Friday, November 7, 2008

The "Mandate" Mandate

Media Matters goes into the Wayback Machine of November 2004 and comes up with literally dozens of Village Idiots saying Preznitman had a mandate with his 286 EVs and 50.7% of the popular vote. Some of the best:
  • John Roberts, CBS News chief White House correspondent (now with CNN): "With the majority of the popular vote behind him [Bush], with the Electoral College win, with a mandate that perhaps many people didn't allow him to have in the first term, can he afford to be more magnanimous with the press?" [CNN's Reliable Sources, 11/7/04]
  • Andy Serwer, CNN host and Fortune magazine editor-at-large: "Interesting time for the president, obviously, he [Bush] seems to have a mandate from the people to go ahead and do what he wants to, his bidding. Where do you think this is going to take him?" [CNN's In the Money, 11/7/04]
  • Christine Romans, CNN anchor: "When I talk to Democrats and people who watch the Democratic machine, they're furious that this was so close again and that now the president has a mandate." [In the Money, 11/6/04]
  • Dan Chapman, Atlanta Journal-Constitution global economics and business reporter: "Bush, buoyed by a popular mandate and a more Republican Congress, will probably receive the financial and military wherewithal to fight the insurgency and rebuild Iraq." [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Bush gets voters' nod on Iraq, but outlook risky," 11/4/04]
  • Keith Miller, NBC News correspondent: "Bush, who won by more than three and a half million votes, has a solid mandate that will force the attention of America's enemies and allies." [NBC's Nightly News, 11/3/04]
  • Chris Matthews, MSNBC host: "Good evening. I'm Chris Matthews. And welcome to MSNBC's post-election coverage live from Democracy Plaza in New York's Rockefeller Plaza. Yesterday voters went to the polls and reelected President George Bush, giving him a mandate in his second term." [MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, 11/3/04]
So of course this means Obama has a major mandate now with 52% of the popular vote and 365 EVs, plus a much larger margin in Congress than Bush ever had, right? It should be a nearly unanimous lock among the Villagers!

But oh how wrong you would be.

Now, having said that, a few out there are calling this what it is.

But it doesn't help at all when even the Democrats in Congress are running away from the word "mandate".
President-elect Barack Obama's resounding election triumph was greeted Wednesday from nearly every quarter in Washington as a mandate for change. What was most striking after a resounding victory that also added at least five Democrats to the Senate and 23 to the House, was how gingerly Democratic leaders treated their new mandate.

It is "not a mandate for any political party or any ideology," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., "but a mandate to get over those things that divide us and focus on getting things done."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, warned that Obama comes to office with "more expectations than any president I can ever remember in my lifetime," and quickly sought to dampen them, citing the constraints of two wars and a sinking economy.

Even Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean said, "I don't think it's a mandate for the New Deal. ... I think it's a mandate that the political class in this country has an obligation to young people in this country to stop fighting over stuff that might have been a big issue 25 years ago but it isn't anymore."

And people wonder why Democrats don't get mandates. They get told how to govern by Republicans. Your Democratic leaders, Harry, Nancy, and BYAAAAAAAAH, have already given up on Obama and the Democrats getting any real change done and they have surrendered in less than 72 hours.

Perhaps Obama and Rahmbo should be looking for new leadership in Congress.

And Now For Something Completely Different

Wouldn't it be wonderful if Barack Obama chose to ignore the Democrats in Congress and the will of the American voter and instead let the GOP continue to run the country? They've done a swell job for the last eight years. What better way to show he's going to change the way Washington works!

--David Brooks

Cult Of Stupidity

Why the Right lost on Tuesday in two easy lessons:

1) The Right believes there is a "slightly creepy cult of personality" around Barack Obama.

Newsweek’s Evan Thomas and Jon Meacham shared a bizarre Obama love-fest session with Charlie Rose on the PBS host’s program on Wednesday. Meacham stated that he was "very struck watching the stagecraft" of Obama and pointed out how Obama gave his victory speech by himself: "...[H]ave you ever seen a victory speech where there was no one else on stage? No adoring wife, no cute kid -- he is the message." Thomas went one step further in this vein: "There is a slightly creepy cult of personality about all of this." Rose confronted him on his use of this phrase, and he explained that it made him "a little uneasy that he's so singular. He's clearly managing his own spectacle. He knows how to do it. He's a -- I think, a deeply manipulative guy..." Later, all three marveled about how it was "amazing" that Obama "watches us watching him."

Thomas and Meacham appeared during the second segment of Rose’s program on Wednesday night. The host first asked Thomas about how Obama seemed to be "always in charge of this campaign." After giving an anecdote about a meeting in which Obama discussed his vice presidential pick with his advisers, Thomas commented that Obama is very inclusive, yet very self-contained. It's an unusual leadership style."

