When it comes to Republican leaders, mandates are in the eyes of the beholder.
That's why they could claim in the wake of the 2000 presidential election that the party had a mandate although Al Gore got 540,000 more votes than George Bush.
And that's why Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell could claim with a straight face this week that he has a mandate although the Democrats have a 53 to 47 seat majority (two caucus members are independents) and Democrats have now secured a Senate majority for three consecutive cycles, the first time that has happened since 1992.
But it may be John Boehner lap dog Eric Cantor who has taken the biggest hit on the mandate crack pipe in claiming that the party will introduce a health-care reform repeal bill early in the 112th Congress because "that's what the American people want."
While repeal certainly is what some of the American people want, there has been no broad-based groundswell of support for repealing legislation and many of the harshest Republican critics of HCR following its passage have been conspicuous in their silence.
This may have something to do with the fact that the legislation, while expensive, can be literally life saving for some of their constituents, removes the pre-existing condition bugaboo and is a big help for families with unemployed young adults.