Lincoln 1860

Lincoln 1860

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Lincoln's Ford's Theater Carriage Restored

In my daily search for news relating to Honest Abe, I came across an article in today's The Sentinel (Carlisle, Pennsylvania) about the restoration and conservation of the carriage which carried Lincoln to his fate at Ford's Theater on April 14, 1865.

This carriage, housed in the collection of The National Studebaker Museum in South Bend, Indiana, was acquired by the Studebaker family in 1889 from its second owner, who had purchased it from Robert Lincoln, the president's oldest son, after the assassination.

The news story tells how the conservator, Brian Howard, got into his business and how he's become a leading expert in his field. The restoration was completed only yesterday, January 30, 2008 after months of work. According to Mr. Howard, he doesn't want the public to see his work on it; he wants viewers to see the carriage as Lincoln himself did.

The carriage was originally acquired by Lincoln at his second inauguration in 1864. It was said to be the president's favorite vehicle. Interestingly, the carriage has steps which are connected to its door, so when the door is opened, the steps come down automatically. Likewise, the steps are raised when the door is closed.
When the carriage arrived in Carlisle, it was in a fairly sorry condition. The leather on the fenders and seats had severely deteriorated, there were cracks in the wood, hinges coming loose, etc. Thanks to an email tip, the team even discovered that the carriage had Lincoln's monogram "AL" on the sides. Through careful examination and tedious work, the conservators restored the monogram. Other work included repairing splits in the seats, filling in paint which had flecked away from the wood, and stabilized the door hinges.
The carriage is now on display in the museum. 

Long-Lost Letter From Lincoln On States' Rights Discovered

From today's edition of the Springfield (Illinois) Journal-Register comes the news that a long-lost letter written by Abraham Lincoln has been discovered in the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.

Written on October 22, 1864, the subject of the letter is Lincoln's response to various individuals who were complaining about voter eligibility requirements in Tennessee for the presidential election of 1864. Lincoln's running mate (and successor just a few months later), Andrew Johnson, was then serving as the military governor of Tennessee. Johnson required that any voters wishing to cast their ballots in the election would have to swear a loyalty oath to the Union and required additional steps of them as well. This tactic helped to assure Lincoln's re-election. Supporters of Lincoln's Democrat opponent, George B. McClellan, expressed outrage over these oaths and the other measures instituted by Johnson. They felt the requirements were too stringent and intimidated voters into voting for Lincoln.

Lincoln's response was politically brilliant, as always. In the letter, Lincoln wrote "I decline to interfere in any way with any presidential election." He then summarized his arguments for letting the states and Congress sort out any concerns about the election. Thus, he put the Democrats' arguments for "States' Rights" back on them. If the Federal Government shouldn't have interfered with the states for any reason, then why should it for this issue as well? And he also ended up defending his running mate's actions without basically doing anything. Impressive.

Historians have known about this letter for many years since the text of it is included in The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. But until now, the whereabouts of the original letter were unknown. A researcher for the Springfield-based "Papers Of Abraham Lincoln" organization found the letter while going through other documents at the National Archives in College Park.

The photo I included with this post is of the second of the letter's four pages. You can see all of the photos at the Papers Of Abraham Lincoln.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Abe Is Way Cool

Here's an interesting picture taken in Ashland, Oregon. I've never seen a statue of Abe Lincoln with him frowning so much. I suppose if I was covered in snow, I'd be frowning, too. Almost looks like he's wearing a stylish fur hat.

Monday, January 28, 2008

eBay Sale Of Rare Americana Halted

News broke this afternoon of the arrest of a New York state archivist who was selling rare American documents on eBay. Daniel Lorello has been accused of stealing the documents from the New York State Library and then selling them on eBay in order to raise money for his daughter's credit card debts.

