





Mr. Safranski is an educational consultant to secondary schools. He frequently writes about the military.

In the aftermath of the 2004 re-election of President Bush a debate has erupted on whether his margin of victory at the polls over Senator Kerry constituted a " mandate". In terms of American foreign policy, the voters may have determined that the 2004 election constitutes if not a "landslide" for George W. Bush, then a "landmark" where a fundamental shift in American policy in world affairs has been ratified and consolidated.

Previous presidential elections that both hinged on foreign policy questions and ratified a doctrinal change in direction for the nation have been relatively rare in American history. More often, the voters elect to use the ballot box to check or moderate attempts at drastic change. Woodrow Wilson was not only rebuffed by the U.S. Senate on the treaty of Versailles but conservative Republicans who advocated a policy of far more limited engagement in world affairs-- "normalcy"-- triumphed at the polls in 1920. Détente with the Soviet Union, which had been pursued by Jimmy Carter coupled with his strong criticism of the often loathsome human rights records of friendly, right-wing, dictatorships, was rejected by American voters in 1980, who preferred Ronald Reagan's more strident anticommunist rhetoric.

Where voters have ratified new foreign policies in presidential elections the effect has been to inaugurate an era of American activity in world affairs and institutionalize the new policy as the status quo. The election of James K. Polk on an unabashedly expansionist Manifest Destiny platform was a vote for national greatness even at the cost of war -- something Polk quickly got down to business provoking with Mexico. This shift to actively expanding the boundaries of American power was interrupted by the Civil War and Reconstruction but resumed in the 1890's when Imperialism came into fashion. The process continued in various guises -- Open Door, the Roosevelt Corollary, Dollar Diplomacy, and Wilsonianism -- until isolationist retrenchment began in 1920.

A less obvious example of ratification would be the election of Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. President Truman had boldly initiated George Kennan's containment strategy as national policy under his Truman Doctrine and built or strengthened the entire architecture of the postwar West -- the UN, NATO, the Marshall Plan, the Coal-Steel Community, the IMF, the World Bank and so on. The Federal government was reengineered to carry out the task of fighting Communism; the armed services were fused into the Department of Defense, the CIA and NSC were created to guard national security. It is generally forgotten that containment as articulated by Kennan, Paul Nitze and Dean Acheson faced powerful critiques at home from such diverse figures as Robert Taft, Walter Lippmann and Henry Wallace. Instead of abandoning containment or trimming the sails, the Eisenhower administration opted to embrace Truman's general foreign policy and institutionalize it, politically marginalizing containment's critics for a generation.

It is impossible to say whether or not Senator Kerry would have played Dwight Eisenhower to George Bush's Harry Truman or opted, like Ronald Reagan, to change course in foreign policy to a more traditional stance. Mr. Bush now has the luxury of widening or narrowing the parameters of his foreign policy which has been based on the National Security Strategy of the United States -- a blueprint deeply influenced by the analysis of neoconservative thinkers. Most controversially, the hotly debated "Bush Doctrine" of preemption which is opposed by several key American allies and important regional powers such as China.

President Bush has a freer than normal hand in this regard not only because of his election victory which has already sparked calls for reconciliation in Europe but the paucity of competing visions at home. Liberal antiwar critics have excoriated the Bush Doctrine and the Iraq War in moral terms, unambiguously rejecting both the policy and the need for a war stance to fight terrorism. Bipartisan establishment figures of the realist school of thought like John Mearshimer have listed their foreign policy criticisms in detail but ultimately have argued for a return to the pre-9/11 status quo of the Clinton years. Leftists and paleoconservatives like Paul Schroeder have condemned Bush policy as a quest for " empire"; a position completely without resonance with the voting public as it is empty of practical policy solutions.

One viable foreign policy strategy in which both the Bush Department of Defense and the Kerry campaign expressed interest has been outlined in a new book, The Pentagon's New Map, by Naval War College professor and DoD consultant Thomas P.M. Barnett. Barnett postulates that the causative factor in many foreign policy problems from terror to WMD proliferation to failed states emanate from a region of the world he terms "the Non-Integrating Gap." The Gap is a mostly but not exclusively Third World regimes that have so far resisted the "connectivity" of economic and information integration provided by globalization (and promoted by the advanced, industrialized "Core" represented by the G8, India, China and a handful of other states).

