George Will touts it as a reason to dig in against any increases in tax rates:
And at least 219 of the 234 House Republicans won in November by margins larger than Obama’s national margin.
Because they were gerrymandered, as Will must surely know. The popular vote totals for the House actually shows a narrow Democratic victory – somewhere around 48.8 percent – 48.5 percent. It seems to me a "mandate" is if a candidate runs on a specific policy and wins. Obama's desire to recoup revenue by returning to the Clinton era tax rates for the very wealthy was a clear and central part of his campaign. It is supported by huge majorities in the polls. Tax reform – while necessary – will not raise the kind of revenue the government needs to stop the borrowing. Bowles-Simpson recognized this; Obama ran on it; Democrats ran on it and won the popular vote in the House and a clear majority in the Senate.
If that is not a mandate, what would be?