Items he is accused of selling are very rare Davy Crockett almanacs (popular in the 1840's and 1850's), Currier and Ives lithographs, and a timetable for Abraham Lincoln's funeral. Fortunately, a sharp-eyed history buff in Virginia noted the then-current auction on eBay of an 1823 letter written by Vice-President John C. Calhoun. The buff, an attorney in Virginia, did some quick research and discovered it belonged to the New York State Archive collection. He notified New York authorities, who placed the winning bid for the letter.

Officials in New York are trying to determine just how many items have already been sold and some are in the process of being returned. No mention was made if the buyers will be held responsible. A search of Lorello's home found hundreds of other rare documents. Lorello had a wide-ranging access to the documents in the collection. Thank goodness he didn't get to an exceptionally rare draft of the Emancipation Proclamation!

It's revolting and extremely upsetting when crimes such as these occur. These documents are part of our history and they belong to all of us, especially to the citizens of New York state.

If convicted of these crimes, Lorello faces roughly 25 years in prison. If he's guilty, let's hope he's sentenced the maximum time permitted under law.

Abe Lincoln On A Plane?

I've heard of "Snakes On A Plane," but "Abe On A Plane?" While searching for some Lincoln-related news today, I stumbled upon an article about a Lincoln wax figure.. Seems that Madame Tussaud's opened a new wax museum back in the fall in Washington, D.C. and as a publicity stunt, it flew the wax figure of Lincoln in First Class on Delta Airlines from New York City to Washington.

Like most wax figures, this statue resembles, but doesn't quite "match" the photos of the historical figure being depicted. Still, it's sort of eerie. Check out the woman flying next to Abe. She looks really creeped out, doesn't she?

I always knew Lincoln operated on a "higher plane" than his political rivals. Now we have proof.

National Lincoln Essay Contest Announced

There was a news item in my hometown newspaper over the weekend about a national essay contest about "Lincoln And Liberty" being held by The Lincoln Highway National Museum and Archives organization, which is based in Galion, Ohio.

This contest is the first annual essay competition being put on by the organization and is loftily titled "Liberty Enlightening The World." Unfortunately, not much guidance is given to would-be essayists other than the basic "Lincoln And Liberty." I suppose it's open to interpretation, but were I to enter an essay, I would base it on how Lincoln's leadership molded a divided collection of states, half-slave and half-free, into a true nation based on liberty and freedom. For me, Lincoln's very gradual road to Emancipation led to America at last fulfilling its promise of "all men (and women) being created equal."

The website contains rules about the essay, the most intriguing of which is that it must be 272 words or less, 272 being the length of the Gettysburg Address, of course. The contest contains various categories of age and is open to everyone. The Grand Prize winner will have his or her name engraved on a bust of Lincoln.

The Lincoln Highway was America's first true National Road, going from coast-to-coast along more than 3,000 miles. It predates the famous "Mother Road," Route 66, but is not nearly as famous.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Own A Piece Of Abe Lincoln History

Here is your chance to own a piece of Abraham Lincoln history. I found this story here about how the new owner of the farm last owned by Lincoln's father and stepmother is going to sell tiny pieces of the farm to the general public. I mean "tiny" as in 1 square-inch pieces. The money raised will be used to help restore a reproduction log cabin at the site in Illinois, and to also build a visitor center.

The Lincoln Log Cabin state historic site in Illinois, located near Lerna, was the last farm owned by Thomas Lincoln and his second wife, Sarah Bush Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln actually purchased part of this land from his father as a way to help out Thomas with finances. Abe never lived there, but did supposedly visit his father and step-mother there from time to time.

Obviously, these square-inch pieces, coming with a "deed," will be of historical interest only and will hold no real value. Reminds me of the square-inch plot of Connecticut my grandma bought me from "Bicentennial Acres" during the nation's bicentennial celebration in 1776. Kind of cool in a way, but not worth the paper the deeds are printed on. Still, this Lincoln project will serve a purpose and is in the end worthwhile.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Lincoln's Clothing

A few weeks ago, I posted an article about how curators at Ford's Theater moving the clothing that Abraham Lincoln wore the night of his assassination from the museum at Ford's to safe storage during the renovation of the theater.

