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When shortly after taking office, President Obama was challenged by a “Republican senator over the contents” of his “stimulus” package, he replied tersely, “I won.” It was as if he saw his election not as a mandate to act on his campaign promises, but to do whatever he wanted.
It seems that some defenders of the president seem to think he won a mandate to increase domestic spending at an exorbitant pace. So much so that one of our readers contended that the tea party movement “was voted down in earnest last November.”
Did Obama campaign on doubling, trebling even the federal budget deficit? No, he campaigned against the then-incumbent president’s profligacy. As he said in the third debate:
But there is no doubt that we’ve been living beyond our means and we’re going to have to make some adjustments.
Now, what I’ve done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut.
Emphasis added. And although Obama faulted W’s profligacy, his own spending proposals are of “a whole different magnitude” than the budgets of his predecessor.
So, no, the American people didn’t “vote down” lower spending last fall. When many independent voters, wary of high-spending Democrats, heard the then-candidate’s words, they took them to heart and were reassured he would not be like his then-congressional colleagues.
They didn’t vote against spending cuts in choosing Obama. They voted for them because Obama promised to cut spending. And not just in that debate. Note, that he says he had proposed such a cut throughout his campaign.
He can’t say he won a mandate to increase spending as he has proposed in his budget because he didn’t campaign for such increases.