Yesterday, in an overnight post, Andrew Sullivan wrote, President Bush “deserves a fresh start, a chance to prove himself again, and the constructive criticism of those of us who decided to back his opponent. He needs our prayers and our support for the enormous tasks still ahead of him.”
I thought about this when I read it. And, to put it simply, I didn’t agree. What I considered writing was that given the track record he’s compiled and the way he ran this campaign, he’s really owed no fresh start. That would be graciousness at war with reality.
It would be up to the president, I thought of writing, to show concrete signs of a willingness not to govern in the divisive and factional spirit from which he’s governed in the last four years.
And then there’s this from his comments today: “We’ve worked hard and gained many new friends, and the result is now clear — a record voter turnout and a broad, nationwide victory.”
This is the touchstone and the sign. A ‘broad, nationwide victory’? He must be kidding. Our system is majority rule. And 51% is a win. But he’s claiming a mandate.
“A broad, nationwide victory”?
It would almost be comical if it weren’t for the seriousness of what it portends. This election cut the nation in two. A single percentage point over 50% is not broad. A victory that carried no states in the Northeast, close to none in the Industrial midwest is not nationwide, and none on the west coast is not nationwide.
And yet he plans to use this narrow victory as though it were a broad mandate, starting right back with the same strategy that has already come near to tearing this country apart.