There have been recent ratifying elections, 1996 and 1984, in which the policies and approaches of an incumbent president have been given a big green light. But in a binary political system, it is also possible to have voters choose to retain an incumbent, but not ratify his policies.
Obama did win a mandate on the issue of tax increases on top earners. It was part of his personal attacks on Romney and a core part of his campaign message. Similarly, his predecessor won a broader, but still limited, mandate to continue fighting the war in Iraq.
But Obama has already used his mandate, winning an increase in tax rates on individuals making more than $400,000 per year. The taxes went up and the proceeds were already spent on an aid package for victims of Hurricane Sandy. So that’s that…
But on the core of Obama 2.0 — his call for more deficit spending to revive the torpid economy and “invest” in the middle class – its clear that Obama hasn’t got the juice.