Drizzling on the Parade: 6 - 7 Percent Does NOT A Mandate Make!

Not enough of a mandate, anyway.

Yes, the margin is greater than that enjoyed by any Democrat since LBJ's 18-point margin in '64. But, to actually achieve the REAL "change" he ran on (in the unlikely event that such "change" was EVER on the agenda of the resurgent Dims; I'll give Obama himself a temporary 'benefit of the doubt'), would have required a margin of Johnsonian/Rooseveltian proportions. FDR garnered a 16-point spread in '32, 28 points in '36. It was this wide, deep, overwhelming popular support that enabled FDR to extract such concessions as he did (which, in the end, weren't very much, really) from the plutocrats and oligarchs who were even then bent of reducing any pretensions of USer 'democracy' to an historical footnote, and who have labored tirelessly--and VERY effectively ever since--to reverse, or incapacitate, or eviscerate all the popular the programs FDR set in place, albeit they diminished the power of the elites only even ever so marginally. LBJ's 18-point margin made it possible for him even to CONSIDER the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts, which would have been even politically untenable with less of a popular mandate.

Obama faces problems even more pressing than those LBJ confronted, and almost as severe as those FDR had to face. And he doesn't have enough of a mandate to fix them.

............More Mist On The Jump...............

To enact change of ANY significance, BHO needed at LEAST a 10-point margin (and 15 points would have been a THOUSAND percent better). Five or 6 million votes out of more than a reported 130 million votes cast is a fart in a windstorm. "Electoral Vote" majorities are meaningless, since they can be won with a one-vote margin as well as with a 200,000-vote margin. Electoral votes are not reliable indices of the popular will, but only of a particular peculiarity of the USer political system, which was in any case designed to LIMIT the effects of the popular voice and the power of the popular vote.

In order to motivate and energize his base and to capture the necessary number of Independents, Obama HAD to make a LOT of promises he has NO FUCKING WAY of keeping. At the same time, he had to avoid making many promises that he COULD or MIGHT keep--except that by doing so he would discommode the financial (versus the 'popular') interests whose support he enjoyed. We need to recall that, while just about half of his campaign war chest came from "individual donors," the OTHER half came from 'CorpoRat interests' that are positioned--as 'popular interests' are not and never can be positioned--to claim the preferences he implicitly (via his record, which was ANYTHING BUT 'LIBERAL") promised them as the pro quo for the quiddity of their endorsements and financial support. He led the recent "Big Banker's Bail-out," remember, and acted to stiff the 'people' when it might have mattered. He favored the interests of Big Bidness on the FISA bill, too. These weren't the first times in his short career he had done so, either. We can safely predict he will stiff the people; he WON'T stiff the bankers, if (when, inevitably, as he has already readily and repeatedly shown) the "push" comes to "shove."

Here's where the 'benefit of the doubt' comes in: Obama's not morally culpable for his failures...no, that's not right. He's not POLITICALLY culpable for the failures that will attend him. He'll fail on ALL the big things. He won't get--won't even try to get--Universal Health Care; he won't end US universal militarism, just relocate it; he won't boost alternative energy to parity with the conventional energy industry in terms of tax-code protections, incentives or out-right grants, and probably he won't restore many of the rights and liberties stolen from the people by the busheviks and a compliant, complicit Congress under the rubric of "national security."

But he won't do those things out of a lack of will or political courage. He won't do them because 6 or 7 points is not anywhere near a sufficient mandate to overturn his politician's innate caution, and fear of alienating the really POWERFUL members of his constituency. He needed at LEAST 60% of the popular vote to do what the people elected him to do, in the face of GOPuke intransigence and embedded corpoRat hostility to ANY change. While it is true that his campaign needed the contributions of the millions of individuals who sent them, it is also, and probably MORE, true that he couldn't have won without the donations and the support of the CorpoRats.

And they're in a much better position to remind him of his debt to them than are those millions of people who sent in their hard-earned sheckels.

Aye, there's the rub...

Tags: Post-election Analysis (all tags)

Comments

22 Comments

Didn't Bush Have a Mandate in '04

    Q: Bob Novak, is 51 percent of the vote really a mandate?

   NOVAK: Of course it is. It's a 3.5 million vote margin. But the people who are saying that it isn't a mandate are the same people who were predicting that John Kerry would win. ... So the people who say there's not a mandate want the president, now that he's won, to say, Oh, we're going to accept the liberalism that the -- that the voters rejected. But Mark, this is a conservative country, and it showed it on last Tuesday. [11/06/04]

Yeah, we got a Mandate, anyone who disagrees, tough take it up with voters in 2010.

by TruthMatters 2008-11-06 10:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Didn't Bush Have a Mandate in '04

And look at what that hypocrite said yesterday in his column:

When Franklin D. Roosevelt won his second term for president in 1936, the defeated Republican candidate, Gov. Alf Landon of Kansas, won only two states, Maine and Vermont, and Democrats controlled both houses of Congress by wide margins.

But Obama's win was nothing like that. He may have opened the door to enactment of the long-deferred liberal agenda, but he neither received a broad mandate from the public nor the needed large congressional majorities.

