Friday, November 7, 2008

When is a mandate a mandate?

When one's mind is encircled and closed by a rigid ideology, or theology, or any kind of ology, it is difficult to accept contradictory information or another version of what might be the truth.

Thus, fundamentalist Christians, who base literally everything in which they believe on their faulty and errant assumption that the bible is the "word" of god and is infallible and inerrant, have to go through increasingly complex intellectual gymnastics to try to keep on an even keel as the world around them demolishes their assumptions. And that is why they stay clutched together--physically and mentally--with other members of their particular brand of religious ideology. They clutch one another to protect themselves against the fearsome possibility there might be an alternative reality that would dissemble their most cherished myths.

The same is true of political ideologues. Political ideologues can be found along the full-range of the political spectrum. They differ, however, in the way they react to new truth and to change. Those that reside on the more "liberal" side of the spectrum tend to welcome new truth and to treat change as an opportunity. Those who live further right on the spectrum tend to deny and defy new truth and resist or refuse change, while clinging to their past beliefs and strategies.

Thus, we can understand someone like Robert Novak. Brian Normoyle at the Huffington Post notes that Novak's column in Wednesday's edition of the Chicago Sun-Times claimed that Obama's election was not "a broad mandate from the public" and all those new Democrats elected to Congress did not constitute, in Normoyle's words, "evidence of a shifting tide in American politics."

Robert Novak is a conservative -- residing way down on the right side of the political spectrum.

In 2004, G. W. Bush won re-election by a 35 electoral vote-margin: 35 votes. He won the popular vote (so long as you allow the Ohio thefts) with a 2.4% margin over John Kerry - 50.7% to 48.3%.

George W. Bush, and Republicans in every corner of the country, and conservative pundits like Novak, all proclaimed that Bush had a received a "mandate" from the American people. Bush even went on to pronounce that this "mandate" gave him lots of political "capital" to spend and he intended to spend it!

Obama won with an electoral count of 364 as opposed to 163 for McCain! (That count may be updated shortly). Obama won 53% of the popular vote as opposed to McCain's 46.6% for McCain - a 7.4-million vote margin of victory!

In the Senate, the Democrats ended up ousting enough Republicans so far to claim a 55-42 majority, and that number may increase in the days ahead.

In the House, the Democrats ended up ousting enough Republicans so far to claim a 254-173 majority, and that number may increase in the days ahead.

What, I wonder, would it take for Novak to credit Obama with a "mandate" from the American people? How does a 35 electoral vote margin trump a 201 electoral vote margin?

One of the problems with ideologues is that facts never disturb their fantasies!

No comments:

opinions powered by