About that Obama 'Mandate'...

The president’s exceedingly narrow re-election victory hasn’t kept some liberals from anointing him the “liberal Reagan” and declaring that Obama now has a “mandate” to enact every piece of leftist dream legislation that’s been swirling around their empty heads for 50 years.


Consider: They’re still counting, but the president bested Romney in the popular vote by about 2.5 million votes out of about 120 million cast — not a nail-biter but hardly a runaway either.

The Electoral College total for the president is even more interesting. Assuming he hangs on to win Florida’s 29 EVs, Obama will end up with a 332-206 victory. This could be considered a comfortable margin, but hardly a “landslide,” which has been traditionally defined as a candidate receiving 350 EVs or more. And the president may not even end up winning Florida, which would make his EV victory 303-235.

More basic to the argument of a mandate, however, is the remarkably thin margin of victory in swing states that gave him the presidency.

* A shift of less than 50,000 votes out of more than 8 million cast would give Romney Florida.

* A shift of 110,000 votes out of more than 3.5 million cast would have given Romney Virginia.

* A shift of 105,000 votes out of more than 5 million cast would have given Romney Ohio.

* A shift of 112,000 votes out of nearly 2.5 million votes cast would have given Romney Colorado.

A billion dollars buys a lot of organization and candidate Obama did not let that money go to waste. He was able to squeeze every last Democratic vote out of the electorate to give him his margin of victory. He did not win independents. He was slaughtered by Romney in the white vote. The president was victorious not because he was able to unite us, but because he used tried and true tricks of division to drive a sharp wedge between races, sexes, classes, and age groups, slicing off his supporters into readily identifiable segments of the voting population, and then carefully targeting each audience with a tailored message designed to elicit their support.


It was bloody brilliant and it was accomplished with an array of gee-whiz technology and good old-fashioned shoe leather. American politics had not seen its like before and Republicans will be hard-pressed to catch up.

But by its very nature and how it was accomplished, this was an extremely narrow victory by the president and not by any definition a mandate. His coalition was a mile wide and an inch deep. There was no vote for any program or Big Idea — despite what liberals are saying about the triumph of the left. In fact, I daresay if the public had gotten a whiff of this proposal before the election, the president might not have made it over the finish line:

Barack Obama may consider introducing a tax on carbon emissions to help cut the U.S. budget deficit after winning a second term as president, according to HSBC Holdings Plc.

A tax starting at $20 a metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent and rising at about 6 percent a year could raise $154 billion by 2021, Nick Robins, an analyst at the bank in London, said today in an e-mailed research note, citing Congressional Research Service estimates. “Applied to the Congressional Budget Office’s 2012 baseline, this would halve the fiscal deficit by 2022,” Robins said.

Hurricane Sandy sparked discussion on climate protection in the election after presidential candidates focused on other debates, HSBC said. A continued Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives means Obama’s scope for action will be limited, Robins said. Cap-and-trade legislation stalled in the U.S. Senate after narrowly passing the house in 2009.

North American discharges fell 1.3 percent last year amid slowing economic growth. In China, the world’s biggest emitter, greenhouse gases from fuel use rose more than 9 percent in 2011, according to BP Plc (BP/) statistics published on June 13.

“Cap-and-trade has been demonized” and Obama probably won’t seek to install such a program in his second term, Richard Sandor, founder of the world’s biggest carbon trading exchange in Europe, said today at the presentation in London of his book titled Good Derivatives.

New carbon trading programs in California, China and Brazil may encourage U.S. lawmakers to introduce greenhouse gas trading by about 2020, Sandor said.


Is it any wonder the president was vague about his plans for a second term?

Enough with the talk about “mandate.” Obama is going to have his hands full trying to stave off the coming disaster of the fiscal cliff. If he can’t manage to avoid it, any talk of his “mandate” will disappear faster than his promise in 2008 to have the “most transparent administration in history.”


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