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January 28, 2009

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You need to think hard about what picking a fight with Nate Silver over statistics is going to get you.

I think your argument - Obama doesn't have a mandate because Republicans don't act like he does - is a silly one. The electorate decides whether a mandate truly exists, not the opposition party.

Republicans are waging a P.R. battle against a popular president after having suffered huge losses in the last 2 elections. They're taking a (probably correct) gamble that forceful opposition is their best chance at keeping any political power. This is a strategic decision and has nothing to do with whether they believe Obama has any mandate.

If they've gambled wrongly, expect them to lose even more seats in 2010.

One reason Reagan had more of a mandate than Obama is that Reagan represented smaller government and a more belligerant military. These were positions he had long espoused. When he won, he had a good claim that the electorate had given him a mandate for those approaches.

By comparison, Obama had a left voting record, but ran as a moderate. He didn't campaign on increasing the size of government. His campaign didn't focus on adding $850 of deficit spending to an already record-breaking deficit in order to give pork to Democratic constutiencies.

Whether or not it's good politics for the Reps to oppose this so-called stimulus package, it's good government for them to do so.

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