Conservatives In Their Own Words: ‘The Republican Party Is Not The Beneficiary Of A Mandate’

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.'”

Watch a compilation:

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.”

If one were to look to public opinion, it’s also clear that no mandate for Republican policy prescriptions exists, as today’s Progress Report notes. The vast majority of voters — 64 percent — continue to blame either Wall Street (35 percent) or George W. Bush (29 percent) for the troubled economy. Fully 78 percent of all voters support comprehensive immigration reform, with a path to legal status by far the most popular. And voters from Connecticut to California and Michigan to Florida are more likely to support candidates who support an energy bill that cuts climate change pollution, polling shows. Voters clearly voiced frustration with the government yesterday — but they did not endorse a Republican policy mandate.