Archive for the ‘Lincoln’ Category

Obama Cannot Perform Without Teleprompter (Biden Bad With or Without…)

March 5, 2009

Many have noticed that Barack Obama just isn’t himself without his teleprompter.  In fact, without his favorite speech aid, the next Abraham Lincoln sounds a lot like, well, Jimmy Carter.

Joe Biden is a confused, inanne and inept public speaker even with his teleprompter.  Today he gave the major address at an AFL-CIO event and cameras and other recording devices were banned.

We thought it interesting to note that Rush Limbaugh never uses a teleprompter at all….

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/02/24/ma
ny-hours-before-he-had-uttered-a-word/

******

President Barack Obama doesn’t go anywhere without his TelePrompter.

The textbook-sized panes of glass holding the president’s prepared remarks follow him wherever he speaks.

Resting on top of a tall, narrow pole, they flank his podium during speeches in the White House’s stately parlors. They stood next to him on the floor of a manufacturing plant in Indiana as he pitched his economic stimulus plan. They traveled to the Department of Transportation this week and were in the Capitol Rotunda last month when he paid tribute to Abraham Lincoln in six-minute prepared remarks.

Obama’s reliance on the teleprompter is unusual — not only because he is famous for his oratory, but because no other president has used one so consistently and at so many events, large and small.

After the teleprompter malfunctioned a few times last summer and Obama delivered some less-than-soaring speeches, reports surfaced that he was training to wean himself off of the device while on vacation in Hawaii. But no such luck.

Read the rest from Politico:
http://www.politico.com/news/st
ories/0309/19663.html

Related:
 Transparency? Biden Appears At Union Event But Cameras Not Allowed

http://nukegingrich.com/2009/0
3/05/obamas-brain/

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Obama Respects Afghans More Than Americans

February 15, 2009

Earth shaking news today that Pressident Barack Obama has honored President Hamid Karzai’s request for Afghanistan’s official representation in the strategic review on the future of the U.S. and Afghanistan.

Karsai may have gotten the idea from U.S. Chaiman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen who has an Op-Ed in today’s Washington Post under the headline “Trust is the Coin of the Realm.”

Trust is the coin of the realm

 Obama Team Gloats: Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing

Too bad there was no such effort to involve Republicans in the formulation of the “strategic review” that built the just passed economic stimulus.

That’s because by most accounts, there was no real strategic review on the future of the American economy and what to do next by Team Obama, that we know about, for sure, even given the pledge on “transparency;” and the Republican involvement in the formulation of the stimulus was only given lip service.

We write this fittingly on Valentine’s Day; a day that is often charged with lip service.

Note to President Obama: Congressional Republicans represent something like 47% of the American voter population that voted for the other guy.

In Kabul, Afghanistan, U.S. Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke said President Obama welcomed President Karzai’s recommendation for his side’s total involvment in the U.S. planning effort.

Karzai said his foreign minister, Dadfar Rangin Spanta, would head the delegation.

Memo to Dadfar Rangin Spanta: when you meet Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid you are in trouble.  The “strategic review” is finished, if the stimulus is any guide.

Now maybe the White House, which honored Republicans before the vote on the stimulus with photo opportunity meetings with the president, a cocktail party, a Super Bowl feed complete with peanuts, and not one actual working group of real substance at the White House, Old Executive (excuse me, I’m old: Eisenhower) Office Building, or in the House or the Senate Office Buildings — will send a special envoy to meet Republicans.

I mean, there is a special envoy to the Middle East, isn’t there?  To Afghanistan?  Even Susan Rice, Ambassador to the U.N. is now said to have Cabinet Rank?

Where’s the outreach to Repubicans — and their 47% of the electorate — that has productive intention, real merit, and invites seriously serious input?

Real outreach to Republicans doesn’t exist and hasn’t yet in this presidency.

Trust is not the coin of this realm.

Let’s see: we need a White House special envoy to Republicans.  We are just thinking of guys that won’t be laughed at or ridiculed by say Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, John McCain, or talking heads like Karl Rove  and Charles Krauthammer.

How about  Rahm Emanuel or Jimmy Carter? 

No, maybe not.

Trust is not the coin of Rahm. Ask Judd Gregg.

And Afghanistan should know that the “bipartisanship” they really seek is not the kind of bipolar treatment that Democrats just gave Republicans during the stimulus enema. 

Hint to White House: you don’t need a special envoy to Rush Limbaugh.  Republicans only like him for his entertainment value….

But maybe the president himself could still be the special envoy to Republicans in the spirit of trust and bipartisanship?

Maybe not.

The president’s record on “outrach” and  bipartisanship to Republicans, and trasparency, so far, I mean during the stimulus, is like purchased sex with a working girl; it is sleezy and meaningless.  Maybe he needs some chachki toys or aluminum key chains with little hand painted “Air Force One” or “White House” gimmicks or the presidential Great Seal.  You know, creations to hand out to Republicans…..  Or maybe a little yellow tractor from Caterpillar on a key chain….  Or Abe Lincoln to remind one of two great presidents….

