An open letter to Kathryn Jean Lopez of the National Review

August 7, 2009

[This is almost exactly, with minor changes, my actual email to Ms. Lopez, editor of the National Review. Although it makes me sad that people can write what she did, I’m almost glad I read that piece of idiocy, as it’s been a long time since I’ve written here. Ah, inspiration, you fickle puppy.]

Ms. Lopez,

You wrote in a blog post today that “For Barack Obama, democracy appears to be a distraction. He really does seem to view himself as a Caesar.” And also: “Shortly after taking office, Obama held a meeting with governors. At the time, one person in the room relayed Obama’s request that critics and skeptics of the stimulus plan keep their concerns to themselves. Just let me do it, was his attitude. He got pushback and he wasn’t happy. He wanted democratically elected state governors to shut up so he could do as he pleased. He knows better and we should respect that, seems to be the attitude.”

Boy, Barack Obama sure sounds like a mean guy when you put it that way.

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t many conservatives, among them your fellow NR columnist Bill Bennett, claim that after Bush was reelected in 2004, he had a mandate? (They did; he did.)

Do you know what a mandate is? I’m sure you do. But I’m going to quote Wikipedia on this anyway, just so you’re clear: “In politics, a mandate is the authority granted by an constituency to act as its representative. … Elections, especially ones with a large margin of victory, are often said to give the newly elected government or elected official a mandate to implement certain policies.

So I would say that if George Bush, who edged out a 50.7% to 48.3% win over John Kerry, had a mandate, then Barack Obama, who destroyed John McCain 52.9% to 45.7%, while collecting had almost 80 more electoral votes than Bush did, has what I can only term a “super-mandate.”

So when Obama says that he was elected to office by a large margin to implement his policies, I take that as him saying, hey, look, I’ve got a mandate from the American people and I think I know how to get us out of this rut, so either participate or get out of the way. You, somehow, take it as him essentially declaring himself dictator of America — even though I’m sure your protests were nonexistent when Bush claimed a mandate.

I hope you take greater care with the accusations you make from now on. Barack Obama is an honorable man and — need I remind you — the duly elected president of our United States. People like you need to stop getting in the way of him doing his job.

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