The strategy for success -- a "future worth creating" in Barnett's words -- lies not in perpetual wars for perpetual peace but in connecting the Gap to the Core and establishing Core "Rule-sets" regarding market liberalization, the rule of law, information and capital flows, human rights and the functioning elements of civil society. Intervention in troubled Gap states comes in two forms: (1) "Leviathan," overwhelming force to crush outlaw regimes which the United States does very well but the rest of the Core does not and (2) "System Administration," the reconstruction, peacekeeping, mentoring, "nation-building" tasks that the rest of the Core excel at but the American military is not currently designed to execute well. It's a far more multilateral and holistic strategy than the Bush approach that does not see military action narrowly in isolation but only in the context of everything else.

The actions the Bush administration takes in the next six months to a year in Iraq, with our NATO allies, China, the UN and the pursuit of al Qaeda will most likely decide the direction American foreign policy for the next several decades. Having been generally supportive of the new Bush Doctrine thus far I'm hopeful that the second Bush administration will consider a far greater engagement with our allies where possible. The unilateral approach has its uses, but is running into the law of diminishing returns and is facing increased resistance from governments whose help America needs in order to succeed in defeating al Qaeda and spreading liberalization and democracy. Examining more positive but congruent strategies like the one outlined in The Pentagon's New Map would be a worthwhile investment of time and help transform the Bush Doctrine into a form our allies and states like China could welcome rather than fear.



comments powered by Disqus

More Comments:


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


To have a "mandate" it is necessary to have policies and the authority to implement them. Alfred E. Neuman Bush ran on a campaign of fear-mongering and hot air, and Congress, not the President, makes laws under our not-yet repealed Constitution. Just today, this pretend leader was spouting his typical Rovian crap about the "duties handed to us by 9-11", as though our country's agenda is to be determined by fanatics in the caves of Northwest Pakistan.

There is little evidence that the 51% of the voting electorate who were more against Kerry than they were against Cheney and Bush, are very excited, for example, about four more years of fake "democracy" in the Iraq Pottery Barn, or bogus plans to "reform" Social Security through a trivial privatization of a small part of it. Meanwhile, nobody has a filibuster-proof majority in Congress. Whether the neo-con maniacs are able to run roughshod or or not will depend more on the incidence of backbones in the Democratic Party than on the machinations of an incompetent president floundering around trying to deliver some results.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

By stone-thrower Heuisler


Dave Livingston - 1/7/2005

Charlie,

This is an education website? Baloney! It's a forum for propagandizing & reinforcing the Liberal mindset. Once I made the mistake of sending a contribute to support this wailing board for a tired and failed ideology.

As Dennis Prager said, a problem for most academics is that they're overgrown schoolchildren, who've been in school Kindergarten right through graduate school & as soon as they get done with school they turn around & reenter it & stay there in a "sheltered habitat," to quote Geo. Will, with never the opportunity to live & work in an adult environment, because they forever associate primarily with children.

That's why most academics are Liberals, they pampered poodles living & working in socialist (aka artifical & abnormal) environments need not deal with adult world problems in adult terms. As someone said, were academics to work in the private economy before scooting back into school, we'd have a conservative rather than Liberal set of academics. Perhaps.

After all, there seems to be a trend having developed in the political realm, conservatives having won in 2000, in 2002 & now again in 2004, that is decidedly at odds with the Liberal dream of an ever larger & more intrusive nanny gov't controlling every moment of each citizen's life from birth (really, conception) to death.

With both labor unions & the old media dying institutions & gov't on a short leash because we've a Republican controlled Administration & a Republican controlled Congress that leaves but one viable institution, the academy, under the Liberal thumb.

But as Geo. Will, once a university professor himself, says, the academy because of its political shrillness & its silliness (goofy ideas?)has marginalized itself in recent years. It now is listened to by the powers that be far less than it was a generation ago.


Dave Livingston - 1/7/2005

Adam,

Please explain to Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas & Ms. Rice if that, if one is black it is mandatory to be a political Liberal, if that is what you say.

I'd like to sit in on that discussion, were it to be held.

Liberalism is condescending and racist, as more & more non-whites are coming to realize. Which is why this time around Bush increased his share of the non-white vote. According to the Gallup News Service Bush received 22% of the non-white vote in '04. That was up from 17% in '00.


