Archive for the ‘Lincoln’ Category

Obama Reaching Too Much Toward Lincoln?

January 18, 2009

Barack Obama’s inauguration is dedicated to the proposition that all presidencies are not created equal.

In ways big and small, Obama is trying to summon Abraham Lincoln’s spirit to the proceedings.

By Hans Nichols
Bloomberg

Obama will roll into Washington’s Union Station today by train, duplicating part of Lincoln’s railroad journey from Illinois for his swearing in. The president-elect is to appear at a concert tomorrow at the Lincoln Memorial, and will take the oath of office Tuesday with one hand on the Bible that Lincoln used in 1861. Inaugural planners drew so many ties between the Illinois legislators-turned-presidents that Obama may risk straining the comparison.

He saved the union.jpg

“Everyone wants to be Lincoln,” says Harold Holzer, who has written or edited more than 20 books on Lincoln and the Civil War. “Is Obama overdoing it? Maybe.”

For most of the 144 years since Lincoln’s death, presidents of all political persuasions have tried to enlist Lincoln’s reputation for honesty and courage in support of their own ambitions. Leaders “see in Lincoln’s suffering validation of the criticism they have to endure,” Holzer says.

Still, the election of America’s first black president, from the same state as the leader who issued the Emancipation Proclamation, gives Obama a stronger claim than most predecessors to Lincoln’s legacy, says Tom Schwartz, a historian at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois.

‘Clear Thread’

There’s a “very clear thread that connects the two,” says Schwartz, who describes Obama’s history-making election as “a kind of bookend to Lincoln’s legacy in the Civil War.”

Obama will be sworn in at noon on Jan. 20, just three weeks before the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth on Feb. 12, 1809, an anniversary to be accompanied by museum exhibits, ceremonies, and new books planned long before Obama’s victory. “There’s a serendipity to it,” Schwartz says.

“Both of them were born to modest circumstances,” says former Democratic New York Governor Mario Cuomo, an amateur Lincoln historian. “Both of them wrote well, both of them spoke well, and neither of them is an ideologue.”

Obama’s childhood, as the son of a single mother who sometimes relied on food stamps, is a modern analogue of Lincoln’s log-cabin upbringing. Both presidents studied law and bested better-known U.S. senators from New York for their parties’ presidential nominations.

Strength of Oratory

Each man rocketed from relative obscurity on the strength of oratory, in Obama’s 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote address and Lincoln’s 1860 anti-slavery speech at New York’s Cooper Union.

A week after moving his family to temporary quarters in a Washington hotel, Obama took his wife and two daughters for a moon-bathed visit to the Lincoln Memorial, where a 19-foot-tall statue of the first Republican president looks down on the National Mall where throngs of visitors will watch Obama’s inaugural address.

The four-day inauguration schedule starts this morning in Philadelphia, where Obama boards a train to trace the last segments of Lincoln’s route, stopping in Wilmington, Delaware, to pick up Vice President-elect Joe Biden.

Gilding a Lily

“The inaugural train may turn out to be one gilding of the lily,” Holzer says, noting that the Obamas came to the capital two weeks ago. “Backtracking north to come south may be bit of an artifice.” Obama also plans a public event in Baltimore, which Lincoln slipped through in disguise, under cover of darkness, after learning about an assassination plot there.

The 44th president will be sworn in with an 1853 printing of the Bible, bound in burgundy velvet, purchased for Lincoln’s first inauguration in 1861. After his speech, Obama will join members of Congress in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall for lunch, served on china that duplicates the dishware first lady Mary Todd Lincoln picked for the White House.

Obama is following a well-worn precedent in comparing himself to Lincoln. Earlier this week, at his final news conference, departing President George W. Bush said his most- vocal critics remind him of fierce opposition that Lincoln endured: “There’s some pretty harsh discord when it came to the 16th president, just like there’s been harsh discord for the 43rd president.”

Obama announced his candidacy on the steps of old state capitol building in Springfield, noting that he and Lincoln both served in the state legislature. In May, as he was pulling away from New York Senator Hillary Clinton in the fight for the Democratic nomination, Obama suggested that — like Lincoln –he would consider stocking his Cabinet with former rivals.

‘One of My Heroes’

“I’m a practical-minded guy,” he said. “And you know one of my heroes is Abraham Lincoln.”

