Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Obama Mandate: What It Means

76 days till inauguration and already conservatives are trying to spin what Obama should do. But let's keep some key points in mind.

1. This wasn't a narrow victory. Obama's win will be 349 or 364 electoral votes and a 6% popular vote margin. That's HUGELY decisive compared to Bush's two very narrow wins (or losses, if looked at another way) and equivalent to Clinton's popular reelection.

2. Bush wasn't elected with a mandate but governed like he had one. Obama has a clear mandate -- but even in his acceptance speech, indicates he will listen to a broad range of opinion. But just because he'll listen, there's no reason -- and no need -- to think he'll do anything other than implement his ideas.

3. The right is still saying this is a "center right" country. Ahem. I think this election clearly shows that this is now a "center left" country. Kooky ideas like dismantling social security and tax breaks for oil companies are pretty well discredited now. Ideas like universal healthcare and action on global warming are going to take center stage. What, you thought "change" just meant change the designs on the dinner plates in the White House?

4. The mandate is clearly for Obama's platform. The public has firmly said: get out of Iraq, deliver healthcare, move to clean energy, distribute America's value more equitably back to the middle-class, take a new stance on foreign policy, and fix the economy. Whether you want to call that liberal, conservative, or moderate, that's what Obama will do.

5. Democrats have been in the wilderness for eight year. Let's have no illusions: Obama's administration will be made of Democrats. There will be a token Republican or two, probably ones who share Obama's actually classically conservative (as opposed to Bush's neo-conservative) view of foreign policy.

6. The election is the clearest repudiation yet of hard-right divisive identity politics. Those people who still think elections are about banning abortion and bashing gays and liberals can go crawl back under the rock they came out of.

7. It's not Obama who needs to make the effort to reach the far right. The right now needs to go up to it's room and think long and hard about all the poo poo it made and whether it's sorry for what it's done to our country. Call us when you've had a change of heart and are ready to come back to the middle and sit nicely at the dinner table.

8. FOX's ratings are tanking. MSNBC is on the rise. The new era is here. FOX anchors -- all looking a bit sallow last night -- might consider a new career. I hear plumber pays pretty well.

No comments: