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November 03, 2004
DID ANYONE ELSE NOTICE Dick Cheney claiming a "mandate" for Bush? That undoubtedly set off a lot of bells in liberal heads.
I too am worried about what Matthew Yglesias calls "Bush Unleashed", at least so far as spending and social legislation goes. Democratic hopes that Bush would somehow be compelled to govern like a Democrat, for no clear reason that I can see, were always destined to be dashed, but the pickups in the house and Senate mean he'll have a freer hand than I was expecting when I endorsed him.
On the other hand, there's that gaping deficit, which will limit his freedom of action considerably, and entitlement reform is looming overhead. I think the biggest place where he'll try to claim that "mandate" will be the supreme court, and I think he'll probably succeed -- the Democratic filibusters seem to me to be a successful tactic only because 99% of the public is unaware of them, which wouldn't be true if it were a supreme court justice. Moreover, there's likely to be severe illness on the court, with all the over-80 justices, and that may well mean a vacancy which will put heavy pressure on the Dems to pass whomever the president nominates. I'd guess Bush gets to put in at least two justices who are fairly conservative.