Read the rest:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p
id=20601087&sid=az5HzIamy_NQ&refer
=worldwide

Related:
 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)

Obama’s Genius, Inauguration Day, and Hope

January 17, 2009

Inauguration day is America’s unique day of hope. Whatever the speech, whoever the president-elect: a key player in every inauguration day is bound to be the Almighty and his right hand man: Hope.

I wrote that four years ago in a newspaper story published the morning of George W. Bush’s second inauguration.

Barack Obama made “hope” his watchword.  And that makes him more like all the other presidents than many might expect.

Trying to find a common thread among all those many inauguration day speeches, it occurred to me that “hope” was the most common thread linking all of America’s presidents.

We Americans don’t discuss hope much. Hope, it seems, is for sissies. Americans like action: like John Wayne kicking in the bad guy’s door, six-shooter in hand.

And some people shy away from discussing hope because the concept of hope puts one on the road to prayer and this, WE KNOW, is taboo to a segment of the world’s population.

But there is a day, every four years, when Americans celebrate hope. And that day is Inauguration Day.

And we listen to our elected president’s words. We judge our president-elect by these, his first words, as our commander in chief.

In history, there are many themes that seem to resonate through the inaugural addresses. Education, poverty, crime, war, and peace all appear over and over in inauguration day speeches. But the importance of God’s guidance and the wonderful goodness of hope permeates many of the great American inaugural addresses.

We should not be surprised that many presidents invoke the name of God, maybe even offer a prayer themselves for the success of the nation (and their presidency?), and offer us hope at the inauguration. Their task is looming large; their support sometimes fleeting. One might wonder at the overconfident man in such a difficult situation. Normal men ask for God’s help and offer us all a hopeful vision of the future.

On January 20, 1961, President John F. Kennedy said, “Let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.” He asked us to answer a “call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, ‘rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation’ –a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.”

On another January 20, in 1969, Richard M. Nixon reminded us, “Forces now are converging that make possible, for the first time, the hope that many of man’s deepest aspirations can at last be realized.” He also said, “We see the hope of tomorrow in the youth of today.”

President Lincoln, in his second inaugural, looked with hope at the end of the Civil War. “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and for his orphans, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

Lincoln delivered these words on March 4, 1865. Just one month and 10 days after he delivered this speech, on April 14, Lincoln was assassinated.

President Eisenhower evoked hope. On January 20, 1953, he reminded the nation that “we view our Nation’s strength and security as a trust upon which rests the hope of free men everywhere.”

President James A. Garfield suggested a halt in the march of mankind, just for a moment, to reflect upon the importance of hope. In his March 4, 1881 inaugural, he said, “Before continuing the onward march let us pause on this height for a moment to strengthen our faith and renew our hope by a glance at the pathway along which our people have traveled.”

Inauguration day is a day of hope and prayer. No other day in American life is so steeped in prayer. No other day in the American calendar so often reverberates with the theme of hope.

Oh, many moments in American life begin with prayer: including the opening of House and Senate sessions in the capitol. But at our inaugurations, one can feel the sincerity of men thrust into the maelstrom. Greater Washington seems to become a great cathedral of hope and prayer: before it immediately returns to a nation that separates church and state.

What, exactly, is hope? You can’t buy anything with it and nobody can prove that it helps you in life. So what is hope?

Hope is an amputee veteran of the war in Iraq who wants to learn to ski. Hope is the cancer victim who won’t give in. Hope keeps the terminally ill calm and the pinned- down platoon together. Hope is the antithesis of despair, the enemy of our darkest fears.

Hope and prayer drive my friend in South Carolina to fight his multiple sclerosis.

Hope is one of those emotions unique to mankind. It sometimes defies reason and fights off evil thoughts of surrender.

Prayer goes hand-in-hand with hope; and America was founded by men deeply governed by their hope and prayer and belief in God.

The Founding Fathers established the United States, wrote the Declaration of Independence; the Bill of Rights and the Constitution; and created a nation firmly rooted in the belief in God and freedom of religion protected by the separation of church and state.

Many of the Founders and their forefathers fled Europe to escape religious prosecution. They wanted this new nation to allow them freedom of religion and thus the very nation is rooted in a belief in God.

