Can Mr. Obama claim a mandate? The answer: a firm no-yes. This was not 1980, with a landslide 10-point, 44-state win and the will of a clear majority firmly revealed. And yet of course it’s a mandate—a clean win, a new beginning, a solid Democratic victory in the House and Senate. A friend noted the other night that George W. Bush from the beginning governed as if he had a mandate, and he’d lost the popular vote in 2000. Presidents are presidents and claim what they claim. Mr. Obama won it the old-fashioned way: he earned it. He confounded history to get it. And because he replaces a president whose unpopularity has impeded his ability to govern, he is, in a way, president from day one.
What a thing this is going to be to see. What luck to observe it.