Karzai: watch out.  It’s not just the Taliban that will keep you awake with worry about trust.

If you get peanuts at the White House watch out.  And don’t be surprised….

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

Related:
Missing from Congress’ stimulus negotiations: transparency

Afghanistan to take part in US strategic review

 Stimulus Proves Obama (And The NYT) Have No Idea What “Bipartisanship” Means; Or Could Care Less

 Stimulus: “Obama is popular but has no clout”

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/02/15/tax
payer-revolt-porkulus-protest-in-seattle/

economic stimulus bill will prevent American 'catastrophe'

Photo: AP
Afghan President Hamid Karzai (R) talks with U.S. Special Representative ...

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (R) talks with U.S. Special Representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke in Kabul February 15, 2009.REUTERS/Omar Sobhani (AFGHANISTAN)
Heavy reading 

Psst: Karzai.  If this is your agreement at the end of the ‘strategic review’ and you get it just before decision time, BEND OVER. House GOP leader John Boehner shows a copy of the massive bill, which he and every other Republican in the House opposed, along with seven Democrats. Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior ... 
Special envoy material….. Trust is the coin….Leadership, bipartisanship, transparency, honesty, integrity and clout?  Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior to the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, in Washington, January 20, 2009.(Jim Young – UNITED STATES/Reuters)

Obama: Steroids, Stimulus, and Lincoln

February 14, 2009

The establishment’s admiration for Honest Abe appears to grow in proportion to its dishonesty. A week of low national deceptions culminated in celebrations of Lincoln’s 200th birthday. Out came historians known for plagiarizing to deliver pious speeches before politicians who lie.

It is like an endless Charlie Rose panel, with the usual strained and pretentious throat-clearing. “Somehow Lincoln has worked himself into Obama’s heart and mind, and it’s a good thing to have Lincoln as your mentor,” Doris Kearns Goodwin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning plagiarist, said to the press.

By George Neumayr
American Spectator

This revival of Lincoln nostalgia has to be a form of delusional self-aggrandizement. Obama seems to be encouraging this renewed cult of Lincoln in egotistical anticipation of his own. Lincoln made “my story possible,” he said. CNN teed up its coverage with the modest title, “From Lincoln to Obama.”

A nodding liberal elite trots out Goodwin to extol Lincoln’s virtues of probity while presiding over an age of non-stop fraud — an age that solves recession by printing money, solves crime by repealing laws, solves illiteracy by eliminating tests, and solves homelessness by mandating bad loans.

And they are shocked at Alex Rodriguez? Why? Haven’t they noticed that lying has become the national pastime? He cheated on the field; they cheat in Congressional offices, board rooms, and bureaucracies. He took steroids; they take special-interests stimulus.

Nothing is what it appears, not even the inevitable confessions which are as carefully contrived as the crimes. A daily, indistinct mass of dishonesty washes over the public in a boring cycle of indifferent sin and contrition. Every crime, no matter how high or low, is merely a “mistake,” something on the order of lost car keys.

Read the rest:
http://spectator.org/archives/2009/0
2/13/steroids-stimulus-and-lincoln

Obama: It Seems Nobody Likes Your Stimulus

February 12, 2009

There is already a chorus of critics on the left and the right saying the stimulus is all wrong.

Al Sharpton and a pack of economists say it doesn’t spend enough.

And Wall Street Journal economists surveyed said the recovery will likely not come this year.

Related:
Al Sharpton criticizes Democrats over stimulus bill

 Obama: No Vision as Foundation to Spending; Except Maybe Socialism

Despite Stimulus, Economists’ Hopes for Second-Half Recovery Fade

Stimulus: China Will Fund U.S. Debt But “We Hate You Guys”

GOP Rep Says Stimulus is Garbage, Details “Intentionally Hidden from Lawmakers, American Voters”

Many Republicans say they get credit for holding spending down.

I say it has no vision and tend to agree with Tom Friedman of the New York Times who wrote:

“We don’t want to come out of this crisis with just inflation, a mountain of debt and more shovel-ready jobs. We want to — we have to — come out of it with a new Intel, Google, Microsoft and Apple. I would have loved to have seen the stimulus package include a government-funded venture capital bank to help finance all the start-ups that are clearly not starting up today — in the clean-energy space they’re dying like flies — because of a lack of liquidity from traditional lending sources.”

And most Americans see nothing happening and “experts” saying “it will work over a few years.”

Hard to swallow in the era of instant gratification.

Bill Sammon, a frequent talking head on Fox News, said this afternoon that the Democrats and their drive for overspending and the president’s constant foot on the feel good accelerator “has unwittingly given the Republicans their mojo back.”

Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire abruptly withdrew his nomination as commerce secretary Thursday, citing “irresolvable conflicts” with President Barack Obama’s handling of the economic stimulus and 2010 census.

Obama Commerce Secretary Nominee Judd Gregg Withdraws

Republicans stuck by their core values and mostly stuck together on the stimulus.  The only voices heard speaking about the long term implications of our huge debt — something the independent CBO underscored — and the tremendous downside of this borrowed-spending were from conservatives.