Here's a very detailed photo of the gloves that Lincoln wore on that fateful night. One can still see the blood stains more than 140 years after the fact. Also shown is the handkerchief he had that night. This photo was taken at the Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, Illinois last year. I'm not sure if the gloves are on permanent display there, on loan from Ford's, or if they are from a private collection. This photo is part of a series in today's edition of the paper.

Monday, January 21, 2008

UPDATE - Lincoln Dig A Bust

Just yesterday, I posted about the archaeological dig going on at Knob Creek, the boyhood home of Abraham Lincoln in Kentucky. I had speculated what archaeologists might find, including glassware or plates, or even the footprint of the original cabin.

Alas, today brings news that the search for anything related to Abraham Lincoln and his family recovered nothing. They couldn't locate the true site of the original cabin at all. The only significant items found were some stone chippings from Native Americans, who would chip at larger rocks or stones in order to shape them into tools or weapons. The chippings are remainders of those items.

The archaeologists believe that development over the last 100 years likely erased any traces of the Lincoln farm. The only item known to exist from the original home is a family bible.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Archaeologists Diggin' For Lincoln

Found a story here about archaeologists from The National Park Service beginning an excavation at Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home site at Knob Creek, Kentucky. Lincoln and his family lived at this farm from the time he was 2 years old until he was almost 8 years old.

The article doesn't specifically state what the archaeologists hope to find. Certainly they would hope to find any "footprint" of the cabin itself, even though the original cabin has long since vanished. Archaeologists are trained to recognize any depressions in the ground, post holes where any logs might have been sunken into the ground, and so on. Recovered nails could be used to help determine the location as well. Original records of the property deeds would be researched to help place the location.

Believe it or not, the archaeologists would love nothing more to find a trash pit from the farm, or even the location of any outhouses! These types of pits can hold virtual treasure troves for archaeologists, for they typically include glass bottles, plates, eating utensils, pipe bowls, children's toys, and so forth. Families of the era and of earlier times would use outhouses as trash pits in addition to the more obvious use. Any unpleasant reminders of the main use for the outhouse would have long since solidified.

A real find, of course, would be something which archaeologists could identify positively as being associated with the Lincoln family. It's unlikely, though, that the family would have had any monogrammed glassware or plates since it was so poor. Such items are more typically found in well-to-do areas of the U.S. such as Williamsburg.

Obviously any wooden items and clothing would be long-since vanished. Wood and textiles decay rapidly in wet climates such as Kentucky's. Those are more likely to be recovered in the American west and other dry climates.

Let's hope the archaeologists uncover something significant. One of my many other interests besides Lincoln is the field of archaeology and I've participated in a couple of digs. This story will hold my interest.

Friday, January 18, 2008

What Would Abe Drive?

A driver's license for Abraham Lincoln? One of the more interesting, if slightly amusing, souvenirs being issued for the upcoming bicentennial celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birth are "driver's licenses" showing his image, address, and vital statistics.

While doing my daily search for Lincoln news, I came upon this page from Webwire that talks about how Carolyn Martinette created these "licenses" as a way to both commemorate Lincoln's birth and provide some basic facts to the public. Licenses for the various states and Washington, D.C. in which he lived are available. Each state license depicts his "address" and then other facts on the reverse. Ms. Martinette is selling these items from her website. Sort of a clever idea, really. Good for kids who would like to know more about the 16th U.S. president. And who knows? They might become highly collectible Lincolnania items in the distant future.

Please note that I am in no way associated with Ms. Martinette or the licenses. I just try to bring interesting (hopefully) Lincoln news to my readers.

So what would Abe drive? Why, a Lincoln, of course!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New Photos Of Lincoln's Second Inauguration Discovered!

Just a couple of months after the recent discovery of the "new" photographs of what is potentially Abraham Lincoln in the crowd at Gettysburg, comes the announcement tonight from the Library of Congress that "new" photos of the crowd at Lincoln's Second Inauguration have been discovered!

