John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


No Mandate, Just a Job to Do

Posted on November 7, 2012

In Presidential re-elections, the incumbent usually gets more votes than he did the first time, unless of course he loses.

Bush got more votes against Kerry than he did against Gore.

Clinton got more votes against Dole than he did against Bush.

Reagan got more votes against Mondale than he did against Carter.

Nixon got more votes against McGovern than he did against Humphrey.

It is rather unusual for a President to be less popular than when first elected, but still win the election.

The American people usually say to an incumbent President:  thumbs up or thumbs down.  They don’t say thumbs down, but thumbs up against the other guy.

Barack Obama lost votes and support from his first run.  And he barely just won the popular vote for President.  There are a lot of disillusioned voters out there who either turned away from this President or voted with him with a grave sense of disillusionment.

And yet, Mr. Obama was able to squeak by to re-election.

Does he have a mandate?

I don’t even know what that means.  I do know that he has the keys to front door of the White House and that he has the pen with which to sign or veto legislation coming from Capitol Hill.  He also has the codes to our nuclear weapons.

Mandate is all in the beholder.

He can mandate all he wants, but if he can’t get the Congress to cooperate, that point is moot.

Some of my progressive friends think that Obama is a moderate and that he is ready to sell them out at a moment’s notice.  I find that hard to believe, although I wish it were so.

Obama acts like a typical left-winger, in my book.  He wants to raise taxes on the rich so that he can expand the power and size of the government.  That is not what centrists do.  That is not what Bill Clinton said that he wanted to do, when he said that the era of big government is over.

But to the new Democrats coming into the Senate, I betcha Obama looks like a centrist.  Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin are going to be Harry Reid’s own private nightmare as he tries to negotiate deals on taxes and spending.

Warren and Baldwin, along with Barbara Boxer, Al Franken and Bernie Sanders, will see to it that Obama doesn’t cut any deal on anything.   That is the role traditionally taken up by Nancy Pelosi, but since Pelosi is in the House and doesn’t have any power (or than her considerable power of personal persuasion) and since she is probably going to quit any way, I see Warren and Baldwin becoming the extremely liberal sisters of the status quo.

By status quo, I mean that they don’t want any changes in our entitlement programs.  No progress.  No reform.   No savings.  Nothing

And since John Boehner would be a fool to budge on taxes until Obama budges on the entitlements that are putting this country into bankruptcy, that means that we won’t be getting any Grand Bargains in the next Congress without considerable pain inflicted on Harry Reid.

My solution?  Do it now, before the Status Quo sisters get sworn into Congress.  Get it done in the lame duck.

Obama doesn’t have a mandate.  He only has a job to do.  And he better do it quickly.