Originally Posted by muppetry
I don't recall seeing anyone imply that; perhaps you mistakenly inferred it. However, I would view Obama's mandate deriving from his victory in the country-wide Presidential election as pertaining to Federal legislation, including taxation, welfare and defense spending. I view the Senate and Representative members' mandates as deriving from state-wide elections and thus pertaining to more restricted issues. Everyone had the chance to vote for Romney or Obama; no one outside Kentucky voted for McConnell.
That still does not mean that Obama gets everything he wants, but it does indicate, in my opinion, that on the large issues he has a mandate to proceed in the general direction of his policies.
One aspect of this discussion that frustrates me is that before the election, when many conservatives were quite confident that Romney would prevail, they were proclaiming that his victory would be a clear mandate for him to follow his policies and to abandon the path that we were on. Yet now that Obama has won, all we hear from them is that Obama has no mandate.
You appear to be wanting to have your cake and eat it too. Of course President Obama has the authorization to act as president aka a mandate. However that does not give him a mandate to act outside the bounds of that office or ignore the mandates given to other elected officials. He does have a mandate to proceed in the general direction of his policies in terms of proposing legislation. However that is all he can do. Congress is congress for a reason and they are the branch that has the power to control the purse and pass the laws. That is their mandate. The president administrates and he has his mandate to do that. If he does it wrong expect his party to pay at the next midterm.
As for what conservatives were saying, this again related to the colloquial use of mandate to mean that which changes the previous course or that one has political capital larger than their role or office might dictate and that they can spend it to make some large changes. This use relates exactly to what Obama did in his first term. One could argue he burned the political capital in terms of goodwill of the 8 million fewer voters who now support him, the loss of control of the House of Representatives and the loss of near filibuster proof majority in the Senate. Under that colloquial use, folks like myself and others would argue that he does not have a mandate because he does not have the same outsized or excessive support to assure him and his party victory if the loss of support continues. Thus he must take a course that advances his agenda but doesn't bleed his party voters in the next election.
Certainly you would say to Republicans they should consider some changes to add to their voter total. Why would you not say the same to someone who lost 8 million supporters but still managed to win?
If I translated that sentence correctly then my response would be that it would be interesting to know how many people did not vote for him because he is black.
No I contend there are people who voted for him exclusively because he is black.
They did, but since Romney also received fewer votes than McCain, what should we conclude? That the election was closer this time? That's not very insightful.
First the latest results I have read show Romney with about 300,000 more votes than McCain garnered.
Well turnout overall was lower. What we can conclude is exactly what happened. America looked at what had occurred the prior two years and returned almost the exact same result to office. That would either indicate the power of incumbency is something too hard to overcome even in the most dire of times which of course doesn't provide support for Obama's agenda. It could indicate they want gridlock. That doesn't provide much support for Obama's agenda. It certainly doesn't promote the view of a strident and clear direction because the results as a whole show no such thing.
If these candidates were two nearly the same size companies one company lost 8 million customers but the other company stayed the same in terms of customers or managed to gain about 300,000 in a stagnant or shrinking market, who would you say has concerns going forward?
For the very reason that you yourself state - that the economy needs attention. Paralysis will not provide that attention, unless the attention that you would like is for it to crash sufficiently to be able to claim again in four years that Obama's policies (that he would have been blocked from implementing) were a failure. And where is anyone arguing for bypassing the checks and balances? That's a straw man.
If one of the ways the economy needs attention is to stop government manipulation and distortion within it, then gridlock is a very good solution. If you don't think the government needs to be purchasing clunkers, giving bailouts or making loans to companies that turn around and go backrupt, then gridlock is just fine.
As for bypassing checks and balances, it isn't a straw man at all. The job of the minority party is to oppose and bring about compromise with their positions. They provide the check and balance. It isn't called balance if one side does whatever they want. As an example Obama wants to raise taxes on the rich. He wants tax cuts for the poor. Republicans wanted tax cuts for all. The compromise was a continuation of the Bush tax cuts passed by the lame duck Democratic Congress and signed by President Obama. When the issue comes up this time they can act and compromise or just let them expire. Both are forms of action.
