Lincoln 1860

Lincoln 1860

Monday, May 19, 2008

Can Anyone Really Be Another Lincoln?

The so-called "silly season" of politics is fully under way in recent weeks. Candidates for U.S. president pretend to be like us, showing up to bowl a few frames, stopping off in a bar to down a shot or two of whiskey, and of course claiming to feel the pain of the current economic troubles. As if multi-millionaires could ever really know what it's like to be an ordinary person.

The silliest statements and posturing of all is how the political operatives for each party claim that their candidate is just like Abraham Lincoln, or that they are the "next" Abraham Lincoln. I've posted on this topic previously, but now it's really getting out of hand.

In an article from the Associated Press, Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan compared Senator John McCain to Lincoln, claiming that like Lincoln, McCain knows how to carry on the struggle of war. According to Duncan, McCain understands the importance of the struggle and will see it through. Of course with this comparison, Chairman Duncan shows he knows nothing about U.S. history. One cannot begin to compare the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to the American Civil War, in which the very survival of the nation was at stake. Continuing the struggle in Iraq with no defined goals and murky (at best) reasons for being there in the first place is not the same thing as continuing the struggle in the American Civil War.

Not to be outdone in the comparison to Lincoln department, former Democrat party presidential candidate George McGovern compared Barack Obama to Lincoln in a recent political appearance. The grounds for the comparison wasn't Lincoln and Obama's leadership on racial issues, or that both men served in the U.S. Congress. No, McGovern's reason was simply because Obama is from Illinois, just like Abe. Therefore, Obama is the next Lincoln. Of course, this comparison comes from a man who supported Hillary Clinton until Obama surged to the lead. Senator McGovern deserted her like a rat from a sinking ship. The good senator should read up on Lincoln and learn something about political beliefs and principles and stick to them instead of jumping on the bandwagon of the leader.

I can't find any articles comparing Hillary Clinton to Abraham Lincoln. I know she recently challenged Obama to "Lincoln-Douglas" style debates, a challenge which was regretfully rebuffed. And of course she was born in Illinois, so she must also be like Abe!

So can today's candidates really be the "next Lincoln" or is it just wishful thinking? Wouldn't it be wonderful if the winner could exhibit the same moral strength, political brilliance, and outstanding leadership of the original? Unfortunately, I don't think we need to hold our breath waiting for it to happen.

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