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Barack Obama on Abraham Lincoln, cheap plastic dashboard American saint

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Abraham Lincoln was long ago turned into a cheap plastic dashboard American saint, “The Great Emancipator.” It’s a wonder that you don’t see people driving around with literal plastic Abes on their dashboards.

For my part, folks such as myself have gotten great grief for suggesting otherwise. Thus, I take am pleased to note some similar sentiments being expressed by Illinois Senator Barack Obama in a Time magazine essay, the new golden wonder of the Democrat Party:

“I cannot swallow whole the view of Lincoln as the Great Emancipator,” Obama said. “As a law professor and civil rights lawyer and as an African-American, I am fully aware of his limited views on race. Anyone who actually reads the Emancipation Proclamation knows it was more a military document than a clarion call for justice.”

It has been my expressed opinion that Lincoln was a mere opportunistic political hack with delusions of grandeur. Moreover, his conduct in office looks to me like the work of a brutal fascist.

Now, Mr Obama certainly takes a far more positive outlook on Lincoln than I do. That’d be a pretty low bar. Yet even this good liberal black Democrat who describes Lincoln as our “greatest president” can’t quite talk himself into believing the Great Emancipator foolishness.

Indeed, even during the war, as late as August of 1862, in a famous letter to newspaper editor Horace Greely, Lincoln said:

My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.

Add to this the clever lawyerly wording of the Emancipation Proclamation as noted in Obama’s quote above. It was carefully worded so as to apply only to the Confederate states- but not the Union states which still allowed slavery. Thus Obama’s observation that it was NOT “a clarion call for justice.”

This should not be taken as any endorsement of the Confederacy, which Rand knows was no great beacon of liberty. The sins of the South do not, however, mean that Lincoln was not a dirtbag.

I’m just saying.

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  • WTF

    Barack really needed to take off the gloves… but alas he has a political future to foster…

    Documents prove that Lincoln stated that he could have saved millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives if he bought the slaves back from the slave owners and sent them to offshore colonies such as Liberia.

    And that’s one point of view Lincoln held, that you rarely hear of.

    Yet it’s true. Emancipation really became an issue when England (now starving for cotton) raised the debate of backing southern interests. As you all know through your study of history, the American Civil War had a strangle hold on the textile mills in England, millions of workers were displaced as mills shut down production due to lack of raw materials (king cotton).

    Lincoln’s coup was to put forth the emancipation proclamation and check the English (who outlawed slavery in the early 19th century) thus stalling the English debate over entering the war on the side of the south.

    It’s all documented History. Those in disagreement… go look it up yourself.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    “Saint” and “dirtbag” are not the only two options for deciding how to evaluate a human life. Not even a President’s life.

    I just wonder who’s next after you guys get all done with demonizing Lincoln. In a few years will we be hearing how Andrew Jackson wasn’t such a great guy after all? Then will it be all about how overrated Thomas Jefferson was? Will it be long before we “learn” about the skeletons in George Washington’s closet?

    Or perhaps we could figure out that a person can be both an accomplished leader and a flawed human being at the same time.

  • http://jcb.pentex-net.com John Bambenek

    Yes, this rising star of the Democratic party whom all were crowing over in the last election has managed to do nothing yet since being elected except stick his foot in his mouth.

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    hey, if it worked for dick “go fuck yourself” cheney, mebbe it’ll work for obama too.

  • http://jcb.pentex-net.com John Bambenek

    As opposed to Sen Leahy who constantly assinated Cheney’s character on the Senate… the same Cheney that isn’t running for any higher office?

  • Darian Miller

    What you left out is Lincoln’s closing statement in this letter:

    “I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.”

    ALL MEN EVERYWHERE COULD BE FREE was his PERSONAL WISH. He was the President, it was his job to save the union at all costs.

  • Same old same old Dems

    Senator Obama feels that Abraham Lincoln’s place in American history is not nearly as august as was previously thought.

    Thank goodness that the Right Honorable Gentleman from Illinois is here to edify the benighted.

    Obama, a Chicago Democrat who is just the fifth black senator in U.S. history, also raised questions about Lincoln’s role in ending slavery.

    “I cannot swallow whole the view of Lincoln as the Great Emancipator…”

    Full story here.

