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John Boehner Has No Mandate

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Cross-posted from The Nation



House Speaker John Boehner has grown increasingly belligerent in his "fiscal cliff" fight with the Obama administration. Struggling to hold together a caucus that never really respected his "leadership," Boehner is trying to rally his troops by ripping President Obama's supposed disregard for Republican control of the House of Representatives.

Arguing that the Obama White House must meet his demands for deep cuts in programs that benefit the elderly and the disabled, Boehner griped on Fox News this week that "they must have forgotten Republicans continue to hold a majority in the House."

It is unlikely that the president and his aides have forgotten that Boehner and his crew continue to control one chamber of the Congress. But they also recognize that President Obama won a clear mandate -- a 332-206 advantage in the Electoral College, a 4.7 million popular vote margin for a 51-47 percent victory -- on November 6.

In July, Boehner said the November 6 election would be a "referendum on the president's economic policies." On November 6, Obama won that referendum.

The president was not the only winner.

Beyond Obama's personal mandate, Democrats can point to a clear signal from the voting for the US Senate. The Democratic caucus added two new members -- despite the fact that the pattern of contests was overwhelmingly favorable to the Republicans -- for a clear 55-45 advantage in the chamber.

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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