In the article available at the Library of Congress website, the story is told about how these three "new" glass negatives were discovered. These photos were previously known, but had been mislabeled as the Grand Review of The Armies, or of President Grant's inauguration ceremony. But then a sharp-eyed customer of the Library noted that these visually similar negatives had drastically different captions in the Library's Civil War catalogue. Then the curator of photography, Carol Johnson, reviewed the log book and found the caption "Lincoln" in the margins. Careful comparison between the only other known photos (just two existed) show these mislabeled photographic negatives to actually be crowd scenes at Lincoln's Second Inauguration.

The website containing this article provides links to the other recently identified photographs. None are known to show Lincoln, so technically these are not new Lincoln photos. But they most certainly help historians and other researchers gain more knowledge about the events of that day, just a few short weeks before the tragedy at Ford's Theater. Per the Library of Congress web page about this discovery, Lloyd Ostendorf's indispensable "Lincoln's Photographs" (1998 edition), pages 200-201, was used to help positively identify these new photos. I just finished consulting my volume of the book, and sure enough, the curator is correct. The photos in Ostendorf's book are from a different angle than these new ones, but the building and crowd scene are identical. What an important find!

What other Lincoln artifacts are out there just waiting to be discovered? I can't wait to find out!

The Secret Service Protects Presidential Candidates

While I was watching "The Hunt For John Wilkes Booth" the other night, I was once again struck by the fact that Booth was able to gain such easy access to Lincoln on that fateful night. History well knows that the police officer assigned to guard Lincoln that night, John F. Parker, inexplicably disappeared from his post. Lincoln was left under the "protection"of his valet, and the rest is history.

Leaving the president unguarded is of course an impossibility today, thanks to the outstanding efforts of the United States Secret Service. The Secret Service was ironically founded in July 1865, just three months after the first assassination of an American president. However, the Service did not actually begin even unofficial protection to the president until 1894 during the Grover Cleveland administration. Official full-time protection was provided beginning in 1902, a few months after the assassination of President William McKinley. Today, the Service provides 24-hour protection to the President and his immediate family, former presidents and their spouses (unless the spouse remarries), children of former presidents until the children turn 16, and visiting heads of state.

Beginning in 1968 with the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, the Secret Service began protection detail for the major presidential candidates as well. This article I found in The Toronto Star contains some great information about how current Democrat candidate Barack Obama is protected, and how the protection began early. The fear of course is that as an African-American man, Obama may attract more attention of criminals than the other candidates. Many of the Secret Service techniques are classified, but as this photo of Obama shows, he is shadowed by tough-looking agents.

Even with the outstanding efforts of these incredibly brave men and women, tragedy has of course struck. John F. Kennedy was killed while surrounded by agents, but was riding in an open car. Presidents and the leading candidates rarely do this these days and motorcade routes are carefully guarded secrets. Buildings along those routes are secured to try to prevent another Dallas. And there have been even more assassination attempts: two on President Ford, Ronald Reagan was nearly killed, and a plot against the first President Bush was discovered. Presidential candidate George Wallace was shot in 1972 during his own campaign.

America is unfortunately one of the most violent countries in the industrialized world. Let's hope and pray that an assassin's bullet never strikes any president, or presidential candidate, again.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Review: The Hunt For John Wilkes Booth

As I posted on December 20, 2007, The History Channel recently showed a two-hour documentary about the 12-day hunt for John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of Abraham Lincoln. Thanks to the hectic schedule of the holidays, I didn't watch it until last night. I thought I'd share my own opinion about the documentary.

"The Hunt For John Wilkes Booth" is based upon Michael W. Kauffman's excellent book published in 2004, titled: "American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and The Lincoln Conspiracies." Kauffman serves as the principal expert on the show. Other people adding their two cents were a man from the U.S. Marshals Service, to provide expertise about techniques in manhunting, and Betty J. Ownsbey, a biographer of Lewis Powell, the man who nearly killed William Seward.