    Mark Twain on Abraham Lincoln

    It was no accident that planted Lincoln on a Kentucky farm, half way between the lakes and the Gulf. The association there had substance in it. Lincoln belonged just where he was put. If the Union was to be saved, it had to be a man of such an origin that should save it. No wintry New England Brahmin could have done it, or any torrid cotton planter, regarding the distant Yankee as a species of obnoxious foreigner. It needed a man of the border, where civil war meant the grapple of brother and brother and disunion a raw and gaping wound. It needed one who knew slavery not from books only, but as a living thing, knew the good that was mixed with its evil, and knew the evil not merely as it affected the negroes, but in its hardly less baneful influence upon the poor whites. It needed one who knew how human all the parties to the quarrel were, how much alike they were at bottom, who saw them all reflected in himself, and felt their dissensions like the tearing apart of his own soul. When the war came Georgia sent an army in gray and Massachusetts an army in blue, but Kentucky raised armies for both sides. And this man, sprung from Southern poor whites, born on a Kentucky farm and transplanted to an Illinois village, this man, in whose heart knowledge and charity had left no room for malice, was marked by Providence as the one to “bind up the Nation’s wounds.”

    -quoted in The New York Times – January 13th, 1907

  • http://www.biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    First off the great Senator from the state of Illinois happens to be black. Big deal. We’ve got to stop quantifying things by race quotas. You point out, Same Old, that Senator Obama is the fifth black Senator to serve in Congress. So, let’s just establish that you introduced race into this discussion.

    That being said, Senator Obama has a point where Lincoln is concerned. Americans have always tended to overlook the imperfect when deifying a past President. I’m not discounting Lincoln’s prominence in our history, after all, he did “bind this nation together.” But the New York Times piece was premature in its assessment. The wounds of the Civil War have been far from healed. We’ve just chosen an alternative way to go about perpetuating our divisions. I’d love for President Bush to speak before the Nation tomorrow and tell us how things really are. We keep the blinders on more often than not. That, my friend, will be America’s ultimate downfall.

  • http://gonzo-marx.blogspot.com gonzo marx

    one thing to note

    go look at a map during the time of the civil war…paint the Confederate states red and the Union states blue

    now, look at the map for the last two elections

    go ahead…i’ll wait

    scary ain’t it?

    seems like some wars don’t end as easily as some folks think

    but hell, the good news is we aren’t shooting each other…

    yet

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Not yet, anyway, Gonzo. At least you’re in some corner of the Nation where Baptists dare not tread.

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    RE: comment #2 Victor, Thomas Jefferson is a very different consideration from Lincoln. Jefferson personally held slaves. That’s clearly a black mark on his record, even if you want to cut him slack for the norms of the time, etc.

    Thing is, though, Jefferson was a great president. In his professional capacities, he did great good work in establishing the country. He did NOT suspend the writ of habeus corpus, institute an income tax, throw opposition newspaper editors in prison, etc.

    Also, Jefferson was never held up to be the great emancipator, and set up as a secular God in the way Lincoln has. Getting killed really worked miracles for Abe, PR wise. And Silas, of course this is a discussion in part about race. It’s about the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, etc.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Thanks to Darian for bringing forward a fact the proponents of demonizing Lincoln would prefer to forget, as it is quite inconvenient to their specious claims.

    One could also add that Lincoln probably knew saving the Union was the key to containing, and in the long run ending, the evils of slavery.

    The Confederates certainly knew this, because they openly stated preserving slavery was among their primary goals in seceding from the Union.

  • http://www.biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Al Barger said: And Silas, of course this is a discussion in part about race. It’s about the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, etc.

    I agree, Al. I just wanted to make sure that the initial opening race salvo was duly noted. I know how sensitive people get about being politically incorrect.

    Victor Plenty said: One could also add that Lincoln probably knew saving the Union was the key to containing, and in the long run ending, the evils of slavery.

    I’m not disputing that, Victor. And I certainly don’t want to paint Lincoln in a completely different light. He was human, subject to human frailties. Sometimes we forget that little fact. In addition, I contend that the war, in itself, is not over. The rules and dynamics have changed but division exists nonetheless. Lincoln may have preserved the Union at a great cost. In many ways this country is still paying for that tragic war.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Yes, the aftermath of the Late Unpleasantness is still far from over, just as its beginnings can be traced back centuries before the first shots were fired between the North and the South.

