Dept. of elections, consequences

DEPT. OF ELECTIONS, CONSEQUENCES…. In light of George W. Bush’s not-so-subtle shots at his successor this week, White House reporters pressed press secretary Robert Gibbs yesterday for a reaction to the former president’s criticisms. In particular, Gibbs was asked about Bush’s disparagement of Obama’s policy on the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

Gibbs said Thursday that many of those policies were debated during last year’s election.

“We kept score last November, and we won,” Gibbs said.

The response is reminiscent of a closed-door exchange on the Hill in January, a few days after Obama’s inauguration. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) told the president that the Democratic plan to give a tax credit to those who don’t pay income taxes isn’t a tax cut, but rather, a check. Obama responded that this was a common point of debate during the presidential campaign — McCain/Palin called the plan “welfare” — and voters were not swayed by Republican arguments. “I won,” Obama told lawmakers.

It’s nice to see a little bravado from the White House on occasion — I think it’s what Bill Maher probably had in mind when he criticized the president last week — but the message should be especially relevant to Congress.

After all, American voters gave Democrats a big majority in the House, a big majority in the Senate, and 365 electoral votes to the Democratic president. Obama has a 60% approval rating, and support for Republicans has plummeted.

It’s tempting, then, to remind Democratic policymakers, as they negotiate with the shrinking minority party and back down on key priorities, “You won.”