Bush's "mandate"? W got 51% percent of the vote and now he and his cohorts are claiming a "clear mandate"--and the ever-complicit media is helping propagate the meme. Just a sampling of what we're up against over the next four years of the rightwing media-industrial complex. And: Breaking down the mandate. Plus: Hello, Canada? We'd like to secede.

The age of decency: Gambling addict/morality crusader Bill Bennett offers a chilling take on things: "Having restored decency to the White House, President Bush now has a mandate to affect policy that will promote a more decent society, through both politics and law. His supporters want that, and have given him a mandate in their popular and electoral votes to see to it. Now is the time to begin our long, national cultural renewal ("The Great Relearning," as novelist Tom Wolfe calls it) — no less in legislation than in federal court appointments. It is, after all, the main reason George W. Bush was reelected."

Balancing Bennett: Alternet's Janette Batz Cooperman writes that "I must abandon the solace of thinking my political opponents benighted, uneducated and cognitively impaired. But I refuse to think them more moral," and the late Hubert Humphrey offered a standard with which we can assess the next four years (or the last four): "the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life—the sick, the needy and the handicapped."

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