Now despite a week of Obama “town hall” meetings and pep talks, I can’t hear the music and words of  “Joy for the Stimulus” wafting through the air.

That’s because the stimulus is, in many ways, a pork fest developed by Nancy Pelosi and the very liberal and near sighted Democrats in the House.

Now Nancy-and-the-nearsighted have blown most of the available money for the other earth changing plans they covet.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., enters Ford's Theatre ... 
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., enters Ford’s Theatre for its reopening and the bicentennial celebration of Lincoln’s birth, in Washington, on Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009. George Lucas is to receive the Lincoln Medal in honor of his accomplishments.(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

And, I find it difficult to swallow the president’s constant snuggling with Abraham Lincoln.  I just don’t buy it and here’s why.

During his Monday evening news conference didn’t President Obama characterize the stimulus debate as a talk between those who had a solution (Democrats) and those who had no solution (Republicans)?

I think so.  He threw bipartisanship and unity away.

Then today he urged all Americans to unite as Lincoln would have us do.  Forgive and forget.  We all serve under one flag.

You know what?  I gagged.

The president and his pals want to run the census, spend all the money in the treasury, and change the course of America in the direction of socialism.

And they have made it pretty clear they don’t want to hear from the “Republicans who got us into this.”

“I won” a few weeks ago is now, today, on Lincoln’t Birthday, “Why can’t you guys unite behind me?” 

There is an ugly implied “you guys are not real patriots” here….

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/02/12/7-m
ost-self-delusional-words-from-nancy-pelosi/

 Still, we wondered if Mr. Obama could over-do the Lincoln analogy. Is it in his political interest to mind-meld with another president? Is he being presumptuous? Is he raising expectations?  See:
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/
2009/02/12/the-abraham-lincoln-an
alogy/?hp

Related:
Obama’s “My way or the highway” vs “better ideas”

Tom Friedman:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/11/opi
nion/11friedman.html

“Republicans Rape Truth,” and The “Over the Top”

February 12, 2009

You come to us today on your bicycles after buying Girl Scout cookies and helping out Mother Teresa and telling us ‘we’re sorry, we didn’t mean it, we won’t do it again, trust us.’ Well, I have some people in my constituency that actually robbed some of your banks and they say the same thing.”

“America doesn’t trust you any more… I don’t have one single penny in any of your banks — not one…. I don’t want my money put into CDOs and credit default swaps and humongous bonuses.”

That tongue lashing came from Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MASS) to some of America’s top bankers yesterday.

Cute, self-serving and unnecessary.

Here’s a suggestion nobody will follow — aimed at all those involved in political theater: and you know who you are.

Over the top language just used to get your face on TV and, worse, to distort the truth, demeans our political pocess and tells our children that politics and lawmaking is a game of buffoonery for buffoons.

Politics, we have to conclude, is a say anything and get yourself on TV game.

Rod Blagoyevich showed that.

And he got into trouble.

But nobody seems to have learned anything from him.  Blago has been dismissed as an abhorrent aberration.  An abomination.  Shame on him.

But every other jerkweeed still in office can say what he wants.

Over night, nearly every TV report on the testimony of bank executives before Congress started with “Bankers were hauled before Congress yesterday…”

Well, “hauled,” in the care of people and not furniture, is a pejorative use of the word.

People going before Congress are being “hauled” these days because they are about to be pilloried as in exposed to ridicule and abuse.

That’s what it looks like so that is why media thinks “hauled” is appropriate.

Listen to the tone of testimoy and ask yourself, “are we seeking truth? ” Or are we  just being critical in the form of a question?

So you have to expect media to use a word like “hauled” when they  see the antics of Congressmen acting like moneys and putting words into the mouths of those executives they invited to testify.  Often at Congressional testimony the witnesses are  in jobs those we elected could never, ever be expected to do themselves because they just aren’t good enough.

Demonizing executives and others at testimony is demeaning.  Demonizing makes one feel superior, I suppose….  But in the end the practicioners might just end up like Blago (and I hope they do).

The legislators are making a mockery of the systems created by Jefferson and Washington to do what?  Get on TV?  Get reelected?  Distort the truth?  Create wrong impressions?  All of the above?

I remember when party leaders would quietly put an end to childish behavior.  But now there are too few senior legistalors left who have good sense and good manners themselves.

John Warner went home.

Are these antics in hearings meant to show that lawmakers are superior to workers and executives?

Well, you know what?  I just don’t believe that the lawmakers are smarter than anybody….  especially when they need to grab the “over the top” tool so often.

Making money pays taxes and hires people and pays for health care.  Witnesses who make money and provide jobs and pay taxes should be treated with respect.  In fact; we should treat all with respect and allow them to dig their own graves — which is what many lawmakers are generally good at.

President Obama, no virgin at “over the top” language, said Monday night,  “the federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back into life.”

He didn’t even say “good government.”