I cannot see how to reconcile that with your agreement that status quo is not what we want for the economy. Romney was not proposing maintaining the status quo either. No one should stop doing their job, but if the minority leader of the Senate, for example, were to say that his main goal is, instead of compromise, to ensure that the policies of the President, who was elected by a majority of the electorate, are blocked, then I would argue that he is not doing his job.
If you argue he is not doing his job, then you are arguing wrongly. His job is to be a check and balance. His job is to force the president to propose work with his party in Congress to pass legislation that garners nearly 60% support instead of merely 50% support. His job is to know the minds of his House party members and know that they will not vote for a bill that doesn't garner a certain amount of Republican support in the Senate. It isn't as if Obama is proclaiming compromise in his actions. His legislative agenda has been highly partisan. As for reconciling status quo and economy, it is because people are not purely rational and they want the gain without the pain. If you want to lose weight, you must eat and exercise properly and people claim it but seldom do it as an example. So what people claim and what they do are often in disagreement. Their words and actions often don't match but when having to choose between the two, you pick their actions instead of their words as better predictors of true intent. People don't want any pain associated with the economy re-balancing itself and trying to work through the various excesses that led to recession. They still aren't really getting what needs to be done to fix the problem because it would be more radical than they care to undertake.
Most of all, the job of all of these folks is to do what is right. We are from the left all the time about "tyranny of the majority" until they win an election. Then we should stand aside and bow to their wishes. It isn't even about what the majority wants but what all branches of the government will agree upon. As an example Obama ran on health care reform with no mandate. He became president and his party, against his promise, added a mandate but declared it wasn't a tax but a fine. The states sued and the Supreme Court declared it was a mandate, it wasn't a fine but a tax. That means whoever is running under the D moniker in 2016 gets to have all of the Obamacare legislation added as a tax increase to case they have to make for election or reelection. It wasn't because of one person or one branch though. There was opposition in the various branches and it was overcome in different ways in all of them.
How does one bring about compromise with a majority party in the legislative branch if not by threatening to without support or by slowing the legislative process? You seem to indicate they should take different actions. Articulate what those should be. Clearly you must understand that for every piece of legislation that manages to clear the House or Senate, that there are dozens of other bills and amendments to them and the bill that passed that die on the vine. Proposing legislation alone isn't the answer so tell me what is the right way to oppose yet bring about compromise. You want it so state how it should be done.
Disagree. His point was an attempt to use selective statistics to make the outcome of the election look closer than it was, which was pointless, because the margin in those states was not far off the popular vote margin.
The election was close. However the results are clearly distorted by the electoral college. I stated myself that I wasn't voting for Romney because there was no way for him to secure California's electoral votes. We saw very little ad spending or GOTV efforts here as an example. Could the state have yielded more Romney votes? Sure and so could others in each direction people had to use the electoral college to determine their course of action. In almost every instance the electoral college is a winner take all system with regard to awarding electors. When you barely win within a winner take all system, then that is a close election. Bill Clinton as an example never broke 50% and in fact only got 43% of the vote in 1992 yet took 370 electoral votes. Obama took less electoral votes than that while barely crossing 50% and losing 8 million prior supporters.
That question makes a mockery of the concept of democracy. No, of course he should not ignore the minority, but, by definition, he should hold more regard for the will of the majority.
If his legislation is reasonable and can garner support in the House and Senate, it will pass. His past legislative history doesn't indicate this course. The only thing bipartisan about his prior legislative proposals were opposition to it. No one is saying do not propose legislation that would garner 50+1% of the legislative bodies votes. This is especially true of the House. Instead we've seen his budgets as examples go down 99-0 in the Senate multiple times. President Obama needs to be much more bipartisan than anyone else in any branch of office. He truly must try to represent all of our interests. If he doesn't compromise and include some of my interest in his legislation. I'll let him know it through my representatives that I elected for just this purpose.