This cult of personality betrays his facist tendencies and Hitlerian techniques. Obama is not our President and must be resisted by any means possible. That is what it means to be a true patriot.

2) The Right believes you have failed President Bush and America by refusing to show Our Leader blind, cult-like obedience at all times.

The treatment President Bush has received from this country is nothing less than a disgrace. The attacks launched against him have been cruel and slanderous, proving to the world what little character and resolve we have. The president is not to blame for all these problems. He never lost faith in America or her people, and has tried his hardest to continue leading our nation during a very difficult time.

Our failure to stand by the one person who continued to stand by us has not gone unnoticed by our enemies. It has shown to the world how disloyal we can be when our president needed loyalty -- a shameful display of arrogance and weakness that will haunt this nation long after Mr. Bush has left the White House.

Therefore the blood will be on your hands when our enemies now attack the great country you weakened with your "patriotic dissent" instead of supporting our President no matter what. That is what it means to be a true patriot.

Here endeth the lesson.

Where Ya Going With This Exactly?

Politico's boy say Obama's pick of Rahmbo means "he wants to win".
President-elect Barack Obama’s selection of Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) as his White House chief of staff is the latest demonstration of a quality Obama showed repeatedly over the course of his campaign: He’s willing to do what it takes to win.
Of course, the last 8 years was full of that "whatever it takes to win" mentaility.

So either Politico thinks Obama and Rahmbo are Bush and Rove all over again, or...what, exactly?
If his goal had been to create a cordial bipartisan tone in Washington — much less a calm, profanity-free West Wing — Obama would have looked elsewhere.

The selection of Emanuel, one of the Democratic Party’s most effective operatives over the past two decades, was a powerful signal of Obama’s determination to be effective under the existing rules of the Washington game.

“He’s from the Lombardi wing of the party — he’s a guy who wants to win at any cost and will do whatever it takes,” said John Lapp, a former top Emanuel aide at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Lapp called Emanuel “the best possible pick — a perfectionist and fighter who loves the president[-elect] like a brother.”
Yep, Rahmbo = Karl Rove, currently the biggest loser in DC right now. I love it. Democrats aren't allowed to win, you know. The Obama administration is just the Bush administration...only leftist. Expect that meme to be the centerpiece of the Sensible Centrist set.

[UPDATE] And it gets worse...turns out Rahmbo used to be on the Board of Directors for Freddie Mac.
President-elect Barack Obama's newly appointed chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, served on the board of directors of the federal mortgage firm Freddie Mac at a time when scandal was brewing at the troubled agency and the board failed to spot "red flags," according to government reports reviewed by
Course...he was on the board in 2000 for 13 months and then he ran for Congress, and this was common knowledge...but hey, the honeymoon's BEEN over for Obama. Just as corrupt as the Bushies or something, right?

With Liberty And Justice For Some

Black voter turnout was crucial to getting Barack Obama elected...but it was also crucial for passing California's Proposition 8 banning gay marriage.
Cheryl Weston once attended a wedding ceremony for gay friends, but on Election Day, she voted for a constitutional amendment to declare marriage in California as only between a man and a woman.

"It was called a holy union, but I don't know how holy it was," said Weston, a Sacramento barber.

Weston, 44, is one of an overwhelming number – 70 percent – of black voters in California who voted for Proposition 8 and helped secure its passage, according to exit polling conducted by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International.

African Americans, energized by Barack Obama's presidential bid, boosted their numbers at the polls this year to 10 percent of the state's electorate, up from 6 percent in 2004.

"The Obama people were thrilled to turn out high percentages of African Americans, but (Proposition 8) literally wouldn't have passed without those voters," said Gary Dietrich, president of Citizen Voice, a nonpartisan voter awareness organization.

Latinos were 18 percent of California's voters, and through sheer numbers also contributed to Proposition 8's success. But 53 percent of Latino voters supported the measure, a much lower percentage than black voters. Among white and Asian voters, 49 percent voted for the measure.

Opponents of Proposition 8 appealed to voters to reject the measure as discriminatory and unconstitutional.

But messages that opponents hoped would strike a chord with minority voters – and remind them that interracial marriage once was banned – collided with traditional religious views.

"You listen to the African American pastors, they do not buy that argument," Dietrich said. "They do not believe at all that there is a correlation between civil rights vis-à-vis blacks and rights for gays."

Gay rights is a major, major problem in the black community. Appealing to it as a civil rights issue doesn't fly in black churches, plain and simple. Two of the bloggers I regularly read, Terrance at The Republic of T and Pam Spaulding at Pam's House Blend can explain the dissonance of black folk and homosexuality far better than I can. I'm not gay, so I can't speak to that experience like Terrance (a black gay father of two from GA) and Pam (a black lesbian from NC) can. But I am bi-racial, so I can speak to the argument that interracial marriage being illegal thirty years ago was just as pointlessly stupid as gay marriage being illegal today. It's a civil rights issue. Period. It's discrimination, and the only reason to oppose same-sex marriage is to discriminate.

