47 percent

What is Obama’s mandate?

An excellent post by the Nutbox – “What kind of president would Obama be?” – got me thinking. Below is my reaction to his post.

I think Obama has to decide whether he will push back or continue to allow himself to be pushed. I’m sure he knows that extremist Republicans in Congress are not going to budge. Will he succeed in turning their intransigence against them like Clinton did to Gingrich after he got fed up with the obstructionism? Will he be thinking midterm elections or will he proceed as someone who believes he has a mandate to go all the way?

There is also a counterpart to Romney’s 47 percent. They are those Americans from the Red states who cannot see beyond color and their fundamentalist beliefs. They will always be against Obama. In the same way that Romney joked about having a better chance at election if his parents were born Mexican, Obama would have a better chance at success if he were born white. Should Obama try to turn those people around first or should he just tell them “you can get on the bus if you want to but if you don’t I’m not going to wait for you”?

The economy played a part in the election but it seems like American voters saw that the blame could not be laid exclusively on anyone. They saw a problem that was too big for anyone to solve in a short time and the only thing they could hope for at the present time is a step in the right direction. They thought Obama was it.

In the end it was social issues that spelled the difference – race, immigration, gender, health care. Voters chose the candidate who was most like them, the one who shared their beliefs. In other words, I think they felt neither candidate could solve the country’s economic and financial problems overnight so that sort of managerial skill was out of the equation. What was left was philosophy and world view and that was what spelled the difference. Maybe?