Glenn Reynolds has been saying for a while that a Kerry victory based solely on Bush hatred would lead to a failed presidency "subject to Washington crosswinds and slave to his party's interest groups." Now he has linked to an article from The Economist that buttresses his point. But what Reynolds and The Economist aren't getting is that the Republicans have been bending over backwards to make this a Referendum on John Kerry. The president doesn't stand up in rallies and promise to invade Syria in his second term. He denounces his opponent.
The only mandates that the president will carry into his second term, should he get one, are negative. He will have a mandate to not "flip-flop," (though he certainly will) to not be a "Massachusetts Liberal"; and to not use the words "nuance" and "nuisance."
The quality of the president's second term accomplishments will have more to do with how the Republicans fare in the senate races.