I don't say it often, but Josh Marshall is wrong. He wrote yesterday about Bush's alleged mandate after his narrow election victory, and how Bush's victory was not in support of his current agenda; and thus he had no real mandate. I quote Josh: "What this last six months has shown is the poverty of the idea that winning an election gives you a 'mandate' if you try to use it to push policies you'd never told voters you were going to push."
I see where he's going with this, and on many conventional levels it's completely right. But this is not a conventional presidency; traditional rules do not apply.
In this case, Bush did run on a specific platform, and his victory was in support of that platform. Unfortunately for America, that platform wasn't the specific "reform" agenda he's going with now. Rather, his platform was "I can do anything I want to do, and you rubes will support me anyway." And tied into this is the platform plank: "I can say anything I want, and you rubes will repeat it." That's what he ran on, that's how he won, and that's exactly what he's giving us now. But it's just not working this time.
So Bush's problem isn't that he ran on a different platform than the one that he's pushing; it's that his platform was just wrong. He's now finding that he can't do anything he wants, and actions do have consequences. He could get away with this back when he was pimping the cotton candy agenda of Free Money and Death to Muslims; a perennial vote getter if there ever was one. Bush is the Willy Wonka of presidents, and you can have anything you want, there's nothing to it.
But it's not all bubble gum and lollipops this time, so Bush isn't having such a fun time. And unfortunately for Bush, because his agenda was all shim-sham and good times, his supporters envisioned his mandate to be identical to their own. Each of them imagining Bush's agenda to be the one that helped them most. But Bush reserved that honor for himself, and his popularity is dropping accordingly. Everyone loves Willy Wonka, but he still has to make the chocolate.
If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it.
Anything you want to, do it.
Want to change the world?
There's nothing to it.
Song: Pure Imagination