Dave Livingston - 1/7/2005

Did Bush receive a mandate? Yes, certainly. For one thing, in addition to winning the Electoral College vote, he is the first Presidential candidate since 1988 to win n absolute majority of the popular vote cast. In comparison, "Blue dress, "I didn't have sex with that woman," Willie" received barely 43% of the popular vote.

For another thing, he is the first President since 1936 winning reelection AND to see his party capture an increasing number of seats in BOTH the House & in the Senate.

Thirdly, he beat his opponent by more than 3 1/2 million votes.

Fourthly, he Protestant took more than 56% of the Catholic vote regardless his opponenet claims to be Catrholic.

In addition, he won the election by the will of the people despite a cvoncerted effort by much of the mass media to thwart his reelection, it going so far as to portray forged documents as valid in its attempt to prevent his reelection.

And there were those cooked, evidently deliberately designed & reported early exit poll reports released with the intention of discouraging Bush voters & encouraging Kerry voters especially in the Western U.S.

Nonetheless, Bush went on to receive more popular votes, 59,054,087, greater than 51% of the votes cast, than any Presidential candidate in our history. Bar none!

Moreover, Kerry made the centerpoint of his campaign his service in Viet-Nam and he campaigned hard among veterans & G.I.s, but still lost the majority of both groups' votes to Bush. Indeed, 60% of veterans voted for Bush.


Dave Livingston - 1/7/2005

Charles,

Once again you're left standing at the altar. The 3 1/2 million vote figure is an understatement. Both Washington & California have only recently gotten around to adding up their absentee ballots. As a consequence, Bush received many more than the earlier reported 59,054,087 votes I quoted.

Like it or not, the Republicans control not omnly the Presidency both the Hpouse & the Seanate, but also a majority of the various state legislatures and a majority of the governors, including the four largest states by population in the Union.

Bush & the Republicans are licensed to institute their agenda & they will do so. Get this: the Left lost BIGTIME!

As symbols of the Left's (& the old media's) shrinking clout are the "retirements" of Dan Rather, which of course had nothing to do with the forged documents which Rather used in his attempt to throw the election to boy Kerry, & Tom Brokaw.

Of course, the Left retains dominance in four areas: among gov't employees, in the old media, in the Academy & in inner city ghettos. It is a loser elsewhere in American life.

It is no accident that the new media of the internet & talk radio are dominated by conservatives. Most normal hard-working & tax-paying Americans won't support Leftist jasbber. That's why, few people will listen to it, Air America has to pay to have its propaganda aired & of course neither tax supported "NPR" nor "PBS" wouldn't last three weeks in the open marketplace without their huge gov't provided subsidies. In contrast, conservatives such as Dennis Prager & Rush Limbaugh are paid to share their opinions over the airwaves. They both draw huge listening crowds. Nor do "Toewnhall.com," "FrontpageMagazine.com," & their ilk have any difficulty in being self-supporting. In contrast, there is a dearth of popular Leftist websites & some of those, such as "HNN" wouldn't exist were it not for the support of the poor suffering tax-payer.

Nor is it any accident that the U.S., with a basically consevative populace, is the only nation with an advanced economy that has never had a Leftist led gov't.


Dave Livingston - 1/7/2005

The Dimmo-crats may guarantee that they'll remain out-of-power if they again nominate a Northeastern or Left Coast Liberal as their candidate in '08. Better yet if they again choose a lawyer. My bet is that after Dukakis & Kerry they will be dumb enough to try another of their ilk.

After all, the Jackass Party has declined from its stature as a national political party to but a regional one by permitting Leftist radicals to capture the party machinery & alienate conservative Democrats. That of course is why the South once solidly Democratic has in recent years become pained solidly red on the Red/Blue map. In the words of a very experienced Democratic politican, Zell Miller, once governor of & yet Senator from Ga. says it is "A National Party No More."


Dave Livingston - 1/7/2005

Ben,

Hyperbole? Eacgh & every factual number & percentage I listed was just that: factual. Bush indeed is the firsdt President since 1936 to to witness his party gain seats in both the House & in the Senate. Objective fact!

Ditto he's the first Presidential candidate ever to receive more than 59, probably more than 60 once all of the Left Coast's absentee ballots are counted, million votes. And ditto that he is indeed the first Presidential candiate since 1988 to receive an absolute majority of the popular vote cast.