He also characterized the stimulus debate as a talk between those who had a solution (Democrats) and those who had no solution (Republicans). Of course if this were true there would be no need for bipartisanship — which has been sent to the ash heap after what?  Three weeks?

Can we never be honest? 

No.

Our government has become a pack of dishonest hacks making a mockery of good government.  And that government is about to get even bigger.

Those with some years and wisom watch all this over the top buffoonery on TV and shake their heads in dismay — many of us retired and will die soon, thank God…. with memories of Truman, FDR and Lincoln.

Well, not Lincoln.  That would be over the top.

The youngsters among us might just watch these jerks on TV because they have no jobs and are awaiting the only institution the president says can help: government.

Good luck.

Bad government.

Related:
“Banking Spanking”: Barney Franks Unleashed

Obama: Let’s Be More Honest About Economy, Plans, Republicans

Quotes from the banking hearings:
http://www.reuters.com/article/ousiv/id
USTRE51A7GY20090211

Barack Obama Essay: Martin Luther King Day

January 19, 2009

On the day of the first inauguration to take place in this city, a small band of citizens gathered to watch Thomas Jefferson assume office. Our young and fragile democracy had barely finished a long and contentious election that tested our founding ideals, and there were those who feared our union might not endure.

It was a perilous moment. But Jefferson announced that while we may differ in opinion, we all share the same principles. “Let us, then, fellow citizens, unite with one heart and one mind,” he said, urging those assembled to begin anew the work of building a nation.


Barack Obama wrote this essay for The Washington Times

In the more than two centuries since, inaugurations have taken place during times of war and peace, depression and prosperity. Beneath the unfinished dome of the Capitol, a young lawyer from Illinois swore an oath to defend the Constitution a divided nation threatened to tear apart. In an era of unprecedented crisis, an optimistic New Yorker refused to allow us to succumb to fear. In a time of great change, a young man from Massachusetts convinced us to think anew with regard to serving our fellow man.

At each and every moment, the American people have joined with one heart and one mind – not just to commemorate a new president, but to celebrate those common ideals, share our hopes for a brighter future and resolve to advance our bold experiment.

Tomorrow, we’ll gather at a new time of great challenge for the American people. Our nation is at war. Our economy is in turmoil. We have much work to do toward restoring prosperity and renewing the promise of this nation.

And yet while our problems may be new, what is required to overcome them is not. What is required is the same perseverance and idealism that our Founders displayed. What is also required is that we break free from rigid ideology and small thinking, and together grab hold of this opportunity to bridge partisan divides and deliver change for the American people.

The state of our union and challenges of a new century demand that we move beyond the old debates and stale arguments. We must focus today not on the dogmas of left and right, but on practical answers to the difficult problems of our times.

The impetus for that change will come from the American people, where the ultimate power in our democracy lies.

That is why the events of this week are not simply about the inauguration of another American president – they are a celebration of our democracy. We have made this inauguration the most open and accessible in our history, with the sole purpose of involving more citizens than ever before. And as we gather on a mall, in our neighborhoods and in our homes to begin our new journey together, we remember that our greatest strength has always been found in one another.

For the first time ever, we’re opening up the entire length of our National Mall for an inauguration. We’ve invited ordinary citizens from across the country, welcomed local schoolchildren and their families to the parade, and worked with local organizations to distribute free inaugural ball tickets to D.C. residents and military families. And we’ll broadcast and webcast the first-ever Neighborhood Inaugural Ball so that all Americans can join us – wherever their neighborhood may be.

We’ve heeded Jefferson’s words by involving Democrats, Republicans and independents in all aspects of this inauguration. Tonight, we will hold a series of dinners to honor leaders whose lifetime of public service has been enhanced by a dedication to bipartisan achievement, including my former opponent, Sen. John McCain.

We will couple the spirit of this inauguration with the celebration of the life of a preacher who once stood and shared his dream for America on the very mall where we’ll gather tomorrow. Martin Luther King lived his life as a servant to others, and today, ordinary citizens all across the country honor that legacy through the more than 10,000 service projects they’ve created on USAservice.org. And I’m asking the American people to answer the call and turn today’s efforts into an ongoing commitment to enrich the lives of Americans in their communities, their cities and their country.

After all, it’s that commitment to one another that’s always led us forward as a people. Because from those first citizens to the millions technology will connect this week, through times of great challenge and great change, we have remembered that fundamental American truth – that what unites us is always more powerful than what divides us.

That is the spirit that has always sustained us. That is the principle that must drive us now. And I am confident that if we come together and summon that great American spirit once again, we will meet the challenges of our time and write the next great chapter in our American story.

Editor’s note: President-elect Barack Obama wrote this essay for The Washington Times in honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

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Obama, Biden, Families Emphasize Service on MLK Day

By BEN FELLER, Associated Press Writer

Now Obama is asking the nation to honor King’s legacy by making a renewed commitment to service. That has long been the goal of the King holiday, even if many see it as a day off.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/inauguration_rdp

The Obama-Lincoln Parallel: A Closer Look

January 19, 2009

“Lincoln and Obama shared a loved of words, a belief that rhetoric and oratory could change people’s minds, and the way they would express things, the confidence they would have in a debate – not by fiery oratory, but by a calming presence, a reasoned argument,” says Rice University History Professor Douglas Brinkley.

