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This President Can -- and Must -- Claim a Mandate to Govern

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Cross-posted from The Nation

With his second inauguration, Barack Obama will become the first president since Dwight Eisenhower to renew his tenure after having  won more than 51 percent of the vote   in two consecutive elections.

More importantly, in a political sense, he will be the first Democrat since Franklin Delano Roosevelt to have won mandates from the majority of the American people in two consecutive elections.

This is the perspective that Americans should bring to the inaugural festivities. We should expect a great deal from Barack Obama. Despite four years of battering by Fox and Limbaugh and the Tea Party and Mitch McConnell, he has been reelected with a higher percentage of the popular vote than John Kennedy in 1960, Richard Nixon in 1968, Jimmy Carter in 1976, Ronald Reagan in 1980, Bill Clinton in 1992 of 1996 or George Bush in 2000 and 2004.

Obama's mandate extends beyond himself.  His party has increased its Senate majority and Democrats earned 1.4 million more votes in House races than Republicans. Gerrymandering and money kept Republican control of the House, but that opposition party is in such disarray that the president really does have an opening to make something of his mandate

Obama must seize that opportunity as an essential part of making the case for bold executive orders and a bold legislative agenda that will bring not just the hope but the change he promised in what now seems like a very distant 2008 campaign. The president has in the transition period since the 2012 election displayed a willingness to push harder, to go bigger, and it has yielded significant progress not just on gun-safety issues but in the long struggle against the Republican austerity agenda that makes a diety of deregulating away consumer and environmental protections, tearing the social-safety net and cutting taxes for wealthy campaign donors.

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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.

Nichols writes about politics (more...)

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A traitor who codifies the Bush regime violations ... by Paul Craig Roberts on Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 5:55:00 PM
of a line in the movie "Charlotte Grey".  The... by Lester Shepherd on Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 7:01:59 PM
Between 2008 and 2012 the population of the U.S... by KurtB on Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 7:19:36 PM
It is not the President's job to govern -- that is... by Techknowledgie on Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 7:25:54 PM
And you are ignorant enough to think that Obama is... by Linda Ferland on Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 7:41:06 PM
No, actually, I'm not. That's exactly what I think... by Techknowledgie on Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 2:39:08 AM
Why?  Perhaps because of his treatment of Jap... by Poor old Dirt farmer on Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 10:23:40 AM
And who is it who allows that .01% to prevail? It'... by Techknowledgie on Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 12:30:28 PM
But I believe that our involvement was guaranteed ... by Poor old Dirt farmer on Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 1:36:39 PM
Meanwhile, Leonard Peltier still rots in a Federal... by Alan Pyeatt on Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 1:54:00 PM
Also, do you want more "laws" passed by this guy?... by Mark Adams JD/MBA on Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 7:40:22 PM
but where does it go and  what does it do...B... by Mark Sashine on Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 at 8:08:22 PM
   The president won re-electi... by Dryden Wonne on Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 12:53:22 AM
For all I care that doesn't mean I'm feeding him t... by Matthew Jacobs on Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 12:59:22 AM
If he had thought there was a couple of swing vote... by Samson on Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 3:35:58 AM
You get  a mandate based on what you campaign... by Samson on Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 3:31:46 AM
I thought O.E.N. was designated as a progressive n... by Chris Cook on Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 6:33:01 AM
He won't do anything to piss off the bankster mili... by intotheabyss on Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 8:52:10 AM
To compare Obama to FDR.FDR at least cared about t... by Poor old Dirt farmer on Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 10:12:06 AM
"Cities full of hatred, fear and lies Withered ... by Don Caldarazzo on Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 11:27:38 AM
Martin Luther King was a true fighter for justice ... by Deborah Dills on Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 12:58:14 PM
Obama won a second term by a very slim margin, man... by David McElroy on Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 3:45:40 PM
What nonsense!  As if our elections have any ... by goedel on Monday, Jan 21, 2013 at 5:22:55 PM
will continue to work for his corporate masters, j... by Alan Pyeatt on Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 at 2:01:07 PM