    Nevertheless, and for all his flaws, it still remains empirically true that before Lincoln’s administration, some Americans were slaves, and afterward, none were slaves any longer. In that sense, he was in fact the Great Emancipator. Recognizing this fact is not the same thing as conferring sainthood on the man.

    There is nothing wrong with recognizing a President’s flaws along with his achievements. What I object to is the movement to forget all the achievements and focus only on the flaws. Especially when that movement so frequently relies on passages quoted out of context, and other distortions of the truth.

  • http://www.biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Ok, Victor I think we are in agreement. What went on during Lincoln’s time is mush more complicated than just conferring the motto “Great Emancipator” on him. They were difficult times. The country was in a difficult situation. He wanted to preserve the Union. He did. It’s a fragile Union that continues to this day, but it is a Union nonetheless.

    What frosts my cake is that people seem to think that the North was some bastion of freedom. Truth be told, Rhode Island, a state founded on the foundations of religious tolerance, was notorious in the trade of slaves from Africa. At one point it is said that all slaves came through Newport before heading South. There’s plenty of slave trade money that built some of the greatest institutions in New England. This is a fact that should not be overlooked or ever forgotten.

  • http://www.docofdiets.com dietdoc

    Victor writes: “I just wonder who’s next after you guys get all done with demonizing Lincoln.

    Reply: I understand that (1) knowing the truth about history is important and (2) the post-hoc brutalization of historical figures is certainly not unique to America (see England, France, etc.) However, I agree, that sometimes the “truth” can be painful.

    On the other hand, the same process can work in the reverse. For example, the more I read about Bendict Arnold, the more I am impressed with his gallantry and courage, if not his judgement. I have come to view him with less negativity than I had developed in school books.

    So the sword of time does, happily, cut both ways.

    Cheers,

    Ron

  • Eric Olsen

    all of Linconia can be summed up in three pithy words: “Dude, Lincoln rules.”

  • http://jcb.pentex-net.com John Bambenek

    The irony of Obama taking swipes at Lincoln is that he’s in a state the worships him…

    Maybe next time a complete tool won’t run against him.

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    I don’t think Alan Keyes would reasonably be described as a “tool.” A fool perhaps, but he gets WAY off the reservation too much to be considered a tool.

  • WTF

    I respect both Obama and Keyes, both are articulate and both enjoy the forensics of debate, as did Lincoln. I used to respect Lincoln. But several histories and the Burns classic have changed my view.

    He was a bumbling lawyer before the war and during… assassination seems to martyr presidents. His lack of leadership led to the eventual razing of the South, and alienated many generations on both sides of the issues, which started the Civil War. The Southern agronomy to failed as a results and the people languished until WWII when industrial interests in the North drew workers from poverty into the industrial machinations necessary to win WWII.

    And we’re still talking about it. The fact remains, the South wanted to preserve states rights (interpret as you wish, it’s more than one issue), the North wanted to maintain the Union. The great work that was accomplished wasn’t winning or freeing anything. Why? Because there are no winners in war; and it took several generations to garner any semblance of freedom. The “freedom” after the Civil War was enjoyed by very few North, South, East or West, and was not a respecter of race.

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    I used to be something of an Alan Keyes fan, particularly during the 2000 primaries. He pretty thoroughly lost me though with his nonsense last year, particularly the crap about Mary Cheney.

  • Alan

    Barrack Obama has NO problems placing the portrait of Lincoln on his website, or evoking this great man’s name time after time.

    Yet this hypocrite spawned from a mandingo marriage calls the Great Emancipator and by the way, a man who sacrificed his own life to end Slavery and preserve the Union a “Racist”.

    Nice.

    Of course Obama has NO problems running to KKK Byrd for advice and friendship. Guess it’s akin to “hey boy, bring me my white sheet, my pipe and my slippers and I’ll give you a slice of my melon”…

    And before anyone wants to get bent out of shape like the Libs did over Libby, this writer was beaten by junior Klansmen as a quote “Jewish Nigg*r Lover” for standing up for the rights of Blacks. My blood is on the ground – Barrack Obama’s – and Keith Ellison’s isn’t. They’ll always run to kiss a bigot like Byrd’s – or Jimmy Carter’s pinkie ring anytime they beckon.

    I also happen to be a Lincoln scholar. This man was NO Racist – he might have been a politician (guess what, Obama – but he had principle, unlike you)in some of his decision making – but he was an honest, decent, brave man.