As The History Channel tends to do, there were many re-created scenes of the historical events being discussed, but the scenes are repeated ad nauseam. I specifically refer to the scenes depicting Booth and his co-conspirator, David Herold, running through the woods. Of course, Booth and Herold did spend many days hiding out in the Pine Thicket and other woods, but just how many times do we need to see the actors in the trees? One somewhat comical aspect of the scenes was the fact that "Booth" hobbled on his right leg sometimes and on his left leg at others. Of course, the real Booth broke his left leg.

The documentary makers were smart enough to show the actual sites of the assassination and the manhunt. Kauffman showed the Presidential Box at Ford's Theater, the room where Lincoln died, Mary Surratt's house, Dr. Samuel Mudd's house, and finally the site of the farm where Booth was shot and killed, which is today a wooded median strip in a highway. Filming at the various sites was especially informative to me as I've never been to the Surratt and Mudd houses.

There were some relatively minor omissions from the documentary, which might have added some context. One closeup showed the puzzling "Don't wish to disturb you. Are you at home?" that John Wilkes Booth wrote on a calling card and placed in the mailbox of Vice-President Andrew Johnson. Historians continue to debate the card to this day, and some theorists even believe it implicates Johnson in the plot. Nothing was discussed in the documentary about the card and it implied that this was the card that Booth gave to Lincoln's valet.

While the documentary of course included Mary Surratt and her role in the conspiracy, it did not mention that she was the first woman executed by the Federal Government. It also didn't discuss the frantic efforts to get her sentence reduced to life or less. Perhaps the documentary makers didn't think that was important in the context of the manhunt for Booth. But it did go on to show photos of the hanging of her, Lewis Powell, David Herold, and George Atzerodt, so I do think the extraordinary fact of excecuting a woman should have had been briefly discussed.

The documentary closes with a "what happened to" summary of the other conspirators: the hangings of course; and the sentencing to prison of Edmund Spangler, Dr. Mudd, and Michael O' Laughlin. I'm surprised, though, that it didn't have a follow-up about Mary Surratt's son, John. He ended up escaping punishment entirely, although he was tried for murder in a civil court in 1867. Had he been caught and tried by the military tribunal, he most likely would have been hanged along with his mother.

As in his book, Kauffman equivocates about the role of Dr. Samuel Mudd in the conspiracy. His brief discussion in the show seemed to imply to me, at least, that Mudd knew Booth, but that Mudd didn't know about the plot to kill Lincoln. This is in contrast to other historians' opinions, most notably that of Edward Steers, Jr. I tend to agree with the historians who believe Mudd had a very large role in the conspiracy and was by no means an innocent man, no matter the protestations of his family.

All in all, I found the documentary to be very informative and quite well done, unlike some other History Channel documentaries I've suffered through. Kauffman is an engaging expert and having the U.S. Marshal explaining manhunt techniques was quite clever. I found the biographer for Powell to be superfluous. I'd recommend this documentary to anyone who might wish to view it. The History Channel website currently lists it for sale on DVD.

Monday, January 14, 2008

First New $5 To Be Spent At Lincoln Cottage

According to this news release, the first newly redesigned $5 bill will be spent on March 13, 2008 at the recently re-open Lincoln Cottage. As my post of November 5, 2007 discussed, the sprawling 34 room mansion on the site of the former Soldier's Home in Washington, D.C. served as President Lincoln's getaway retreat and was the site of his work on the Emancipation Proclamation.

My post of December 13, 2007 discussed the redesigned $5 bill. Sorry, but it still looks like Monopoly money to me.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Does Experience Lead To Presidential Greatness?

In every presidential election cycle, much is made about the "experience" that candidates bring (or do not bring) to the table in order to sway voters. This is especially true during our current election campaign. For the first time in many decades, neither a current U.S. president nor a current U.S. vice-president is running for election to the nation's highest office.

In our current cycle, Hillary Clinton touts her experience as a "doer" in Washington and claims that she had many influences in the Clinton White House. John McCain reminds voters that he is strong in foreign policy experience. And Barack Obama is almost daily compared to Abraham Lincoln because of Obama's same lack of experience in Washington which Lincoln lacked, the implication being that limited experience is good.

