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Well Said

Check out this piece by Tony Snow. An excerpt:

Elected officials derive their legitimacy from a system of government that lets citizens pick their lawmakers. Officeholders do not acquire additional “legitimacy” by virtue of the electoral margin. (Had that been the case, Ronald Reagan should have been able to assume czarist powers, and Bill Clinton would have enjoyed less proper authority as the winner in 1992 and 1996 than Richard Nixon did as the loser in 1960.)

Therefore, we now are ready to explain the 2004 election result in a simple declarative sentence: George W. Bush did not win a mandate; he got a job.

The same holds for the opposition. Democrats have an obligation to work with the president when they think he’s doing the right thing and to resist him when they think he has gone off the rails. Our system of government, like the legal system, thrives on adversarial conflict — the clash of ideas.

So, to summarize: The president doesn’t have a mandate; doesn’t need one; couldn’t get one if he wanted. He survives on the basis of popular support and consent — both of which he needs not just on Election Day, but every day. If he fails to persuade people that he is doing the right thing, he will bring his party to ruin, and perhaps his country. Ditto if his policies backfire.

But here’s the magical part: Every four years, we get a chance to correct our course. That’s because we — not a president — have the mandate.

3 Responses to “Well Said”

  1. Erik Says:

    Funny, we actually agree on something political.

  2. Erik Says:

    Sadley I became less impressed with the bit of writing after I read the entire thing from FOX.

  3. Dan Moretti Says:

    Excellent.

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