Like Yasser Arafat, the liberals continue to hang on in there despite the diagnosis of brain death. The latest liberal meme trumpeted in the establishment press is that although G.W. Bush won the election with a three-point lead over his opponent and the largest number of popular votes of any president in U.S. history, he doesn’t have a “mandate” to govern in his second term. This from the group that deemed Al Gore, with his mere 500,000-vote lead (to Bush’s 3.5 million-vote lead this year) to have been the “real” winner of the 2000 election and was thus cheated out of his rightful claim to office by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The latest mandate-monger is the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne, who’s sometimes a liberal I can like but sometimes isn’t. Right now, Bush’s victory seems to have driven Dionne right around the bend, as this column today indicates. Here he goes:

“We are aghast at the success of a campaign based on vicious personal attacks, the exploitation of strong religious feelings and an effort to create the appearance of strong leadership that would do Hollywood proud. We are alarmed that so many of our fellow citizens could look the other way and not hold Bush accountable for utter incompetence in Iraq and for untruths spoken in defense of the war. We are amazed that a majority was not concerned about heaping a huge debt burden on our children just to give large tax breaks to the rich.”

Imagine such a thing! People actually voted for Bush! As to the vicious personal attacks, I won’t even get into Bush Is Hitler, Mary Cheney, the Microsoft Selectric typewriter, Laura’s lack of a “real job,” or the 380 tons of explosives that were supposed to have gone “missing” two days before the election. But hey, E.J., have you ever considered that a lot of Americans have religious and moral values that go a little deeper than running to a bunch of churches in mid-October and waving a Bible around? That maybe they believe the Iraq campaign hasn’t gone perfectly but that it’s Bush who’s willing to stand up to worldwide terrorism without first getting permission from the French? That a lot of middle-class Americans benefited from Bush’s tax cuts, too (I did), and would prefer to balance the budget by cutting back, not increasing, government spending?

And Dionne goes on:

“And we are disgusted that an effort consciously designed to divide the country did exactly that — and won. With all his failures, Bush could not count on a whole lot more than 51 percent. Karl Rove and company calculated perfectly, organized painstakingly, greatly increased conservative turnout and produced a country divided just their way.”

I love this. When the Democrats bend over backwards to get out the vote–as they did this year in droves–it’s called patriotism. When the Republicans do it, it’s called the weird machinations of the diabolical mastermind Karl Rove.

And then there’s this:

“A 51-48 percent victory is not a mandate. Even Democrats have talked about their party’s being confined to an ‘enclave.’ Enclave? Blue America includes the entire Northeast, all of the West Coast but for Alaska and much of the upper Midwest.”

I wouldn’t say “much” of the upper Midwest, E.J., now that Iowa seems to be going for Bush. And, E.J., look at the map! It’s red, red, red, with the liberals crammed into narrow blue littorals along the West Coast, Great Lakes, and Northeastern seaboard. Sorry, but I call those “enclaves” myself.

What’s amazing is that in 1992, Billl Clinton won the presidency with–what, 40 percent of the popular vote? He didn’t hesitate to claim a “mandate,” and by gum, he went right forward to try to shove it down the throats of the American people. Hillary Clinton thought up a vast program to turn the U.S. health-care system upside-down. Lani Guinier got to be in charge of interpreting the U.S. Constitution. Jane Reno raged into Waco. Clinton’s pick for surgeon general, Jocelyn Edwards, planted a “condom tree” on her desk and recommended that masturbation be taught alongside readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmetic in the nation’s public schools. It was such a mandate that two years later, the voters launched approved a Republican revolution that overturned decades of Democratic control of the House of Representatives.

Dionne is urging a revolution, too, although what with Republican majorities now cemented hard in both houses and enjoying big wins as state governors, too, thanks to this election, he doesn’t seem to envision using the democratic system to bring it about. Here’s what he writes:

“An administration given to hubris will have to be checked by institutions outside what is likely to be a compliant Congress.”

So what do you have in mind, E.J.? Michael Moore? Street demonstrations with puppets? The Big Media that you yourself work for that did everything in its power, including ignoring and skewing the news, to try to get Kerry into office–and failed?

You’ll have to read Dionne’s column to try to figure it all out. But meanwhile, in Dionne’s words, it was a “narrow victory” for Bush. It was a “slim majority” that elected him. He’s lacking a “mandate,” and so should be forbidden to govern the country that gave him its vote of confidence. Sure.

One more thing: We at InkWell extend our deepest sympathy to Elizabeth Edwards, diagnosed with breast cancer, and our very best wishes for successful treatment.