Elections are a loan of power
I disagree with Howard Dean on a lot of things, but I have to agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment he expressed which was quoted in an article in The New York Times by Jeff Zeleny entitled "Democrats Face a Tough Job, Leader Says":
"The other party made mistakes in the past claiming that elections are mandates," Mr. Dean said. "Elections are not mandates. The voters of this country loaned the Democrats the power of the country for two years. Now it's our job to earn it back again."
Whether voters choose to renew and even expand the loan in two years will depend on the rate of return that they receive.
Alas, as Mr. Dean also frets, I remain concerned that so many Democrats will simply enjoy the perks of power and engage in so much small-minded petty party politics, without making deeply serious efforts to rebuild our democracy, open market economy, and moral standing in the world.