When GW Bush claimed that his mandate gave him political capital to spend, he had won (albeit Diebold assisted) by 2.46% of the popular vote. Republicans agreed that Bush’s mandate was clear. Barack Obama just won by 2.85% of the popular vote, but Republicans claim he has no mandate. Obama clearly has a mandate to govern, because Democrats also gained seats in both the Senate and House. In fact more voters voted for House Democrats than House Republicans. Republicans maintained control in the House only because they have abused power to stack the deck through gerrymandering. Obama must therefore govern from strength as we approach the speed-bump, exaggerated as the fiscal cliff.
Still two months from the start of his second term, the president stressed again and again that he wants to work for the middle class, saying in his first full-scale news conference since the spring that his only mandate is to help them and stressing that the wealthy can easily pay more in taxes.
Mr. Obama said the American people sent him a message: "Work really hard to help us. Don’t worry about the politics of it; don’t worry about the party interests; don’t worry about the special interests. Just work really hard to see if you can help us get ahead — because we’re working really hard out here and we’re still struggling, a lot of us."
He added that he doesn’t have another election to worry about and insisted, "I didn’t get re-elected just to bask in re-election."
Yet he sounded a confident note about his charge for the next four years, on the matter of taxes and spending but also on immigration reform… [emphasis added]
Pasted from <PBS>
Bear in mind, that if no deal is reached now in the lame duck session, there is no immediate need to change the rates at which taxes are currently withheld, so there need be no immediate effect on wage earners. There is no doubt after the first of the year, every item on the list will be fixed, because the political cost obstructing them will be more than the Republican Party can stand.
Ed Schultz covered this issue in two segments. In the first he discussed the progressive position and the Republican dilemma with EJ Dionne and Ruth Coniff.
In a funny way, Little Lord Willard was right. We want the gifts Obama promised us. Examples include wanting the gift of receiving all the Social Security benefits we paid for and all the Medicare benefits we paid for. We also want our tax money being used to meet need, not greed.
In the second, he explores the pit falls of Republican desires with Minneapolis Mayor, RT Rybak.
Republicans want local governments to have less federal support, so they can give more gifts to billionaires, and if they get their way, local budgets will be devastated. Which local services do you want to give up?:
In short, Obama must stand firm, and America must ignore the scare tactics Republicans are using to pressure for a better settlement than they deserve. Holding out is far preferable to a bad deal.