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November 12, 2012


My followers may recall Dick Cheney’s famous statement that winning elections have consequences. The occasion for such a statement (after Bush “won” by Supreme Court edict but lost by over half a million votes in the popular vote) was a restatement of Andrew Jackson’s equally famous comment that “To the victor belong the spoils,” thus initiating what we have since called “the spoils system.” In short, if you win, you run the show.

Cheney pretended to a mandate for a president, however, who lost the popular vote by over 500,000 votes, and who, in my opinion, would have lost Florida (and the presidency) by some 35,000 votes had the Supreme Court not stopped the count. That infamous decision (Bush v. Gore) ranks with Citizens United and Dred Scott as the worst since the republic was founded. There is every reason to believe that Bush’s accession to the presidency was illegitimate irrespective of the court’s 5-4 political decision. Even the Supreme Court is beyond its jurisdictional boundaries when clearly acting in violation of the Separation of Powers Doctrine in our Constitution, which it did, shamelessly announcing in such opinion that it could not be cited as a precedent in any succeeding case, an admission (so far as I am concerned) that the holding had no lasting validity. If it did, then why the language of limitation? Whatever happened to the doctrine of stare decisis? The finding and decision stunk then and has not improved with age.

Imagine an alternative history without wars, tax giveaways to the already rich, massive corruption, war profiteering etc., all of which occurred in the administrations of George Bush, a man who was in over his head and easy prey for neocons and Rumsfelds and Cheneys and (war profiteering) “defense industries,” all of whom played him like a top. He had no insights of his own leading to sound policy; he was a figurehead for warhawks and Wall Street, whose free rein in the Oval Office almost led this country to irretrievable ruin. He was a sterling example of how visionaries are more likely to make good presidents than those (like Bush and Romney) who have business backgrounds. We can hire accountants; we need not elect them to make policy – a task beyond their pay grade.

So now we have a president who won the popular vote by several million and earned 332 electoral votes – and what are the Rove and Cheney types spouting off on TV and the op-ed pages? Obama does not have a mandate! Let’s see now, their president who LOST the popular vote and was only president because of a 5-4 Supreme Court edict (a finding the court wrote could not be henceforth cited) had a mandate, but our current president, who WON by millions of votes and a decisive electoral vote edge does not have a mandate? By their own logic, two and two are five.

How strained and illogical can you get? A loser has a mandate but a winner does not? Someone (perhaps a shrink) tell these people that their synapses aren’t working. Someone tell them that if we follow their spoils system logic, then Obama plainly has a mandate and that  he needs to use it in order to reverse the near calamity for this country and its people  that  the use of their pretended “mandate”  visited upon the world stage not that long ago. How can anyone have the gall to go on nationwide TV and make such ridiculous claims? Whatever happened to the concept of shame?

The president in truth and fact has a mandate to act, and a strong one. It is time for him to act on behalf of the people who gave him that mandate, not those who so shamelessly pretend that he doesn’t have one. Wall Street, theocracy and greed lost last Tuesday. The people voted for change and gave the president a mandate to effect it, so let’s follow the Cheney dictum – that elections have consequences. We won, and it’s time to act like it. Their apologists lost, and it’s time for them to act like it, too.

The people voted for a progressive agenda, one that is people-oriented and not a cover for Wall Street and Big Business monopolies. If this is a representative democracy and the people have mandated their representatives to do the peoples’ bidding, then what are we waiting for?

Let’s do it – and we don’t need permission from the losers to get on with it, since, as Cheney observed, and which I once again repeat here – elections have consequences.  GERALD  E

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