Opinion: Columnists

Don't call it a mandate

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Opinion,Gregory Kane,Columnists

What "mandate"? You talk to me of a "mandate"?

"Mandate" is the word we're talking about, according to Washington Examiner Columnist Paul Bedard's piece on Thursday. "Latinos: Obama 'owes' us," the subhead line read. Why does President Obama "owe" Latinos? Bedard explained in his column.

"Citing exit polls that show Obama received up to 71 percent of the Latino vote, Hispanic and pro-immigration reform groups are urging the president to move fast to use his election mandate to pressure foes into an immigration deal."

Receiving 71 percent of the Latino vote is almost the opposite of a "mandate." It's a bayonet in Obama's back. It just means that liberal Latino groups can now pressure and browbeat Obama on immigration, which will be easy to do. Obama is, after all, a Democrat. And knuckling under and caving in to special interest groups is the second-best thing Democrats do, right behind race-baiting.

Obama, an incumbent president, won just 26 states and the District of Columbia. His margins were smaller in 45 of them than they were in 2008. And Obama didn't just lose 24 states. In 20 of them, he got creamed, losing to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney by 10 percentage points or more. That's a victory, but it does not indicate a "mandate." That indicates a president who is disliked by about half the nation and squeaked into a second term.

Skeptics will note that many of Obama's losses came in the South, where Democrats don't do well and aren't expected to do well. But Alaska (where Romney got 61 percent), Idaho (65 percent), Kansas (60 percent), Montana (55 percent) Nebraska (61 percent), North Dakota (59 percent) and South Dakota (58 percent) aren't in the South. Obama got creamed in those states just as badly.

Some Republicans looked at the result of last Tuesday's election and saw only doom and gloom. Perhaps, some have suggested, Republicans and conservatives need to rethink our position on illegal immigration.

What, exactly, is there to rethink? Either illegal immigration is right, or it's wrong. Since it's "illegal" by definition, I'm going with the assessment that it's wrong. Our position is the principled one. Now some are suggesting that we abandon principle for the sole purpose of getting more Latino votes. I'd rather go down fighting, with our principles intact.

Let the Democrats cave in and knuckle under. It's what they do. Democrats have no core principles, save only one: that having an unborn child sucked down a tube is the absolute right of any pregnant woman -- or girl -- who chooses to have an abortion.

We're better than that. We need to stick to our guns on illegal immigration and let Democrats continue to grovel for the Latino vote. And we need to take encouragement from the numbers in those states where Obama got creamed.

Those might not change dramatically between now and 2016. All we have to do is sit back and wait for Democrats to mess up, which they will.

They are, after all, Democrats. Messing up is what they do.

Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.

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