Firstly Liberals bitched about the Electoral College being an out-of-date manner of electing our President, now that Bush won both the Electoral College & an absolute majority of the popular vote how now will the Left seek to invalidate his election?

Of course we've already seen bleating Leftist talking heads whining that haven't won the election Bush should forsake his supporters & reach out to the losers. Humbug!

This reminds that for the Left the only good conservative is a "moderate," which translates into meaning a Liberal of the ilk of Specter or Chafee.


Jonathan Pine - 12/8/2004

A rough hole requires a rough patch.


Bill Heuisler - 12/7/2004

Mr. Pine,
Steinbeck is far to profound for me - or for your poor ignorant "working man". But, perhaps, if I really tried, I could set forth on that wonderful sea of ambiguity and relativity you knowingly call fact. Reread your post, please, and find a firm idea or position on anything.

I notice you had no opinion of Shcherban's opinion, but were more than happy to classify mine and the President's.
When you have something of yourself to offer, let me know.
Otherwise, your half-baked platitudes waste my time.
Bill Heuisler


Jonathan Pine - 12/7/2004

Nothing ever is as it appears.


Jonathan Pine - 12/7/2004

Mr. Heuisler

Didn't think I’d rile you up that easily but the words you "fashioned" , regardless of their intent, lit up the radar screen when they burlesqued a trumpeting of righteousness ... immediately after having accused someone else of foaming at the mouth because you didn’t like their word choice.
had no intention of making a moral parable, just put an image across of the gritty down-to-earth landscape of the American mentality that hasn’t changed much in the heart-lands since Steinbeck wrote his novel in 1939. If you have understood this novel about the power system, still relevant today, you would see how easily it is to have a mandate in this country. But not the kind that you think. "comments about the ignorance of assigning collective ignorance?" You also assigned that collective ignorance when you responded to Mr. Shcherban's intolerant comment.
as far as castigating President Bush for his moral clarity . . . his moral clarity, if it exists, is only an assumption. If you know he has it for sure then you have a direct broadband connection with the Big Guy. But maybe you are flipping moral clarity with certainty that is based on reason. Or maybe you believe it has to do with divine insight but wearing a scientific labcoat to make divine insight legitimate. If true,
then there is no debate. The war between religion and secularism. maybe that’s what all the arguments for the working man boil down to at the end of the day on the mandate and most issues between left and radical right.


Bill Heuisler - 12/6/2004

Mr. Pine,
Neither Jesus nor reasonableness is my objective. Did the parable on moral relativity increase your self-esteem?
My response (and it was quite obviously fashioned as a response) was to Mr. Shcherban's intolerant comment on US voters and their President. Did you read it?

He said, "Ignorant, war criminal president being elected by ignorant Pan-Amerikana majority..." on 12/4 at 4:45.

Have you any comments about the ignorance of assigning collective ignorance? Or were you more interested in castigating President Bush for his moral clarity?
Bill Heuisler


carl davenport - 12/6/2004

I was responding to your statement that 'conservatives are still angry and hateful..' which is, at best, suspect of being a highly partisan reading of the mood of the conservatives, especially when contrasted against the accumulated bile, distortion, and blatant lying from Democrats that was, and still is, ongoing. Even, yes, after the election is over.

I would call the 'pot/kettle' comment an attempt to be cute, not clever, but guilty anyway.

And finally, to address your party affiliation, long ago there was another 'cute' (or clever) statement that went:
'If it walks like a duck, and sounds like a duck...'


Jonathan Pine - 12/6/2004

Mr. Heuisler...

"Ignorance of the Godless, bloody progression of Socialism across human history is nearly as benighted as ignorance of a plague of Islamic Imperialism killing Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Coptics, Serbs, East Indians Lebanese and any other indigenous peoples in the name of God since the Seventh Century. Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and Hussein were war criminals." You can lay down a long line foaming and biting yourself I see . . .

You forgot to add the bloody progression of the development of Christianity . . . how the Spanish came to the New Land to subject the indigenous population to their one and only holy truth . . . how the white man has all but extinguished the original inhabitants of this country . . . and more endless ignorance disguised as arrogance and "truth". "Ignorance of the Godless" … said like a true Jesus jumper right out of Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. Where is your reasonableness or tolerance.