    What is Barrack Obama – an ignorant phoney – a stepin fetchit who insults that decent man’s stage name, not to mention Lincoln’s.

    Think of this – Barrack is against the war. IF he had been alive in 1861 when Lincoln called for troops to subjugate the Confederacy, he would have voted against their deployment. In other words, he would have kept Slavery alive.
    And he would have supported McClellan, another flake in the manner of one John Kerry.

    I’ll take Abe Lincoln, our greatest President, over a flake and phoney like boy Obama anyday.

  • http://cannonsandcourage.blogspot.com Jules

    Alan…you are a Lincoln “scholar?” What exactly does that mean to you? I have never read such vitriolic, racist nonsense from any scholar or, if you will, historian, as I read in your post.

    While one might appreciate your crude attempt at defending President Lincoln, who (in my judgment) doesn’t need defending, we are fortunate in having many Civil War and presidential historians who are able to put aside their own personal prejudices in favor of being objective, instead of referring to a great president, as does Mr. Barger above, as a “dirtbag.”

    Abraham Lincoln was who he was, and he did what he did. This president faced a set of circumstances that no other American president has ever had to face, and his judgments had to be made on his own common sense what was then reality, not on some whimsical or biased remarks made either in his day or 140 years later. Did he make mistakes? Of course he did, but with all the reading about Lincoln that I have done (some of it pretty negative) I have never concluded that his intentions were anything other than to save the Union, heal the wounds to this country and to end the most brutal war that America has ever suffered through. Lincoln had to balance his belief that slavery was wrong against public opinion, political bias and the ever-changing situations on the battlefields. This could not have been an easy thing to do, but current attitudes that judge any hint of politics in the decisions made by this beleaguered president fail to take into consideration that Lincoln faced far more than the slavery issue.

    As tragic as was the situation for the African Americans of the 1860s, there was more important issues at hand, the main one being putting this country back together. After all, for the South to prevail in secession would have doomed black folks to servitude that would have lasted much longer, not to mention the disastrous effect on North America in years to come.

    Here was a man with no military experience, and very little political experience. He faced a hostile press, a self-serving Congress, and a country torn apart by sectional differences, not to mention a handful of political generals who were either too cowardly to do battle (McClellan) or too inept to understand what was needed. And he worked his way through it, one step at a time, seeking advice from others, but making his own decisions.

    Barack Obama is entitled to his own opinion, but I doubt that in the case of Abraham Lincoln it will serve him well. Judging a 19th century man by 21st century perspectives makes no sense. I think if Lincoln were alive today he would not be surprised at the negative, judgmental statements that come from people who have little understanding of the circumstances in which he functioned as president. He underwent much worse in his own day, but he had an innate understanding of human nature and knew it would not change. That understanding is demonstrated in his remark, “Gentlemen, we cannot escape history.”

    He was a good man, a brilliant man, and he never did deserve the criticism he received, but he faced it with all the grace and dignity of a true American hero.

    For anyone who is interested, I would recommend three books: “Lincoln,” by David Herbert Donald, “Team of Rivals,” by Doris Kearns Goodwin (currently being made into a movie with, as I’ve been told, Liam Neeson playing the part of the president), and “Abraham Lincoln, the War Years,” by Carl Sandburg. “Lincoln’s Virtues,” by William Lee Miller, is also a good book on Lincoln.

    These books are all, admittedly, pro-Lincoln, but if what you’re looking for is an attempt to demonize our most honest and persecuted president, you can always turn to that hack, Dilorenzo, whose latest historical travesty is advertised on this page.

  • Chuck C

    Lincoln was a racist, as we would judge today, no doubt about it. Although he thought that blacks should be free from slavery, he did not consider them equal, by any means. His rivals would scare the public with visions of whites marrying blacks, to which Lincoln described that as disgusting (my word).

    Lincoln did not work terribly hard to free the slaves, but he worked extremely hard to stop the spread of slavery. So, while this article makes it seem that Lincoln only cared about the Union, and not slavery, the Union was just his top priority. He firmly believed that the US was not ready to abolish slavery completely.

  • Alan

    Jules,

    Funnily enough all of the Obama supporters like calling those who disagree with them “Fascists”, “Racists” and “Haters”.

    But methinks you and the rest of those who support a coward who isn’t worthy to sit in the same office Lincoln did should look at yourselves in the mirror.

