Young Democrats of Harford County

For Democrats of all ages and other like-minded folks in Harford County, Maryland.

Archive for November, 2008

Of course it’s a mandate

Posted by trumanesque on November 6, 2008

The rationalizing has already started from the right on Barack Obama’s decisive election to be the 44th President.  Although he won by (so far) 349-173 electoral votes and 7.5 million popular votes, won in every region (including the South), dominated among young adult voters (by 2 to 1) and minorities and was about even in most mainstream demographics, the pundits and party leaders are quick to pooh-pooh this result as some sort of a middling victory.  We’re still a “center-right” nation, they say to comfort themselves.  He only won because Bush is so unpopular, they point out.  If we weren’t center-right, Obama would have turned the entire map blue. 

Oh really?  Let’s point out a couple of things.  First, these are the same people who spent the summer and fall claiming that Barack Obama is the “most liberal Senator” in the U.S. Senate.  John McCain repeated that charge on the campaign trail right to the end.  If that’s true (and who hasn’t heard that claim?), then a majority of the U.S. electorate just voted for the most liberal U.S. Senator.  Doesn’t that mean something about our country’s leanings?

Also, these are the same people who claimed Bush’s eked-out 51-48% 2004 election to be a mandate.  Assuming that was a legitimate election–and much scholarship has called that into question–Bush was about 120,000 votes away from losing Ohio, and therefore the election.  Of course Republicans were excited their guy actually won the popular vote the second time, but as he learned, that didn’t give him license to privatize Social Security, for example.  Still, if that was a mandate, isn’t 2008 much more of a mandate when Obama’s margin of victory is more than double Bush’s?

Finally, there’s a reason George W. Bush is so unpopular.  He has been wrong about pretty much everything, and has been proven wrong.  Wrong about unpreparedness for 9/11, wrong about Iraq being related to 9/11, wrong about WMD in Iraq, wrong about invading Iraq, wrong in thousands of command decisions relating to Iraq, wrong about abandoning Afghanistan, wrong about tax cuts, wrong about deregulation of markets, banks and everything else, wrong on global warming, wrong about emergency preparedness (see: Katrina, Hurricane), wrong about Supreme Court justices and other federal judges, wrong about domestic spying, wrong about torture–I could go on, but my fingers are tired from typing.  The point is, you can’t just chalk up an election loss to Bush’s unpopularity as if the reasons are inconsequential, like bad personal hygiene.

Barack Obama was right about these and other things, and Bush and McCain were wrong.  Obama won the argument, and he won it convincingly with empirical evidence.  That’s a mandate for the next President to behave differently from Bush and McCain.  We should be ready to push back against anyone who claims otherwise.

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