The Declaration of Independence starts this way: “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the Earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

After signing the Declaration of Independence, Samuel Adams, who was called “the firebrand of the American Revolution,” affirmed his obedience to God by stating, “We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom alone men ought to be obedient. From the rising to the setting of the sun, may His kingdom come.”

James Madison, the fourth president, made the following statement, “We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

Madison is often referred to as “The Father of Our Constitution.”

When historians at the University of Houston conducted a 10-year study of the ideas that shaped our republic, they found 94 percent of the Founding Fathers’ quotes in 15,000 documents were based on the Bible.”God created all men equal,” one of the most fundamental and important acclamations of our government, became an underlying reason for the Civil War, a fundamental reason for the Emancipation Proclamation and a keynote of equality ever since.

Every president of the United States is sworn into office, by reciting an oath while he has one hand on the Bible. The oath ends, “So help me God.”

Every session of Congress since 1777 commenced with a prayer by a minister paid by the taxpayers.Every military service of the United States pays uniformed religious ministers for the officers and men in service. These ministers are from all faiths that recognize the importance of God in human life. Nearly every base has a chapel.

The Ten Commandments are carved into the doors of the Supreme Court and appear prominently in the court’s chambers.

Every piece of U.S. currency bears the words “In God We Trust.”

In America, you are even free to start your own religion. Nobody (except possibly the Internal Revenue Service) will interfere, so long as you don’t do anything outside the normal bounds of decent behavior.

So, as we all celebrate the blessings of American freedom, justice and government every day, perhaps we should reflect upon the roots and tenets of our democracy. We are not a Godless people. Or are we?

Yes, our democracy is evolving and we are open and accepting to that evolution. But let us not allow the evolution to turn into a careless revolution or even an unintended erosion of the principles by which we live and we are governed.

I am one of those historians that thinks the Founders were pretty smart. Their belief in God, hope and prayer encourages me every day.

So help me God.

John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Obama’s “Lincoln Obsession”

January 17, 2009

CNN says President-elect Obama has a “Lincoln obsession.”  They seem to applaud and love it.

We say: Presidents should do their best and let history decide the rest.  Let’s not build the Obama Monument on the Mall just yet, O.K.?

Related:
The Obama-Lincoln Parallel: A Closer Look
.
 Prostitution Banned During Obama Events, But in Lincoln’s Time….
.
Lincoln’s Top African American Advisor Recalled on Martin Luther King, Obama Days

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By Ed  Hornick, CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Call it an Abraham Lincoln obsession gripping political junkies and history buffs everywhere.
In the last couple of years, several best-selling books have focused on the life and political skills of the nation’s 16th president. And one man in particular has taken a particular interest in not just reading about the Illinois politician, but also modeling himself politically after him.

That man: Barack Obama, who will be sworn in as the nation’s 44th — and first African-American — president Tuesday.

And the obsession is certainly not lost on the president-elect.

On January 10, he and his family visited the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Read the rest and see the video:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/17/
lincoln.obsession/index.html

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

Historians say Obama is no Lincoln

Obama And The Press: What’s The Future?

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

December 17, 2008

Even before he was President of the United States and sitting behind the historic desk in the Oval Office: the media could not wait for Barack Obama to become President —  declaring him an historic man of greatness.

Time Magazine made Barack Obama its “Person of the Year” because he won the election over a very lame John McCain-Sarah Palin team.  And the Obama- Biden election had the help and support of a fawning and completely biased media: the same crowd of groupies now telling us about Obama’s “greatness.”

It’s time to get real, gang.   Obama is no Lincoln, and any man so proudly trying to be someone else raises serious questions.

The media has been so pro-Obama for so long we at Peace and Freedom no longer trust and believe half the fawning articles about the President-elect.  We want to see some critical analysis.

Media has an obligation to dissect.  Coronations and saintood should be bestowed upon monarchs and great people long dead.

Barack Obama is a man of great promise, especially as America faces its toughest economic challenges in decades and a myriad of foreign policy choices lurk.

But the media talks less about promise and more about comparisons to Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt.

We say: too soon.  Hold your horses.  Hope for the best but hope is still only a hope; and one step away from a prayer.

Prince of Wales-5.jpg
FDR was the “Man of the Year” and on the cover of Time magazine.  But he was Chief Executive during the greatest economic tragedy of all time and World War II.

