From THINK PROGRESS:
In his post-election press conference this afternoon, President Barack Obama strongly rejected the idea that Republicans received a mandate to enforce their policies, despite their electoral gains, saying that “no person, no party has a monopoly on wisdom. … No one party will be able to dictate where we go from here. We must find common ground in order to make progress on some uncommonly difficult challenges.”
The idea that Republicans did not receive a mandate isn’t just held by the president — it was a theme echoed throughout the night by Republican politicians and conservative pundits:
– Senator-elect Marco Rubio (R-FL): “We make a grave mistake if we believe that tonight these results are somehow an embrace of the Republican Party.”
– Fox News pundit Brit Hume: “The Republican Party is not the beneficiary of some mandate this time around.”
– Former chief economic policy adviser to John McCain’s presidential campaign Douglas Holtz-Eakin: “This isn’t a pro-Republican vote. This is a repudiation of what we’ve seen the past two years, it’s not an endorsement of Republican agendas.”
– RNC head Michael Steele: “There’s still the people who say, ‘well we’re not sure. We’re not sure about Republican leadership, we’re not sure about the direction.’”
– Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI): “This is not necessarily ‘we love Republicans.’ This is, ‘change course, the country’s on the wrong track.’”
Unfortunately, some Republican leaders have signaled they are on an uncompromising mission to enforce what they believe to be their mandate. Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) said bluntly before the election that “there will be no compromise.” Presumptive Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) has said that “to the extent that [Obama] wants to work with us in terms of where we’re going, I would certainly welcome it.” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) believes “the word ‘compromise’ has been misunderstood” and that his job will be “getting America back to the center right where it exists.”
(Video at THINK PROGRESS link)
From The New York Times (Editorial):
It’s no surprise that triumphant Tea Party politicians are seeking ranking posts within the incoming House Republican majority. But their likely speaker, Representative John Boehner, already has a problem with Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, the doyenne of conservative insurgents.
No sooner had Ms. Bachmann announced her challenge for the No. 4 leadership post — the influential voice as party conference chair — than she was on cable television feeding another of the right-wing myths [that President Obama's trip to India is costing $200,000,000 a day] that have become her signature rhetoric.
As they say, sources close to Mr. Boehner rate Ms. Bachmann’s chance to be conference chair as a long shot, even if she’s forming a Tea Party caucus and demanding a big place at the table. Taxpayers must dearly hope so. They are expecting substantive progress from the new Congress, not fringe inanities.