Brinkley cautions against too close a comparison between Lincoln and Obama.  “When Lincoln came to Washington, seven states had already seceded from the Union. And the Civil War would kill countless Americans.”

Barack Obama and his family recently visited the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. 

From CBS News

With Lincoln often ranking atop historians’ surveys of the greatest U.S. presidents, who wouldn’t want the “Lincolnesque” moniker applied to them? Obama’s circle goes further in portraying him as also fulfilling the legacies of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

“What all of those men have in common is a kind of rallying the country together behind words,” Brinkley says. “If people start to have the name Barack Obama uttered in the same breath as Martin Luther King or Abraham Lincoln, that’s walking in pretty tall cotton.”

As Brinkley sees it, a better analogy lies between Obama and Franklin Roosevelt, who inherited the Great Depression or Lyndon Johnson, who launched the Great Society programs. The Lincoln inspiration, Brinkley says, is nothing new.

“All Presidents walk the corridor and think about Lincoln. They stare at his portrait. Richard Nixon used to drink gin and have the Secret Service take him to the Lincoln Memorial at night just to talk to Lincoln’s statue,” Brinkley says. Theodore Roosevelt wore a lock of Lincoln’s hair in a ring on his finger.

“We don’t realize how hard it is to be President and how lonely it is in the White House,” Brinkley says, especially when rebel troops are occupying Maryland and Virginia.
.
“It’s very hard to say who has a tougher job,” says Holzer. “Is it the man who’s facing a fiscal crisis worse than any since the Depression and also the specter of nuclear war, terrorism, health pandemics, and all of the issues that a 21st century president has to deal with and hopefully solve? Or is it the President who is facing the destruction of the entire country that he’s been elected to lead?”

Related:
 Obama Reaching Too Much Toward Lincoln?
.
Obama’s “Lincoln Obsession”

For Obama, Media Can’t Wait, Can’t Criticize

Historians say Obama is no Lincoln

Obama And The Press: What’s The Future?

Obama and Lincoln: Historians Mixed (As Usual)

Read all the CBS story:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009
/01/17/politics/main4731552.shtml

CNN:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/
01/17/lincoln.obsession/index.html

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AFP

The spirit of Abraham Lincoln will suffuse Tuesday’s inauguration day, as Barack Obama channels the example of America’s greatest president for a national struggle to overcome the trials of today.

From the Bible that Obama intends to use at his swearing-in to the food he will eat afterwards, the 44th president is overtly invoking his illustrious predecessor in an audacious grasp at history’s inspiration.

“The comparisons to Lincoln, which he has not run away from, set up a high standard, particularly for Americans who don’t really follow politics,” Princeton University presidential historian Julian Zelizer said.

“I think his goals are threefold: first to connect himself with a great leader; second, to place himself in a broader narrative about the nation overcoming its racial past; and third, about being a leader who can heal divisions in difficult times,” he said.

In the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, Obama is reaching back to another lanky lawyer from Illinois who surmounted doubts about his political inexperience to win the presidency at a time of the greatest crisis.

President from 1861 to 1865, Lincoln steered the north to victory over the rebel south in the Civil War, abolished slavery and handed down some of the most inspirational oratory of US history.

His adroitly managed administration was a “team of rivals” drawn from his competitors for the Republican nomination, an example that the Democratic Obama has emulated in naming Hillary Clinton to his cabinet as secretary of state.

In his books and speeches, Obama has described Lincoln as his political hero. He launched his quest to become America’s first black president from the steps of the Illinois state legislature, where Lincoln also served.

For the over-arching theme of his inauguration, Obama has dusted off words from Lincoln’s immortal Gettysburg Address — “A New Birth of Freedom.”

There is a risk of rhetorical over-reach as the untested Obama takes office with the economy deep in crisis and US troops engaged in two wars. But he is not shying away from the comparison, re-reading Lincoln as he hones his own inaugural address.

“You know, there’s a genius to Lincoln that is not going to be matched,” he said in an ABC television interview, claiming to be “intimidated” at the power of Lincoln’s second inaugural address.

But like Lincoln, Obama says he will use his inaugural speech to urge Americans to come together in a spirit of sacrifice, defeat the present challenge and remake their nation as a “beacon for the world.”

And intimidated or not, Obama was funneling the Lincoln example en route to the inauguration, on Saturday retracing his predecessor’s train journey into Washington from Philadelphia and Baltimore.

Obama was Sunday beginning the official inaugural festivities with a public event at the imposing Lincoln Memorial, at the far end of the National Mall from Congress, where he will be sworn in Tuesday.

For that occasion, in front of a crowd expected by city authorities to number millions, Obama will rest his left hand on Lincoln’s own Bible — borrowed from the Library of Congress — to take the oath of office.