Obama has said as much in his many stump speeches...but he's also quietly held the the belief that marriage is "one man, one woman" as many Americans do. I don't buy that. It's either civil rights for all Americans, or it's hypocrisy, cut and dried. I have a problem with Obama's support for banning gay marriage. You can't have a message of change and hope and then say "but not for you." Obama can't go with political expediency over basic rights.

Pam in particular has a great set of articles on Prop 8 and the response to it, well worth reading. Terrance should have something up today, I'll update with his response.

You can't have civil rights for "most" Americans. You must work for all Americans as President there, Barry. It's time to take a stand on this.

Unemployment Blues

240k jobs lost in October alone, Unemployment rate up to 6.5%. 1.2 million total lost jobs this year.

Not a good day. Going to be a lot more days like this.

Installing A Cabinet Fixture Or Two

The Village has a lot of pressure on Obama to basically fill his cabinet with Republicans who will continue Bush's day to day policies, if not Bush's Cabinet itself. Digby explains what Obama should do about that.
After the closest election in American history had been decided by the Supreme Court in a partisan 5-4 decision and which left the US Senate in a 50/50 tie, one might have expected the new president to appoint a bipartisan cabinet. He had run as a "Uniter Not a Divider" after all, and the country was brutally divided after the impeachment of president Clinton and the dubious election results. Among the political establishment, he was seen as a master at reaching across the aisle. Richard Cohen, villager extrordinaire, said this:
Given the present bitterness, given the angry irresponsible charges being hurled by both camps, the nation will be in dire need of a conciliator, a likable guy who will make things better and not worse. That man is not Al Gore. That man is George W. Bush."
This is what George W. Bush did:
President George W Bush has produced a cabinet team which is the most ethnically-diverse in US history, but is politically right-wing.

He promised to to take an inclusive, bi-partisan approach to government, and his cabinet nominees include four women, two African-Americans, two Hispanics an Arab-American, a Japanese-American and a Chinese-American.

But although the team includes one Democrat, the key members are hardline Republicans, and several served in George Bush senior's administration.
I don't recall the Villagers rending their garments over this. In fact, they criticized Democrats for being too partisan when they objected to Bush appointing throwbacks like John Ashcroft Justice department:
To argue too loudly that Bush's Cabinet isn't truly bipartisan risks opening Democratic critics up to the charge of indulging in post election sour grapes. Democratic leaders appear to realize that and have tempered the carping, say GOP staffers.
How dare those horrible Democrats indulge in post election sour grapes. Why couldn't they just "get over it?"
I'll go one step further. All of this Village griping makes perfect sense when you realize the following:

  • The Village has no respect for Obama yet. He's the new guy. Bushism has ruled DC for eight years, and change is bad. They're not sure how Obama will govern. But they sure as hell know how he should govern...and that's being as identical to Bush as possible. They expect Obama to kiss their asses the same way Bush's folks did, expecially after giving Obama all this valuable advice on how to run the country for the dirty masses.
  • It's not Republicans that the Village's conservatives. The Washington Elites, your "liberal media", are in fact either Red Meat FOX conservatives or Blue Dog Democrats. They have no respect for Liberalism in any way shape or form. The country has to be in the hands of a Serious Centrist. If it's not, the Village will appoint one to run the country. Right now Obama doesn't qualify, but of course all these conservatives who have been kissing the Village ring are certainly qualified.
  • The Village hates Populism with a passion. They despise populism and populist Presidents and view them as something akin to unsupervised children in the grocery store. Obama's internet-based people power approach scares the hell out of them, because only the Village is allowed to disseminate information to the unwashed, not this...internet abomination. Anything else smacks of Dirty F'ckin Hippiedom. More than anything the Village wants to put an end to this before Obama does something crazy like leave the Village out of his decision making process.And after 8 years of the Village telling Bush what to do...
  • Obama thinking for himself will not be tolerated. Obama doesn't get to run the country. The Village does. Obama will play ball eventually, after all Clinton did after he got steamrolled in his first two years. It didn't stop the Village from turning on him and enabling his impeachment of course...but after '94 he became a Sensible Centrist for sure.
So why did Obama win over Hillary? The Village hated her more than they hated Obama, is the short answer. The long answer is Obama will be more easily manipulated and controlled, just like Bush. The Village has run this country for 14 years now. They expect another 4.

Obama I think is going to surprise them in a way they will not like. That's when the honeymoon officially ends. In many ways it's already over, but the Village will come to a consensus on exactly who gets to run the country, and if Obama doesn't play ball, it's 1993 all over again.


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