As far a mandates go Bush (if he only could) could take some lessons from Shakespeare’s plays, that the world is full of nuances and uncertainties, that leaders self-destruct when they are too rigid, too sure of themselves and too intoxicated by moral clarity.


Jonathan Pine - 12/6/2004

No, you don’t get it. Everyone knows what Political Correctness means. And your phrase 'racial Africans' (is that supposed to mean Africans that are racial-I’m sure you have a lecture for that too) is this a hang-up thing about being politically correct? It's better to say what you mean to begin with instead trying to appear clever. The point of the question has now devolved into how you equate a Republican not recognizing the substitution of the phrase Afro-American for 'pot black' as something stupid. Assuming I was a Liberal you made that condescending post to start a brawl instead of addressing maybe why you think there is a mandate.


carl davenport - 12/6/2004

What question?.. Do you still mean 'what's Afro-American got to do with anything?'

Well, you see, first there were 'darkies', then 'colored', then 'Negro', (and always the 'N-word') then 'black', and currently (unless I'm behind the times) 'Afro-American'. Each previous usage eventually came to be seen as denigrating, and was supplanted by the one following.

This phenomenon is said to be 'Political Correctness', in some circles.

Now in order to comply with what I believe to be current usage in reference to racial Africans, I paraphrased the cliche' 'that's the pot calling the kettle black', by changing the last word to 'Afro-American'. Get it, now?

Just in case it's still unclear, one might observe that both a pot and a kettle hanging over an open fire will tend to get equally black (on the bottom), and therefore for one to chide the other for being black (or Afro-American) is, at best, ingenious.

I trust you are now at ease.


Jonathan Pine - 12/6/2004

You still haven't answered the question.


Bill Heuisler - 12/5/2004

Ignorant of what, Mr. Shcherban?
Ignorance of the Godless, bloody progression of Socialism across human history is nearly as benighted as ignorance of a plague of Islamic Imperialism killing Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Coptics, Serbs, East Indians Lebanese and any other indigenous peoples in the name of God since the Seventh Century. Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and Hussein were war criminals. The common trait was dictatorial Socialism and a disdain for the common man while pretending to act in his behalf.

Your disdain for the proletarian American voter and use of the words "war criminal" and the K America spelling betray you as more - and less - than you've pretended
during your rather more reasonable discussions with me.
Sometimes the rabid Utopiate can't resist foaming and biting even when he knows he's nearly extinct. Too bad.
Bill Heuisler


carl davenport - 12/5/2004

Oh.. Maybe that's why you didn't recognize the P.C. usage of 'Afro-American' instead of black..


Jonathan Pine - 12/5/2004

What's Afro-American have to do with this? And I'm a Republican.


carl davenport - 12/4/2004

A fine example of the pot calling the kettle Afro-American..

What bothers me is the continued liberal carping about... everything..


Arnold Shcherban - 12/4/2004

Ignorant, war criminal president being elected by ignorant Pan-Amerikana majority...


Jonathan Pine - 12/4/2004

Most conservatives are still angry and hateful people even after the election went in their favor. Why? I think this is because consciously or subconsciously they realize that half the country did not vote for the Cheney-Bush junta, and that there actually isn't mandate. The neo-nuts know this.


Derek Charles Catsam - 12/3/2004

I think Dave does not know what the word "dearth" means. I also think he has no idea how funding for education or websites works. I also get the sense that he would hate to have the fact pointed out to him that on the whole, Blue States pretty much pay disproportionate taxes so that Red Staters can suckle at the teat of federal largesse that they then can deride. Red States, and particularly the most conservative ones, are takers. Blue States, especially the most liberal ones, are givers in this system. And one cannot deride elitist middle class professors on the one hand if one does not want to acknowledge the taxes that we pay, which are fairly substantial.
dc


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 12/3/2004

1) “Bush & the Republicans are licensed to institute their agenda & they will do so. Get this: the Left lost BIGTIME!”