The Democrats fell several votes short of the 60-vote filibuster-proof Senate that they were seeking and also failed to get rid of a key Senate target: Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.


http://www.suntimes.com/news/novak/12606 88,CST-NWS-novak05.article

Oh, yeah, and a 7.7 million vote difference, Novak. Twice as much as your suck ass president.

by skohayes 2008-11-06 01:28PM | 0 recs
Will Obama win Omaha?

The Omaha World-Herald is projecting that Obama will carry the Omaha congressional district and steal one electoral vote from Nebraska.

Reagan won 50 percent of the vote, and by 9 percentage points. Democrats retained control of the House of Representatives. Reagan had a mandate. A seven point victory, which included one electoral vote from Omaha, is a big enough mandate if the Democrats have courage.

Of course it will help if Obama can persuade some Republicans to go along with his policies.

by Zzyzzy 2008-11-06 11:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Drizzling on the Parade

Woody, you sound like the Republicans on the teevee talking about how the mandate was that Obama needs to run the country from a center right perspective.
After months of calling him the "most liberal Senator" in the Congress, a socialist, and a marxist, all of a sudden that socialistic platform he's been running has become the same as the Republicans!

Mike Duncan, chairman of the RNC- YESTERDAY:

In all, with Barack Obama's promises to cut taxes, merit pay for public school teachers, and renewed offshore drilling, I would say he simply ran the most successful moderate Republican presidential campaign since Dwight Eisenhower.

You and the Repubs are so funny!

by skohayes 2008-11-06 11:04AM | 0 recs
It will be more than 7%

There are still millions of votes left to count on the west coast.

by mo 2008-11-06 11:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Drizzling on the Parade: 6 - 7 Percent Does NO

It is what it is. It's the hand we got dealt.

It's up to us to make the "mandate". We have enough to make some solid success and show progress. In 2010 and 2012 we can build on that and expand that margin, popular and electoral vote.

We need to keep working and organizing so we can help Obama achieve what we elected him to achieve. It wouldn't be easy even it had been a landslide. Republicans and conservatives can still fight, and will. They are already organizing and regrouping.

"No Final Victories"

The work continues.

by meddembob 2008-11-06 11:16AM | 0 recs
Dingelling on the Parade

Since we're all confused about whether this was a mandate or not, let me make a suggestion.  Let's hold a national vote to see whether the country really wants to go in a new direction.  We can set up a contest in which two representatives with opposing ideologies compete for votes by making arguments about how to best govern the country.  Whoever gets the most votes has a mandate to move the country in the direction as they described it during this contest.

Muffled voices from offstage.

Oh.  Heh heh.  Of course.  Heh heh.  Never mind.

by the mollusk 2008-11-06 11:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Dingelling on the Parade
LOL!! Great post!
Still chuckling....
by skohayes 2008-11-06 01:16PM | 0 recs
Re:

Right-wingers like this diarist are too funny.  They insisted for months that ALL polls were false, that McCain would win easily because (snicker) he brought Sarah "Neiman Marcus" Palin on board.  Then they insisted that Pennsylvania was easily in the bag because people would come out and show how racist they are in the voting booth.   Wrong on all counts.

Now these same yokels are claiming "there is no mandate."  They are panicked because their significance, which had virtually vanished in 2006, is now reduced to nothingness.  They are scared because they know what is about to come:

1. Obama has a HUGE mandate to do whatever it is he wants to do, because he is following in the footsteps of the least respected and least liked president in history.   The "honeymoon" will be longer and deeper than would usually be the case, because EVERYTHING will be measured against Bush, and Bush was so incredibly disliked by a vast majority of Americans that Obama will come out very well for just NOT BEING George Bush.   That will take him through the first 2 1/2 yrs. easily.

2. The economy, instead of an albatross, will be considered Obama's master achievement, something that makes up the right-wingers worst nightmare.  You see, initially people will give Obama a very long time to "fix" the economy, because they blame Bush, 20% polling Bush, for the economy's collapse.  But, within the next 3 years it is very likely that the economy recovers, as cyclical economies usually do.  Any uptick in economic performance from Jan. 20, 2009 until January 2011 will be credited SOLELY to Obama and the Democratic Congress.   I'll be honest here and say that usually presidents don't impact economic cycles much, if at all.  These cycles just happen, especially in the global economy we are finding ourselves in.  The cycle is likely to be in our favor after the recession lets up, and Obama and Democrats in Congress will reap the benefits.  

The mantra will be that Republicans are poison for our economy while Democrats are beneficial for it.  The bookends of the Clinton economy and the Obama economy, only interrupted by the disastrous Bush years, will make for a lasting impression that is likely to relegate the GOP even more to the sidelines.   Nighmarish scenario for Republicans, no doubt, but very realistic in a cyclic economic environment that is sure to improve well before the next election, as it always does following a recession.  

by devilrays 2008-11-06 11:32AM | 0 recs
What is a mandate?