    You are right about one thing. Lincoln faced extraordinary circumstances, as Jim McPherson (by the way, an Obama supporter, though I’ll never understand his rationale for this)has stated in the past and states again in his new book. He wanted fervently to end Slavery, but he also knew, especially when Virginia and other border states went south after his call up for 75,000 men, that if he pushed Emancipation early in the war, the war would have been LOST.

    Kentucky was barely staying in the Union, Tennessee and Missouri were deeply conflicted, with brothers killing brothers. But even in Tennessee Lincoln’s most avid supporters, Rev. Brownlow and Governor Johnson, later to be his Vice President, hated Blacks and while fervent Unionists, enthusiastically endorsed Slavery.

    If Lincoln, contrary to the stupidity and lies of a Lerone Bennett, echoed by YOUR candidate, Jules, had declared Emancipation early, as John Fremont did in Missouri, Kentucky would have gone hell-bent for the Confederacy.

    Something Lerone Bennett, and Obama, in his urge to bow at the sheets of Senator Byrd, fail to recognize or understand.

    The man hated Slavery from the time he was a teen and did everything in his power to end it, including sacrificing his own life.

    The funny thing is that you and I are in basic agreement, the thing that isn’t so funny is you calling someone who has actually shed blood in fighting for open housing in California as a kid a Racist when that term applies even more to one Barack Obama. Better think about that one, Jules.

  • bliffle

    So Lincoln was an opportunistic politician! Who would have thought it? He must have been a student of Saul Alinsky.

  • http://cephalopodmollusks.blogspot.com kh

    I was going to say, that the original blog post here does not fit with my understanding of Lincoln. I actually suspect Lincoln was a sage who acted appropriately at the appropriate times, and said the right things to further causes such as ending slavery while at the same time being politic, speaking in a way that people could understand. Frederick douglas actually said that he had met no other white man that did not react to him like he was different. Also Lincoln was assassinated by Booth because he infact was speaking on the importance of giving blacks the vote. This article is cynical and hip, but not accurate.

  • Chippy55

    At least Honest Abe Lincoln wasn’t a liar. “As a law professor”… What?? Hussein Obama calling himself a Law Professor?? Where? HE NEVER WAS, and the Lib Media NEVER bothered checking, it’s just more lies from the biggest liar on the planet. Notice how the Lib Media is also completely ignoring the fact that BOTH Obamas have had to surrender their law licenses, and Hussein Obama promised the Lib Media “interviews” if they don’t inform the public. The word TRUTH is a shibboleth to the President.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    What?? Hussein Obama calling himself a Law Professor?? Where? HE NEVER WAS, and the Lib Media NEVER bothered checking

    Well, Chippy, “professor” maybe stretches it a bit, but he was a law lecturer at the University of Chicago between 1992 and 2004, when he was elected to the Senate.

    “Professor” in Obama’s case was an honorific. Apparently, it is customary at that school for teachers to be referred to as “Professor”, whether they officially are one or not. I also gather that law students in general are in the habit of calling all their instructors “professor”.

    In fact, even when I was at junior college that was common practice.

    And if by the “Lib Media” you mean entities like Factcheck.org and Politifact, then yes, they did bother checking, and pretty thoroughly at that.

    But don’t let little inconveniences like facts dissuade you from your crusade. If Barack Obama said that he used to drive a 6-cylinder Toyota when it was actually a 4-cylinder, no doubt you’d be howling for his impeachment over that.

    The word TRUTH is a shibboleth to the President.

    I very much doubt, Chippy, whether you actually know what a shibboleth is. In fact, your remarks suggest that you’re not exactly familiar with the concept of truth either.

  • http://www.morethings.com/wordpress Al Barger

    I would say that Obama is the worst president ever (doggone his pinko hide!), except that there’s Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson and of course FDR.

    Obama’s so awful on so many levels that it’s hard to get my head around. But that’s ok: President Palin will fix everything.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    And then there’s Washington. Don’t forget Washington. The crooked bastard.

  • http://www.morethings.com/wordpress Al Barger

    After he became president, Patrick Henry for one was actually denouncing George Washington as a traitor.

    In fairness though, Washington was not raping the constitution on a daily basis like Lincoln, Wilson or FDR among others. If he thought Washington was bad, well, Patrick Henry might have beaten John Wilkes Booth to the punch.