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  • by pudge (1) on 2002.11.07 10:27 (#14559) Homepage Journal
    In this election, many liberal spectators expected the voters say to Washington, "It's the economy, stupid!" and deliver the House and/or Senate into the hands of the Democrats. Instead, the voters said, with a loud, clear voice: "It's the war, stupid!"

    The problem is not that the people don't care about the economy, the problem (for the Democrats) is that all the polls show that a significant majority of voters believe the economy is OK. You assume the economy was bad and the people don't care. The stats just don't bear that out. This is why the Democrat leadership is looking bad: in the middle of a bad economy, they couldn't make people think the economy was bad.

    here is no longer any doubt: America is going to War.

    Nah. War is unlikely. There will be a new UN resolution signed, probably tomorrow, and Iraq will be given seven days to agree to it. The only way we will go to war is Iraq does not agree to it -- which would in itself be considered an act of war by Iraq -- which seems altogether unlikely, since the best way for Iraq to stay in power is for them to allow the UN to have its way.

    Bush assumed office under the most dubious of circumstances and yet he has cajoled and patronized the opposition into doing his bidding as if he were swept into power on the crest of a massive voter landslide.

    Regardless of the circumstances in which he was elected into office, I have never considered relative margin of victory to be relevant. He was elected, he was the President, he gets to act like the President. And nothing has changed.

    Sure, you get your political capital in various ways: sometimes by high election margins, sometimes by other events (such as 9/11), but how ytou get that political capital doesn't make what you do with that political capital right or wrong. He has no obligation to act as he thinks the people want him to act, except insofar as he promised during his campaign. I couldn't care less if the majority of Americans approve of this policy or that one. He is the President, legally elected, and gets to act like the President, and put work on the policies he thinks are best. This is the nature of a representative democracy.

    In short: what "mandate" a politician have is (IMO, rightfully) irrelevant. How much political capital he has, no matter where it comes from, is all that matters.

    In the next two years, we will witness every program and policy change that Bush and the Republicans have ever wanted. Some of these changes probably will be for the better. Most will not.

    Your opinion is, of course, only your opinion. I think of it exactly opposite: some will not be for the better, but most will be. Social Security will likely be fixed for the better (hfb has an excellent point about the AARP, that if they screw up Social Security and piss off the AARP that they will lose in 2004: this is exactly why they will not screw up Social Security).

    The biggest challenge, though, is health care. They have a chance to finally do what they want with it, and I am hopeful that they will do well by it. But it is a lot harder to fix than Social Security. I am hoping they do more things like the recent legislation to limit exclusive rights to drugs by pharmaceutical companies, more of a top-down approach. It sucks to pay for everyone's drugs when we could be working to make those drugs more affordable instead.

    And remember, there are a lot of mavericks in the Senate, and no party majority large enough to stop a filibuster. The Republicans simply cannot do whatever they wish, because they need to appease their own moderates and mavericks (like Chafee and McCain), and they need to avoid the filibuster.