Concern trolling aside, I think you have to break it down by issues. No, Obama doesn't have a huge mandate to do anything he wants. However, he has a HUGE mandate to a) get out of Iraq; b) institute some form of national healthcare; c) do something about energy independence/global warming; d) do something about access to higher education. On issue after issue, America polls with the Democrats by lopsided majorities. It's up to the new administration to pick it's battles wisely and lead America where it wants so badly to go. That, my friend, is a mandate you can believe in.

by 1arryb 2008-11-06 11:54AM | 0 recs
Mandates are meaningless

While I and others talk of mandates, the truth is that, even had Obama not scored a more significant majority than anyone since George H.W. Bush thrashed Dukakis, he would be an incredibly charismatic, history-making, and capable man, already beloved on the world stage.

The fact of the matter is that Obama has a headwind of positive opinion even from his enemies and a Congress who has suffered in the wilderness and will be extremely friendly to his ideas.

In short, Obama needs to do well, but your talk of mandates is laughably wrong.

by Dracomicron 2008-11-06 12:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Drizzling on the Parade: 6 - 7 Pe

Oh, it's a mandate all right.  That's proven by the down-tickets that got swept in too and the difference in the governing philosophy between the candidates.

Barack has a hunk of the people behind him and he has capital, not in the bank but banked in the people.  Just think of the emails if some Democratic congressperson decides to buck comprehensive immigration reform, or universal health care. They'll be thinking of that too, congress knows that we all want Barack to succeed and to deliver the promises he got more than 50 percent of the vote on.

Rain away, you're wrong, and I'd bet that you're glad to be wrong.  

by anna shane 2008-11-06 12:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Drizzling on the Parade:

Bush acted like he had a mandate with a minority vote after 2000.  I think these days a win is a mandate.  Period.

by Drummond 2008-11-06 12:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Drizzling on the Parade:

Actually, I've thought that one of Bush's worst decisions for his Presidency was that he thought he won by 6-7 points when actually it was a draw or a loss.  I think this, ultimately, is the reason he's at 25 % right now.  People feel like this isn't what they voted for and it sucks.

Hopefully Obama won't make an equally large mistake of winning by 6-7 points and governing like it was a tie.

by the mollusk 2008-11-06 12:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Drizzling on the Parade:

Oh, please. You don't think it was, well, because his governance sucked?

by 1arryb 2008-11-06 12:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Drizzling on the Parade:

It absolutely sucked.  But it sucked in part because he totally misread the country.  I'm not defending his policies in any way, I'm just talking perceptions and political fallout.  I think the polls showing him with >80 % approval in the years or so after 9/11 emboldened him to just go ahead and do whatever he damn well pleased.  That's not where the country was and now he's a total turkey.

by the mollusk 2008-11-06 12:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Drizzling on the Parade:

I think it's important to remember 9/11 here. Up until then, BushCo was treading fairly carefully and governing in a more (for a republican) populist vein (think no child left behind, prescription drugs). They took the mandate (which had nothing to do with their popularity at the polls) they received after the attack to pursue Bin Laden as a license to steal.

by 1arryb 2008-11-06 01:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Drizzling on the Parade:

Treading carefully?  Remember their bid to lower the arsenic standards in water? They tried to appoint to head of OSHA a guy who spend his career fighting such regulations, who mocked repetitive-stress injuries as an invention of union bosses and lazy people; they eliminated new regulations that had been many years in the making designed to help reduce such injuries for tens of thousands of workers. These are just a couple examples.

by Rob in Vermont 2008-11-07 03:56AM | 0 recs
Yes, and look where that attitude got Bush

"I've earned political capital and I intend to spend it."

Remember that little nugget from after the 2005 election?  Within six months he was falling. Within a year he was tanking badly.

I agree with a poster above that Obama has enough support for certain broad based initiatives.  The new president also has the good wishes of most of the country and the world.

But, the country still doesn't love the Democrats.  They just can't stand the Republicans.  Moderation and caution are needed here.

If our party behaves like the Democrats of the last couple of years (a nice hat tip to Pelosi) and the Democrats of the Clinton years, the country's impression that the Democrats can be trusted and are, on the whole, preferable at governance to the Republicans, will start to harden.  The country doesn't have to love Democrats and they don't have to become self-proclaimed liberals.  They just have to continue to trust our people more than the bankrupt Republicans and empty so called "conservative" governance they're always peddling.

by lombard 2008-11-06 02:10PM | 0 recs
6 - 7 Percent Does A Mandate Make!

6-7% is a pretty healthy mandate.

As long as he is center left he will be fine mandate wise.

by dtaylor2 2008-11-06 02:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Drizzling on the Parade: 6 - 7 Percent Does NO

You are a moron who has no idea What the hell you are talking about.   6-7 points, a big electoral win and large congressional gains mean a mandate.  You should not follow politics as you are too ignorant to understand it.

by yitbos96bb 2008-11-06 03:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Drizzling on the Parade: 6 - 7 Percent Does NO

It's not a mandate unless the Supreme Court hands you a victory.

by the mystical vortexes of sedona 2008-11-06 04:05PM | 0 recs

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