Did Obama Have a Mandate?

From Real Clear Politics HorseRaceBlog By Jay Cost

Obama Misread His Mandate

Key points:

Bismarck once commented that politics is the art of the possible. So far, the White House has not exhibited a good understanding of exactly what is possible in this political climate. It has been acting as though the President’s election was a major change in the ideological orientation of the country.

A lot of liberals certainly saw it as such. All the strained comparisons of Obama to Franklin Roosevelt were a tipoff that many were talking themselves into the idea that the 2008 election created an opportunity for a substantial, leftward shift in policy. Yet the election of 2008 was not like the 1932 contest. It wasn’t like 1952, 1956, 1964, 1972, 1980, 1984, or even 1988, either. Obama’s election was narrower than all of these. FDR won 42 of 48 states. Eisenhower won 39, then 41. Johnson won 44 of 50. Nixon won 49. Reagan won 44, then 49. George H.W. Bush won 40. Obama won 28, three fewer than George W. Bush in his narrow 2004 reelection.

Final point:

The President should have realized what was possible and what wasn’t, and he should have used his substantial influence to push the House toward the kind of centrist compromise the Senate will ultimately require. That’s called building a consensus – something he promised he’d do but has not yet made a serious effort at.

It’s a little long, but very interesting, go read the whole thing.

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