The left did indeed lose but big time? I think we all know that had Bush won by a single vote, and the Republicans controlled the Congress by a single Representative, you would be making the same boastful claims. Personally, I am with you, I hope the Republicans do try to institute their agenda. After all, remember the Contract with America? The Republicans thought that the revolution in 1994 gave them the mandate to push through a radical conservative agenda. Guess what? They lost the House in 2 years because Americans didn’t like what they were seeing. They won later, as did Bush because ultimately, regardless of what the rhetoric says, they moved towards the middle.

http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/time/1998/11/09/election.html

2) “As symbols of the Left's (& the old media's) shrinking clout are the "retirements" of Dan Rather, which of course had nothing to do with the forged documents which Rather used in his attempt to throw the election to boy Kerry, & Tom Brokaw.”

Dan Rather was a symbol of the left? As a liberal myself, I don’t recall seeing him on my cereal boxes. Aside from the one isolated, inappropriate, and ridiculously overused example of the documents (which did nothing but help Bush, I might ad) any other examples you care to name?

3) “Of course, the Left retains dominance in four areas: among gov't employees, in the old media, in the Academy & in inner city ghettos. It is a loser elsewhere in American life.”

So basically, all those “lesser folk” such as teachers, postal workers, police officers, fire fighters, most of the administration who comes from academia, and of course… black people. What the heck is the “old media” anyway?

By the way, Almost half of this country disagrees with you, and voted for John Kerry.

4) “Most normal hard-working & tax-paying Americans won't support Leftist jasbber.”

I am not sure whether to be offended or amused that there are people out there who actually believe this (or are you really just a liberal Dave posting these obscene rants to make conservatives look bad… it’s ok, you can tell). So now those police officers and fire fighters who keep you safe, the teachers who educate this country, the construction workers who put up traffic lights and fill potholes, the garbage men who clean your trash out, and almost half of this entire country aren’t “normal” (whatever that means), and don’t pay taxes? Wow. No wonder you are so angry with liberals. Since all of those people who voted for Kerry and work for the government don’t pay taxes, guess that pretty much leave Texas, and some other Southern states paying for everything!

5) “In contrast, there is a dearth of popular Leftist websites & some of those, such as "HNN" wouldn't exist were it not for the support of the poor suffering tax-payer.”

Wow, pretty compelling argument. Good thing that liberal books highly critical of Republicans and conservatives don’t make the best seller lists all the time, otherwise it might throw a kink into your argument. Of course we both know that liberal books and magazines are as popular as conservatives one’s. The reason for conservative control over the media (and I am so glad you have finally come around to admitting it by the way) is simply good planning and a grass roots effort on the part of conservatives to tap an untapped area in the late 1980’s. However, as the election results for the past 2 elections clearly show, this country is pretty evenly divided.

6) “Nor is it any accident that the U.S., with a basically consevative populace, is the only nation with an advanced economy that has never had a Leftist led gov't.”

I support that depends on what you mean by “leftists.” If you are saying that we are conservative because we are not Socialists, then I would agree 100%. However, I never realized that your definition of liberalism was so exclusive. Maybe you are a liberal but just call yourself a conservative because of how you define liberalism, who knows? Certainly, the US is more conservative than Canada or Europe, but are you saying that we have never had a liberal president or Congress?

7) “After all, the Jackass Party has declined from its stature as a national political party to but a regional one by permitting Leftist radicals to capture the party machinery & alienate conservative Democrats.”

The Democrats are starting to resemble a regional party, but guess what? That is where most of the nations population is. Fortunately for we liberals, only humans get to vote and not land mass. Thus as much as you may dislike it, more PEOPLE voted for Gore than for Bush, even though the map looked pretty red. And ALMOST as many people voted for Kerry as for Bush, even though the map looked the same way.

8) “That of course is why the South once solidly Democratic has in recent years become pained solidly red on the Red/Blue map.”

Actually, you are right on this count. Had it not been for radical lefts who wanted to give blacks equal rights, let them go to school with whites, and (gasp) let them vote, the South would be as blue as can be. When Johnson told his staff that the Democrats just lost the South for a generation after just signing the Civil Rights Act, he was correct. It is to their shame.

9) “Bush indeed is the firsdt President since 1936 to to witness his party gain seats in both the House & in the Senate. Objective fact!”

Nor does anyone dispute it.

10) “Ditto he's the first Presidential candidate ever to receive more than 59, probably more than 60 once all of the Left Coast's absentee ballots are counted, million votes. And ditto that he is indeed the first Presidential candiate since 1988 to receive an absolute majority of the popular vote cast.”