Just how much should experience count in the country's decision for president? When Abraham Lincoln ran for President of the United States, his total political experience was limited to a single term in the U.S. Congress, and a handful of terms in the state legislature in Illinois. (for a more detailed recounting of his political experience, click here). He ran for U.S. Senate and was defeated. He was involved in failed businesses (although their failures were not his fault). He was a successful lawyer, but there was nothing in his background to suggest to the nation's electorate that he would go on to become such a towering figure in American history.

Other men who served as U.S. President brought enormous political experience to the White House, but were considered to be ineffective at best during their term or terms in office. A classic example is John Quincy Adams. JQA was by all accounts brilliant. He served as Secretary of State, as foreign minister (ambassador) to Russia and to other countries in Europe. Yet from the beginning of his term in office (after being elected by the House of Representatives), his presidency was a failure. Congress ignored his initiatives, supporters of Andrew Jackson were furious that Adams was chosen by the House over their candidate, and government was more or less paralyzed for four years.

Today's issue of the Albany (New York) Times Union newspaper contains a well-written editorial which addresses this very topic. It starts off talking about a man who was poorly dressed, awkward in appearance, and who had a nearly total lack of political or leadership experience. The man was of course Lincoln. It also describes how John F. Kennedy brought almost no experience to the White House as well, but how his strong and determined leadership forced the Soviet Union to remove its Cuban Missiles. Kennedy also established the Peace Corps, a true example of the good which America can do. It also tells the story of Harry Truman, a former haberdasher, and selected for office by a corrupt political machine. He had no experience, yet was selected to be Vice-President and then ascended to the presidency when Franklin Roosevelt died. Truman showed a refreshing honesty and strength of leadership during his presidency. Today, many historians consider Truman to be one of the "near-great" presidents.

I agree with the conclusion of the editorial: experience (or lack thereof) does not mean everything when we select a president. As the editorial states: "...experience is in the final analysis no substitute for vision and character."

What do you think? Feel free to add your comments.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Lincoln Assassination Police Log Surfaces

From Fox5 News in Washington, D.C. comes the exciting news that the official D.C. Police logs from Abraham Lincoln's assassination have come to light. A video report tells how the retired police chief of the D.C. police force has recently donated a log book to the D.C. Police museum which contains firsthand accounts of the events of the evening of April 14, 1865. Update: The book now apparently resides at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

In the video, officer Kenneth Stewart, the curator of the museum, shows the log book to the TV reporter, with the specific log entries from the night of the assassination and the aftermath. It begins by relating that "Lincoln, the president of the United States, was shot at the Ford's Theater on 10th Street." It then continues:

"The excitement was great throughout the precinct...but the people were orderly and quiet..the whole force were immediately put on duty by order of Superintendent Richards"

It then continues with a poignant and sad entry:

"The gloom that overshadowed the nation by the sad occurrence deeply affected the whole force and brought many heartfelt sympathies from the nation's loss"

The log book was recovered from the trash decades ago in a precinct station and eventually found its way to the retired chief who donated it to the police museum. That's a very noble gesture on his part, because he could have sold this book for hundreds or thousands of dollars to a private collector. Now, it's available for viewing and enjoyment by everyone.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Harrison Ford In Spielberg's Lincoln Film?

Rumors circulating through cyberspace are saying these days that Harrison Ford is in talks with Steven Spielberg to star in Spielberg's long-awaited biopic of Abraham Lincoln. According to the rumors, Ford would be cast as Lincoln's second vice-president (and successor) Andrew Johnson. Liam Neeson is to star as Lincoln.

I've included this funny composite photo of Ford and Lincoln from the "/Film" blog to depict what Ford might look like as Lincoln. Just for fun. Blogs don't always have to be serious you know.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Plot To Steal Abraham Lincoln's Body

Even in death, Abraham Lincoln could find no safe haven from the plots which plagued him during his life. Body stealing was a fairly common occurrence in earlier times, with the stolen bodies either used for ransom money from the deceased's family or even being sold to unscrupulous medical schools. But the plot to steal Lincoln was organized by counterfeiters, of all things.

