Wednesday November 10, 2004 at 11:33 AM
What mandate? I don't see any mandate.
Appearing in Politics
In the seven days that have followed the electoral victory of George W. Bush, the word “mandate” has been thrown around with a certain reckless disregard for the facts of the situation. With the Administration acting as though they own the hearts and minds of an unassailable majority and the Democratic majority wallowing in defeat and self-pity, it’s critical for the champions of freedom and progress to take a deep breath, step back from the field, and get a grip on reality.
This is what you need to remember about the events of last week — our self-proclaimed War President was reelected with the smallest majority of any incumbent since Woodrow Wilson. And despite the towering advantages of being a war-time incumbent, his victory largely resulted from two pathetic, detestable, and cowardly strategies — (1) the exploitation of a wedge issue effecting a tiny minority of the population and almost wholly divorced from the real life, death, and economic issues facing our country, and (2) expunging the character of a bona-fide war hero who voluntarily served in a failed war of choice over 30 years ago.
Clearly the President won and electoral victory in what could have been a very fraudulent and illegitimate election. In that regard, we have to consider the Presidential election of 2004 a great victory for democracy. To claim however that a 51% majority is decisive, is to stretch the language in a way that is somewhere between irresponsible and reprehensible.
For those looking for a ray of hope in light of it all, I hope you’ll keep in mind these few points:
As he has done in other theaters, the President’s reaction to the second narrowest Electoral College victory in 80 years, is likely to inspire him to overreach his power, his authority, and ultimately his capabilities.
The election results are not nearly as binary as the typical red state/blue state maps. A more sophisticated analysis, such as those shown below, offer a very different perspective from what our mandate-happy Vice President said last week.