Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Winner takes all

I was driving home today, listening to an NPR retrospective about Bush's first term. You can hear it, too, if you click here. During Don Gonyea's story, he made the inevitable claim that Bush pushed through an aggressive agenda, even though he lacked a "mandate," winning by the narrowest margin ever (who cares if he won by the most votes ever?). I've heard this before since Bush was re-elected. What I don't understand is when the Demos lost sight of the fact that ours is a winner take all system. We don't have a proportional vote system. Instead, the Constitution, at Art. II, sec. 1, clause 3, specifically states that "The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President." That's it; that's the end. Winner take all. There is no mandate requirement. There is no "you must do what the losing side wants unless you win by a specific number of percentage points." Instead, the "Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President," with all the powers that entails. And of course, we have checks to that power in the form of Congress and the Supreme Court. That way, we have a Constitutional President and not a dictator-in-chief. There is nothing wrong with an elected President aggressively pursuing his agenda, no matter how the Demos try to spin it that way. I raised this issue with a friend of mine, who pointed out that Demos only believe in the system when they win. That is, to them, there is no system, there is just a Democratic victory or a Democratic loss. Understanding this explains the fact that there has been a spectacular amount of Demo voter fraud this year. As examples, I'll point you to Wisconsin (for example, see this good reporting from Boots and Sabers) or Washington (for example, check out this link at Power Line). In both cases, the fraud has been active, real, and terribly corrupt: dead people voting (surprisingly, the dead always seem to be Demos), people voting who have fake addresses, people voting twice, etc. Although I can't quickly find a link, I remember that, in Ohio, they were able before the election to weed out voter registration forms from cartoon characters and long-dead movie stars. Demos, by contrast, have been complaining about "long lines" and other inconveniences. (See Barbara Boxer's complaint for the Demo details.) To me, this is like comparing a hang nail to an amputated finger. They're both injuries of a sort, but the latter is dramatically worse than the former -- and more dangerous to the health of the whole body (here, the whole body politic). Funnily enough, Boxer has not been exercised about Christine Gregoire's 129 vote victory in a state with approximately 3,000 manifestly false ballots. Maybe my opening premise was wrong -- Demos do understand that it is winner take all, and they'll do anything they can, fair or foul, to be that winner. UPDATE: In an incredibly elegant Commentary article Joshua Muravchik also cites to the oft repeated canard that Bush does not have a "mandate." He tackles and destroys it too:

Several of the President’s detractors hastened to suggest that his relatively narrow margin of victory—amounting to 3 percent of the popular vote—should not be taken as a “mandate.” Whether they would have said the same had Bush’s Democratic opponent won by a like amount is doubtful. The New York Times, for example, has regularly questioned the presence of a mandate in recent elections—but only when the winner has been a Republican. In 1980, when Ronald Reagan bested incumbent President Jimmy Carter by 10 percentage points, the paper’s editors observed that his “mandate,” a word they themselves put in suspicion-arousing quotation marks, had “little policy content,” a position they reiterated four years later when Reagan won reelection over Walter Mondale by a whopping 18 percentage points (a “lonely landslide” and “a personal victory with little precise policy mandate”). Nor could the 8-point victory by Bush’s father over Michael Dukakis “fairly be called a mandate,” asserted the paper in 1988. Whenever a Democrat has won, by contrast, the Times has perceived things differently. After Bill Clinton’s first victory (by 6 percentage points) in 1992, the editors commented: “The test now will be how quickly President-elect Clinton can convert his mandate into momentum.” When he won reelection (by 8 points) in 1996, it repeated the thought—“There can be no question about his mandate”—and added a little civics lesson: “The American people express their clearest opinion about what they want government to do through their choice of chief executive.”
UPDATE II: I just read an interesting David Limbaugh post which takes on what can be called the mirror image of the "no mandate" argument -- namely, the Demo charge that Bush has a moral obligation to make all of his policies bipartisan. As Limbaugh tellingly points out,
this whole notion that a president's greatness lies in his ability to compromise and make a kinder, gentler world is simply naive and wrongheaded. We are not going to make the world love us. We are certainly not going to make the Muslims love us. Heck, we can't even get the Democrats to work with us in our own country.