More from the mandate beat: The Wall Street Journal's John Harwood is far too quick to pay deference to Bush's claims of a mandate, but at least he points out that the election had little to do with backing a specific vision of Social Security reform:
President Bush's team wasted no time after last month's election in claiming a mandate for his second-term agenda. With a popular majority and an expanded army in Congress, they had a right to.
But voters can't endorse specific policies they aren't aware of. If Mr. Bush has a mandate to do something on Social Security, he doesn't have a mandate to do anything in particular. And nobody knows that better than his fellow Republicans in Congress, who remain a significant obstacle to the president's ambition.
And a Nov. 3 CNN/USA Today poll question that I hadn't seen before makes clear that most people don't agree with Bush's mandate claims:
Which comes closer to your view? Because the election was so close, George W. Bush should emphasize programs that both parties support. OR, Because he won a majority of the votes, George W. Bush has a mandate to advance the Republican Party's agenda.
Bipartisan agenda - 63%
GOP agenda - 30%
Unsure - 7%