Mandate, Schmandate

It seems every election there's somebody who brings up the topic of mandates. If a president barely makes it into office by the skin of their GOTV effort, will that person have a mandate?

Watching the three different cable news networks this morning, three different political "experts" have posited the notion that if Sen. Barack Obama doesn't get a landslide electoral (or popular vote) victory then there'll be a question of whether he has been given a mandate from the American people.

Guess what.

If Obama wins by one electoral vote or a hundred, he'll have a mandate. If John McCain gets more electoral votes and loses the popular vote contest, he'll have a mandate.

All winning presidents have a mandate and should behave accordingly. Otherwise they should stick to community organizing.

When George W. Bush assumed office after the 2000 election, winning by just 500 votes in Florida, Dubya behaved like he had a mandate. Bill Clinton never received more than 50 percent of the popular vote in either of his runs for the White House. And no one has ever accused Bubba of not behaving exactly how he wanted, in the Oval Office.

The talk about mandates is for political losers trying to guilt trip the winner.

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