In an article about the impasse in budget negotiations yesterday, the New York Times, has a window into why the GOP seems impervious to “fever breaking”:

House Republicans argue that voters handed their members a mandate as well, granting the party control of the House for another two years

This definition of a “mandate” makes George Bush’s claim of one in 2004 positively accurate.

More than a month after the election, the Democrats’ popular vote lead expanded significantly. Based on current tallies, Democrats now lead Republicans 59,343,447 to 58,178,393 in total votes cast for their House candidates — meaning that the American people preferred Democrats over Republicans by nearly a full percentage point of the total vote. Yet, despite clearly losing the popular vote, Republicans will control nearly 54 percent of the seats in the House in the 113th Congress.

This difference is not unheard of, but proclaiming a popular vote loss as a mandate does seem a rather unique Republican quality.