I don’t blame Dems for trying to diminish or discount the possibility of a Bush mandate (Josh Marshall calls the idea “silly”). I think you can make a pretty good case for Bush’s mandate for several reasons. But here’s how I see it. The media, academia, the Democrats, Hollywood, the UN, France and the entire international community threw every single thing at Bush and the American people still preferred him in record numbers. John Kerry himself said if you elect Bush you’ll get “More of the same.” Everybody and his brother said that this was referendum on the incumbent. The American people heard this and not only re-elected Bush, they elected a bunch more Senators and Congressmen to help him with his agenda. That sounds to me like a mandate.
Nevertheless, I think there are good contrary arguments. The one thing I ask, however, is that when you hear the contrary arguments ask yourself whether Marshall or Al Hunt or the sillier lefty blogs wouldn’t be insisting that Kerry had a mandate if Kerry had won. And keep in mind that would have been a much harder case, since all Kerry basically did was say a vote for him was a vote against Bush.