Abraham Lincoln
Greatness was perhaps defined by Abraham Lincoln, who delivered one of the best and shortest orations in American history.  But he also freed the slaves and held the union together….

Related:
 Historians say Obama is no Lincoln

Obama And The Press: What’s The Future?

Historians say Obama is no Lincoln

December 15, 2008

We’ve listened to dozens of high sounding speeches and we’ve heard the media gush while comparing President-elect Obama to the likes of Franlin Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

The President-elect himself has not been shy about adopting the comparison to Lincoln — one might think Abraham Lincoln was Mr. Obama’s role model and mentor and teacher and friend.

And, at least here at Peace and Freedom we’ve said to ourselves, let’s please allow for some miracles before we bestow saintood status upon the President-elect.  Let’s allow a bit of time for governing….

FDR had accomplishments of the Great Depression and World War II to guide historians.  Lincoln battled to keep the Union together during years of Civil War.

So we are somewhat reluctant to compare the President-elect to other great men until and unless he establishes himself as —  another great man.  As it stands now, he is a and the President-elect.

And that is an historic accomplishment all its own.

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By Alexander Burns and John F. Harris
Politico

In Barack Obama‘s appearance last month on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” the conversation turned to the president-elect’s long-time love of Lincoln.

“There is a wisdom there,” Obama told interviewer Steve Kroft, “and a humility about his approach to government, even before he was president, that I just find very helpful.”

Humility? Obama’s frequent invocations of Abraham Lincoln — a man enshrined in myth and marble with his own temple on the National Mall — would not at first blush say much about his own instincts for modesty or self-effacement.

Abraham Lincoln

And now there are early rumblings of a backlash to Obama’s ostentatious embrace of all things Lincoln, with his not-so-subtle invitations to compare the 44th president to the 16th, the “Savior of the Union.”

Simply put, some scholars think the comparisons have gone a bit over the top hat.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/2008
1215/pl_politico/16569

Related:
The Obama-Lincoln Parallel: A Closer Look

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

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

Obama And The Press: What’s The Future?

Obama and Lincoln: Historians Mixed (As Usual)
.
Prostitution Banned During Obama Events, But in Lincoln’s Time….
.
Lincoln’s Top African American Advisor Recalled on Martin Luther King, Obama Days

Illinois Governor Big-Jerk-ovich: You Did and Said What?

December 9, 2008

Knowing that he was already under investigation, Illinois Governor  Blagojevich said on the telephone: “I’ve got this thing and it’s f***ing golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for f***in’ nothing. I’m not gonna do it. And I can always use it. I can parachute me there.”

Just yesterday he said: “I don’t care whether you tape me privately or publicly. I can tell you that whatever I say is always lawful.”

Sounds like Richard Nixon?

The phone call including the “I’ve got this thing and it’s f***ing golden … thing” comment was secretly recorded by the FBI on November 5, the day after the election of Barack Obama, according to the affidavit filed against Blagojevich today.

Like O.J., Governor Jerkovich may have just hanged himself with his owns stupid words, pride and bravado.

Fox News lawyer and commentator Greta Van Susteren said, “These recordings would make a defense attorney have a stroke.”

“Conduct that would make Lincoln roll over in his grave,” said U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in announcing the charges today in Chicago.

Pundits on all the major news channels expressed “shock” at this “outrageous behavior.”

But it is really just the activity and mouth of a stupid jerk: Governor Blag-Jerk-Ovich.

Brian Ross from ABC News wrote:

He said the governor’s efforts to “sell” the Senate seat was the “most sinister and appalling” of a range of alleged corrupt acts detailed in today’s case.

Fitzgerald said “there’s no reference in the complaint to any conversations involving the president-elect or indicating that the president-elect was aware of it, and that’s all I can say.”
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His comment did not close the door on the possibility that Obama or someone on his staff may have known of some aspect of the governor’s demands.

Illinois Governor Sought To  

(James A. Finley/AP Photo)

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Four words: Are you kidding me?

Selling Barack Obama’s Senate seat? Are you kidding me?

There are allegations of political corruption, and then there are allegations of political corruption.

If this is true — and by all means we should presume innocence on the part of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich until the prosecution has made its case — but, if this is true, you have to be some kind of delusional. Watch Campbell Brown’s commentary…..

You have to be psychotic.

See the video:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/12/09/campbell.brown.illinois/index.html