Afterwards, Obama will sit down for lunch with congressional leaders, Supreme Court justices and members of his incoming cabinet to eat the kinds of food enjoyed by Lincoln.

The VIP guests will dine on seafood stew, wild game, root vegetables and apple cake off a replica service of the china set selected by Lincoln’s wife at the start of his presidency.

But perhaps just as well, one Washington site intimately connected to Lincoln will not figure in Obama’s celebration. Ford’s Theatre, where the 16th president was assassinated, is closed for renovation.

Prostitution Banned During Obama Events, But in Lincoln’s Time….

January 19, 2009

You invite a couple of million of your closest friends to the biggest bash your town has ever thrown. You extend bar hours nearly till dawn. You import thousands of cops to keep the streets safe. You commandeer every bit of paved surface you can think of to accommodate innumerable buses packed with visitors.

And then you plaster the street lamp poles in a central part of the city with big red signs “WARNING” all that “This area has been declared a PROSTITUTION FREE ZONE.”

What’s wrong with this picture?

By Marc Fisher
The Washington Post

Now, maybe I’m not reading this the way your average tourist or Obama supporter would, but to me, this sign–one of a whole bunch D.C. police have posted between 4th and 5th streets NW from Eye to L streets–means that everywhere the signs aren’t, prostitution is just fine and dandy.

Read the rest:
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/rawfisher/
2009/01/welcome_to_inauguration_island.html

***************

In The Lincoln Presidency, House Of Ill Repute Stood on the Mall

By John E. Carey

Millions of Americans are in Washington DC to participate in the events of the New Obama Presidency.

May have enjoyed comparisons to Lincoln, and walked over the site of the finest Washington DC whore house ever.
Mary Ann Hall catered to the nation’s elite in Washington as the proprietor of the capital’s best brothel during the Civil War.

Located just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol on Maryland Avenue on what now is part of the Mall, her house, a three-story structure nearly the size of a city block, included parlors, an elegant dining room and, almost assuredly, the most attractive of the city’s estimated 5,000 “soiled doves.”

Prostitution was not a crime in the 19th century, and any concentration of troops during the Civil War attracted flocks of “camp followers” who were available for a price. Women often would show up after battles and offer their services to the generals as nurses. The “nursing,” however, frequently became an open door to those less honest and caring, and when armies experienced theft, prostitution and other less traditional forms of nursing, generals sometimes rejected offers of female help.

Houses of prostitution were fairly common in America’s larger cities, and Washington had as many as 450 entertainment venues on the “wilder side.” The presence of affluent politicians, lobbyists and the hierarchy of the government departments helped make Washington a man’s home away from home.

Elected representatives in those years did not routinely bring wives and families to Washington. Service in Congress was not necessarily even a full-time job. The city was hot and steamy. Nights could be filled with drinking, smoking, gambling and frolicking with willing companions of the gentler sex, far from the eyes of the electorate at home.

Mary Ann Hall took every opportunity to provide such indulgences. The throngs of men willing and able to pay her comparatively exorbitant rates deserved the best. Imported hats, dresses and perfume enhanced her staff. Magnums of champaign added an air of dignity, gentility and grace. Fine food filled the supper tables. Her real goal as hostess, however, was to supply attractive women.

The fashion of the time was an hourglass shape – an ample bosom and tiny waist – which not all women could achieve without corsets reinforced with steel belts called busks. Busks, champagne corks, fine china and combs to hold spectacular hair creations all have been excavated from the site where Hall’s house once stood. Historians and archaeologists believe the quality of these items shows the elegance Hall brought to her entertainment trade. Several of them, including rusted busks, have been preserved by the Smithsonian Institution.

Hall insisted on certain standards of decorum, and her house, which opened around 1837, flourished until it closed in 1878. She was never raided by police, was not the subject of public disgrace or even controversy and was never discussed in newspapers. Editors in those days believed that what was private should stay private. Unless a public figure disgraced himself so thoroughly that prosecution was in order, private excesses remained unreported.

Rep. Daniel E. Sickles of New York learned the limits the hard way. Rumors abounded in the late 1850s that he maintained close personal relationships with a variety of women. Though tongues wagged, his private pleasures never merited newspaper interest. Then, when he murdered his much-younger wife’s lover, Barton Key, the son of Francis Scott Key, who wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner”- detailed accounts of the court proceedings made newspaper sales soar.

Sickles shoots Key in 1859 
Sickles shoots Key in 1859; from a newspaper

The 1859 trial and associated juicy details sold newspapers and became for a time the talk of Washington and New York. Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper printed 200,000 copies as the trial opened. Demand forced a second printing of 300,000. (During the Civil War, then-Gen. Sickles’ private indiscretions returned to the realm of private matters. After the war, despite routine and well-documented misbehavior, his private life remained taboo to journalists.)

Mary Ann Hall became a wealthy woman. She died in 1886 and was buried in Congressional Cemetery beneath a carved stone statue of herself.

