Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mike Duncan's new math

  I HAD promised myself that I would break from the  herd and not write about Saxby Chambliss. But I could not resist the temptation that finally overcame my better judgment.  So to repeat the obvious, the Hollywood-looking snowy-haired Republican senator won the Georgia run-off  this week - as expected in a very conservative southern state where a very talented professional football player was sent to jail for engaging in dog-fighting and a former Democratic governor and U.S. Senator, Zell Miller,   turned up at the Republican convention to praise Bush and damn Kerry while noisily wishing that he lived in a day when he could challenge Chris Matthews to a dual. Georgia is not Vermont. 

I'm still trying to figure out how the proud voters of the Peach State first went for Chambliss - who had eagerly  avoided military service - in  2002  against the Democratic incumbent senator, Max Cleland,  a triple amputee  from his service in Vietnam.  Chambliss got away with describing his opponent as a wimp on fighting terrorism.  Georgia Republicans are an easy sell.

So now here was Mike Duncan, the incidental chairman of the Republican National Committee, crowing that Saxby's win was so profound that it serves as  irrefutable evidence that Barack Obama doesn't have a mandate to lead the country.  Let him explain:

"Georgians clearly sent a message that any rhetoric about a liberal mandate is nothing but hot air." 

Message to whom?  He didn't say.  But he did say that Saxby gave the GOP conservatives  the "momentum" that the party had been seeking since Obama's...um...mandate-less triumph on Nov. 4. 

All of this high-level consideration of mandates led me to put it in some kind of historical context to define the word.  

Back in 2004, moments after the fateful numbers that sent him to the Oval Office a second time, George Bush clearly exercised his thoughts about his next four years  with a boastful threat to anyone who might stand in his way.  "I earned capital in the campaign, political capital," Dubya sounded off, "and now I intend to spend it.  It is my style."  Cool.

This is where I went off the track with Chairman Duncan.  Using his logic, Bush won with a 3 million vote margin, a hefty 50.7 pct. vs. Kerry's skimpy  48.3 pct.    Obama edged McCain by more than 9 million votes  - 52.7 pct. to 45.8 pct.   Hardly enough to convince  Duncan that Obama had earned enough "political capital" to claim a mandate.  

So I ask: How dumb do you have to be these days  to serve as the Republican National Committee's chairman?    Just asking.  Obviously, math is not a prerequisite.


1 comment:

PJJinOregon said...

Abe - Your just gotta understand the South. I lived there for 15 years, from the late '70s until the early '90s. Here's a story that may help you understand.

On voting day, 4 Nov, I boarded a plane for the deep SouthEast to attend my daughter's wedding. I was easily pegged as "west coast, blue state liberal" since everyone knew I had traveled from Oregon to attend the wedding. While dancing at the reception, a local resident approached my wife and me. With a red haze in his eyes and dripping sarcasm in his voice, he hailed us by saying: "Well, I hope you're happy that you got your damned nigger president." An that, Abe, is why Chambliss won reelection.