Closest Thing To a “Mandate”

I’ve already made my negative views known about the relevance of some purported electoral “mandate”–or its absence–on what happens over the next two-to-four years in Washington.

But since much of the MSM and all of the GOP is insisting that even the teeniest-tiniest tax income rate increase on the wealthy–much less the return in January to the Clinton-era rates that is current law–is off the table because Obama lacks a “mandate,” it’s worth remembering that thanks to Obama and to his opponents the president is indeed clearly associated with a more progressive set of tax rates. Jonathan Chait supplies the reminder:

If there is a single plank in the Democratic platform on which Obama can claim to have won, it is taxing the rich. Obama ignored vast swaths of his agenda, barely mentioning climate change or education reform, but by God did he hammer home the fact that his winning would bring higher taxes on the rich. He raised it so relentlessly that at times it seemed out of proportion even to me, and I wrote a book on the topic. But polls consistently showed the public was on his side.

Without much question, there is more than sufficient public support to break Grover Norquist’s death grip on this country’s fiscal policies. It can be accomplished with or without Republican cooperation; “without” remains far and away the most likely scenario.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.