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Ladies’ general

The slang word for prostitute, hooker, is generally thought to have originated during the Civil War. For generations, rumors claimed that Union Gen. “Fighting Joe” Hooker had inspired the nickname by his amorous relationships.


General Joe Hooker

There is, however, a recorded use of the word before the war, according to the Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins. The dictionary’s authors queried historian Bruce Catton, who agreed that the term came into use before the Civil War but that it became popular during the conflict. An area south of Constitution Avenue was known for its extracurricular activities and was referred to as “Hooker’s Division.” A Civil War officer, Charles Francis Adams Jr., referred to Hooker’s headquarters as “as place to which no self-respecting man likes to go, and no decent woman could go – a combination of barroom and brothel.”

Hooker should be remembered, however, for more than his moral laxities. He was wounded at Antietam and fought at Second Bull Run, and Lincoln made him commander of the Army of the Potomac after Ambrose Burnside’s disastrous defeat at Fredericksburg.

The Battle of Chancellorsville began well and ended badly for the 48-year-old West Point graduate, and just days before Gettysburg, Hooker asked to be relieved. The president appointed George Gordon Meade his successor as commander of the Army of the Potomac.

John E. Carey is a frequent contributor to the Civil War page and The Washington Times.

http://civilwarstoriesofinspiration.wordpress.com/

Lincoln’s Top African American Advisor Recalled on Martin Luther King, Obama Days

January 19, 2009

On Martin Luther King Day and the day prior to the inauguration of the first black President of the United States, Barack Obama, it may be fitting to recall Frederick Douglass.

Douglass was Abraham Lincoln’s top African American advisor and he had permission to visit the president whenever he needed to.

Slave born and self educated, Douglass was the finest African American orator of his day — probably only equalled by Martin Luther King and Barack Obama years later.

By John E. Carey

To serious students of the Civil War, Frederick Douglass usually requires little introduction. Douglass excelled as a leader and role model. Slave, writer, accomplished orator, abolitionist, friend and advisor to Lincoln, Douglass spearheaded the movement to allow black men to enlist in the Union forces.

Douglass was the first African American ever invited to the White House (by Abraham Lincoln) and he coined the term “Ebony and Ivory” when he invited Stephen Douglas to debate slavery (Douglas demurred).

Douglass threw himself into the national debate with zeal and enthusiasm. He fought to end slavery within the United States in the decades prior to the Civil War. Additionally, he complimented “talk” with action, managing an underground railroad that rescued hundreds and maybe even thousands of slaves by spiriting them into Canada.
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Frederick Douglass portrait.jpg
Frederick Douglass

Three turning points in Douglass’ fascinating life tell us much about the man who owns a unique place in American history. The first turning point came when John Brown tried to enlist Douglass, his powers of persuasion and his reputation into the Harper’s Ferry raid. Determining that the pacifists’ approach to abolition fostered by Douglass was not working, John Brown and William Lloyd Garrison set upon a more violent course of action. They wanted to enlist Douglass to help in their plan.In the very first issue of his anti-slavery newspaper, the Liberator, William Lloyd Garrison wrote, “I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. . . . I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.”

Douglass became enthralled with Garrison and the Liberator. “My soul was set on fire,” Douglass wrote of the paper. In 1839, Douglass began to write essays for the Liberator, which ultimately resulted in a long career of writing and speaking out against slavery. His newspaper notoriety made him a lightening rod for the abolitionist cause, and he became on the first truly nationally known black abolitionists.
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A former slave himself, Douglass had endured feeding from a trough, whippings and other humiliating privations. Douglass understood the plight of his fellow black men better than many others. His essays counted and white leaders in American took note.Even though Douglass and Garrison waged a public argument over the methods and tactics of achieving abolition, Douglass drew the attention of John Brown of Kansas.

Related:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITI
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Brown believed that Douglass would like his idea to free slaves by attacking federal property in the deeply divided areas of Maryland and Virginia. Brown thought he could incite a revolt of slaves everywhere; and that Douglass might eagerly help him do just that.

In 1859, John Brown rented a farm near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and began planning his attack on Harper’s Ferry. He invited Douglass to a meeting in the hopes that he might recruit Douglass into the scheme.Douglass met with Brown in August, 1859.

John Brown, c.1856.

When Douglass heard the violent and illegal nature of Brown’s planned attack on the federal arsenal, Douglass knew that lawlessness would only alienate the support of the white community. This turning point marked Douglass as a moderate who refused to support violent or lawless opportunists in the cause of abolition.

Had Douglass become a part of Brown’s cabal, he certainly would have lost his standing with white abolition leaders and may have wound up alongside Brown on the gallows.At the outset of the Civil War, Douglass established two goals for his life: the emancipation of all the slaves in southern and border states and the establishment of the right of black men to enlist and serve in the Union Army. These goals would lead Douglass to two more turning points, both involving President Abraham Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln

Douglass launched what modern observers might call a “media blitz,” calling for the emancipation of the slaves. He created a pressure cooker, of sorts, for President Lincoln. Lincoln knew in his heart that Douglass was right to want the freedom of all the slaves, but agonizing defeats on the battlefield, rising casualty figures, and resistance to the draft caused Lincoln to balk. Lincoln didn’t want the emancipation controversy to become another reason for white northerners to take sides against the war.

