Obama has No Mandate on Spending
President Barack Obama said in his second inaugural address that fidelity to founding principles requires new responses to new challenges. He added that in order to preserve individual freedoms, there must be collective action.
Choosing and liking something are two different things. Americans choose to do a lot of things but that doesn’t mean they like doing it. This was the same as in the 2012 election. American voters chose to give President Obama another second term by voting for him or by not voting at all. They saw Obama as a better choice than Mitt Romney.
President Obama took his victory as a chance to expand mandate for a wide range of policy provisions. But for voters and non-voters, the election was just a vote for the lesser evil. In recent history, there have been two ratifying elections. The 1984 and 1996 elections gave an incumbent president the chance to make changes in his policies and approaches. But in a binary political system, it is possible for voters to vote for an incumbent but not ratify his policies.
President Obama won a mandate on tax increases on top earners. It was part of his campaign against Romney. His predecessor also won a broader mandate to continue the war in Iraq. But Obama has already used his mandate to increase the tax rates on individuals making more than $400,000 a year. The taxes increases and the proceeds were already spent on aid for Hurricane Sandy.
During his re-election campaign, President Obama embraced gay issues and celebrated gay Americans. Public opinion has been tracking his view on the issue and it may be right that America supports him on the issue.
President Obama also gets a partial mandate on immigration. He made it a point to show that he supports amnesty for illegal immigrants. But that doesn’t mean that voters don’t want safeguards and preconditions. It means that President Obama was riding on the issue.