Also true, and had he ran unopposed, this would be sure to impress anyone that the Republicans will forever rule this nation. However, believe it or not, Bush beat his opponent by only 3%. Bush could have gotten 100 million votes but if his opponent got 100 million minus 3%, it would still be a narrow win.

11) “Firstly Liberals bitched about the Electoral College being an out-of-date manner of electing our President, now that Bush won both the Electoral College & an absolute majority of the popular vote how now will the Left seek to invalidate his election?”

Do you have any evidence that this is the case or is this just another unfounded conspiracy theory? Furthermore, who bitched about the electoral college? Certainly not me, nor did many others. I did believe that the 2000 victory was undeserved, but not because of the electoral college system.

12) “Of course we've already seen bleating Leftist talking heads whining that haven't won the election Bush should forsake his supporters & reach out to the losers. Humbug!”

Yeah, all those liberals sure are out of their minds. How about that liberal who said in 2000 that “The president of the United States is the president of every single American, of every race and every background” and that Bush would serve our interest whether you voted for him or not. The fool! How about when Bush won for the second time, and some liberal said that Bush needed the support of liberals and that he would have to earn their trust! HA! Oh wait… yeah that was all Bush who said that.

Clearly, he does not agree with you that the narrow winner of a close election should behave like a child and simply laugh at his opponents and ram through a platform that half the nation disagrees with.

After 2000, Bush embraced education reform, Medicare reform, and pushed for an image of compassion. I wish he had taken your advice and simply given 50% of America the finger. Perhaps then, he would not have the opportunity to be so gracious today.


Andrew D. Todd - 12/3/2004

That's the point. You want to count Lincoln Chaffee's vote, but you don't want to count his politics, and you aren't prepared to face the fact that the people who elected Chaffee also voted for Gore and for Kerry. In Rhode Island, it was a case of Bush riding on Chaffee's coat-tails, not the other way around. By the time you get done purging a dozen or so liberal and moderate Republican senators, you aren't going to have a senatorial majority anymore.

In fact, the president cannot even control his own henchmen. The probable result will be that they will sabotage Chaffee in the Republican Primary in 2006. There are so few Republicans in Rhode Island that the Primary is comparatively easy to manipulate. The winner of the Republican Primary chosen by Karl Rove will be someone substantially to the right of Trent Lott, a carpetbagger in reverse. Naturally the democratic candidate will demolish this carpetbagger, the way Barak Obama wiped the floor with Alan Keyes.


Ben H. Severance - 12/2/2004

Derek,

All excellent refutations of Dave's unabashed hyperbole, but Bush does have something akin to a mandate. Given his controversial minority win in 2000 and his heavily (and justly) criticized first term, Bush and the Republicans have to see the outcome of 2004 as a kind of vindication. If he was radical without a "mandate" in 2000, you can be damn sure he'll be radical with a narrow majority in 2004. As for his lame-duck status, I don't see that affecting policy until after the 2006 Congressional elections. Sadly, this nation must endure at least two more years of Neo-Con recklessness and folly.


Derek Charles Catsam - 12/2/2004

Sorry Dave. Bush won. That does not mean that he has a mandate in any meaninful sense of the word.

You mention 3.5 million votes as if this were 1948. 3.5 million is pretty slim given the numbers we are dealing with. Ditto with your argument about the numbers of votes he received. By this matrix, two of the most popular men ever to run for president are John Kerry and Al Gore. Your argument is like that of someone who thinks it is of value to compare golfers based on their earnings or movies based on their take. I hope the rudiments of population growth and inflation are not lost on you.

Bush also received the slimmest margin of victory of any candidate running for reelection since 1916. Further, i am not certain how we can yet discern the precise numbers of Catholics who voted for Bush (except by the much maligned exit polls), but looking at a minmority segment of the population and discerning a mandate from that minority is rather curious. Kerry won African Americans by 75%. Does this mean that he has a mnadate? Of course not.
Yes, Bush won the election based on the will of the people. Nice boilerplate. Every president who wins an election does so unless he does not win the popular vote. What does this have to do with a mandate? And the media argument is just inane. It plays well to your side of the aisle despite the fact that it is not true. The election is over -- no need to bend the truth any more.

And beyond that, it is rather hard for a second term president to claim too much of a mandate post-22nd amendment, because within months, his lame duck status will kick in.

dc

Subscribe to our mailing list