But Douglass would not relent. Understanding well Lincoln’s political considerations, Douglass still believed emancipation must be achieved as soon as possible. This second turning point caused Douglass to kept up his pressure on the president. Douglass authored strongly worded published essays and gave innumerable speeches not directly attacking Lincoln but clearly supporting emancipation. And Lincoln relented: deciding he must free the slaves as soon as the Union Army turned back Lee’s forces at Antietam.

Frederick Douglass’ final turning point came when he became distressed at Lincoln’s failure to legalize the enlistment of black men into the Union Army after emancipation. If black men were free and full citizens, Douglass argued, they had the right and privilege of service in their nation’s military forces. They had the right to participate as combatants in their nation’s war.Douglass knew than emancipation was not his final goal. He wanted all black men to become citizens and he knew that the road to citizenship could come through service to the nation.

Said Douglass, “Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letters U.S., let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pocket, and there is no power on earth which can deny that he has earned the right to citizenship in the United States.:Unable to contain his distress over Lincoln’s slow response on this issue, Douglass departed for Washington D.C. – and his third turning point. Douglass went to the White House to confront Lincoln over the issue of black enlistment.

Lincoln received the hostile Douglass in his usual dignified and gentlemanly manner. Lincoln explained that many of his generals expressed doubt about enlisting the black men.Although Douglass was not pleased with Lincoln’s response, Douglass experienced another turning point. He knew this was a time for cooperation and reconciliation. He left the White House with Lincoln’s promise to ultimately allow black men full rights and responsibilities in the Army. Lincoln asked for understanding and a little more time.

Douglass returned to Boston and a short time later became one of the best recruiters of black men into the Union Army.

Frederick Douglass inspired all men to greater things. His greatness can be seen in his turning points: the rejection of John Brown’s violence, his indefatigable refusal to give in on important issues such as emancipation, and his ability to reconcile and compromise with other leaders like Lincoln.

Douglass’ turning points allowed him to ultimately achieve all his objectives.On April 14, 1876, Frederick Douglass gave an oration in memory of Abraham Lincoln. Douglass’ words that day tell us much about both men:“Friends and fellow-citizens, the story of our presence here is soon and easily told. We are here in the District of Columbia, here in the city of Washington, the most luminous point of American territory; a city recently transformed and made beautiful in its body and in its spirit; we are here in the place where the ablest and best men of the country are sent to devise the policy, enact the laws, and shape the destiny of the Republic; we are here, with the stately pillars and majestic dome of the Capitol of the nation looking down upon us; we are here, with the broad earth freshly adorned with the foliage and flowers of spring for our church, and all races, colors, and conditions of men for our congregation–in a word, we are here to express, as best we may, by appropriate forms and ceremonies, our grateful sense of the vast, high, and preeminent services rendered to ourselves, to our race, to our country, and to the whole world by Abraham Lincoln.”

Frederick Douglass: a great American leader and achiever, shaped by his turning points.

Inauguration: In a time of fear, a moment of hope

January 18, 2009

When Barack Obama takes the oath as the first African American president of the United States on Tuesday, gazing down the National Mall at the Lincoln Memorial, man and moment will meet in an instant remarkable for a nation once torn by slavery.

So history already has placed an enormous burden of expectation on Obama’s shoulders. But he also comes to power invested with the hopes and fears of an anxious nation facing the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression and fighting two foreign wars.

Adding to that, Obama made central to his winning campaign a pledge to pursue a new, post-partisan politics that would unite and renew the nation. His supporters already place him in the company of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt, comparisons that Obama and his aides have encouraged.

“All of these things, coming from a lot of different directions, have converged at this moment,” said Sean Wilentz, professor of history at Princeton University. “It speaks of a hunger for leadership and a hope that he will be it.”

The 47-year-old Obama, a tall, skinny lawyer who launched his campaign two years ago in Springfield, Ill., will be sworn in at noon on the Bible used in 1861 by Lincoln, another tall, skinny lawyer from Illinois. By coincidence, this year is the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth.

A great deal of ink, television airtime and Internet bandwidth already has been consumed by overheated commentary that paints Obama as a kind of messianic figure.

“Obama comes in with an unusually deep reservoir of goodwill from the public, but he’s also carrying large expectations,” said Adam Schiffer, an assistant professor of political science at Texas Christian University. “Americans are looking for quick and obvious payoffs.”

With the economy reeling and unemployment rising, people are eager for dramatic action, pollsters say. Obama’s stratospheric approval numbers for his performance during the transition show the public is prepared to give the new president what pollster John Zogby called “a pretty free hand.”

In an Associated Press-GFK poll released Friday, for instance, 37 percent of the respondents said they believed Obama would be an “above average” president, and 28 percent said he would be an “outstanding” one.

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