Pundits have declared that the election was about "moral values." Americans in the red states voted against homosexual marriage and abortion.
Let's hope that this is correct. Otherwise, America is doomed if Bush's reelection is based on his economic and foreign policy record.
Can you imagine our peril if Bush's mandate is for unprecedented trade and budget deficits and job loss? Or for taking the country to war based on incompetence or deception?
If Bush limits his second term to homosexual marriage and abortion, we and the world will be a lot safer. Medical doctors will not stop putting the mother's life first, and homosexuals are no more in need of marriage than the large percentage of heterosexuals who have abandoned it. Homosexual marriage has never been much more than a way to assert legitimacy that most rubs opponents' noses in the proverbial.
Econopundit points out some interesting numbers that
On November 2, 2004, George Will noted,
Sooner or later those on the other side will notice there were only four elections since 1920 with a lower "mandate" number than that generated by our just-finished election.
So take care, don't crow, be quiet, the presidential numbers don't support the hi-mandate landslide thesis.
Robert Reich wrote in the American Prospect (September 2003) in an article titled "Permanent Election",
If Bush wins, this will be what the poet William Carlos Williams called "the rare occurrence of the expected."
Permanent campaigns are morphing into permanent elections. In the permanent election, rivals seek to reverse the decision of the majority of voters and unseat the victor as soon as they can. Unlike the permanent campaign, in which incumbents and rivals only act as if the next election were imminent, in the permanent election, the next election is in fact always imminent -- or at least an imminent possibility.This is a scenario well known to other democracies such as Japan and India. In India, for example, explicit laws have been enacted to prevent 'floor-crossing' or defections between political parties in an attempt to ensure stability. (Ref: Indian parliamentar y democracy) Japan's coalition government brings together competing interests. Indeed, in a parliamentary democracy, there is always the possibility of an election, resulting in an unfinished agenda. Talkingpointsmemo feels the recent changes in the US portend a shift in this direction.
There's even an element of parliamentarism in President Bush's post-election comments about his mandate and his right to expect others to fall in line behind views because he won a majority, even if a small one, at the ballot box.This might not be a such a bad idea.
....that means approaching most legislative battles not with an eye toward preventing passage or significantly altering legislation, but placing alternatives on the table that the party will be able use as contrasts to frame the next two elections. In other words, their only remaining viable alternative is to be an actual party of opposition.