Seems as if this gang of counterfeiters had a compatriot in prison, one Ben Boyd, who was a master counterfeiter. So "Big Jim" Kenally, the leader of the gang, cooked up the plot to steal Lincoln's body and demand both $200,000 and the release of Mr. Boyd.

Thanks to some fine detective work by the fairly new Secret Service, the plotters were thwarted in the act. (It should be remembered that even today, the primary purpose of the Secret Service is to deter counterfeiters from polluting the U.S. money supply with bogus money. )

The thieves actually escaped the law for a time, but were finally captured on November 16, 1876. Unfortunately, there were no state laws against grave robbing at that time in Illinois, so the robbers were charged only with trying to steal the coffin itself. They were sentenced to one year in prison.

The photo I've included is a historical marker in Illinois on the spot of the gang's headquarters.

I had known about this plot thanks to other sources I'd read, primarily Candace Fleming's fine article in the Lincoln 140th Assassination Anniversary issue of American History magazine published in 2005. In that article, Fleming detailed not only this plot but the other struggles on how to properly bury Lincoln in his (finally) final resting place in 1901. It's a fascinating story.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Does Rudy Giuliani Think He's Lincoln?

Seems as if Rudy Giuliani can't quit talking about Doris Kearns Goodwin's book "Team Of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln." Just weeks after bringing the book up in a town hall meeting, he once more discussed the book without prompting at another one in New Hampshire.
Is Rudy implying that he's just like Abraham Lincoln? Is he infatuated with the book? Does he truly think he's going to win his party's nomination for president?

Giuliani first and foremost is famous of course because he became "America's Mayor" after the terrorism attacks of 9/11. Ever since, he's draped himself in both the flag and the tragedies from that day and has positioned himself for a run at the White House. Perhaps we as a nation who so desperately needs a good leader should take a closer look at his leadership abilities.

The most telling story about his leadership of New York City in the days and weeks after 9/11 stems from the fact that the city police and the city firefighters, New York's "finest" do not even support him. After more than 300 firefighters were killed in New York on 9/11, Giuliani on November 2, 2001 ordered the number of firefighters who were assisting in the search for their fallen comrades reduced from 200 to 25, and also ordered cleanup procedures which most likely disturbed or even obliterated many human remains.

Giuliani was also appointed to the Iraq Study Group, the commission set up by Congress to investigate the war effort and policy in Iraq. Giuliani missed nearly all the meetings and finally was pressured to resign by the chairman, James Baker. It turns out that while the Group was meeting, Giuliani was out earning millions in speeches.

Rudy Giuliani seems to want to liken himself to Lincoln. Thus far, his leadership absolutely pales in comparison to Abe's. Does he suffer from delusions of grandeur?

Spinning Bush Into Lincoln

Today's Washington Post contains an op-ed piece from Michael Gerson which claims that Democrats are in denial about Iraq. Mr. Gerson was the chief speech writer for George W. Bush until 2006, at which time he joined the editorial board of the Post.

As many other Bush supporters are doing these days, Mr. Gerson tries to desperately spin President Bush into near Lincolnesque proportions by claiming that Bush has found his "General Grant" in General Petraeus. He cites figures (which are accurate) which imply on the surface that Iraq is becoming safer for U.S. troops, other coalition forces, and Iraqi civilians.

Of course, Mr. Gerson conveniently leaves out the fact that 2007 was the deadliest year yet in Iraq for U.S. forces.

This isn't the only article which claims Bush has found his General Grant. Only time will tell if he has, but trying to imply that Bush is just like Lincoln is comical in the least. Big difference is that Lincoln had a war thrust upon him while George W. Bush chose to launch one.

Of course, that won't stop the Bushies from trying to equate their hero to Lincoln.

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