Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Darwinian Larry Compares Obama and Lincoln

Arnhart’s thoughts are informed and serious, and I invite you to judge them for yourself. He’s surely right that Obama understands himself to share Lincoln’s great ambition, as well as his skepticism about some--if not all--of the tenets of Christianity. Larry leaves us with the thought that if Obama really does share at least some of Lincoln’s greatness, we should be worried. Presidential greatness, in Larry’s view, can’t help but subvert republican government.

Discussions - 8 Comments

One point, Omama seems to see himself as Lincoln through Herbert Croly's (and the Progressive's) understanding of Lincoln. Lincoln is the brillinat statesmen, who mastering the skills of politics, lifts the country to a newer and higher sense of enlightenment. Lincoln thus becomes the political father of Wilson, FDR, and now Obama. Obama's admiration for Lincoln's political skills is clear. Obama's appreciation for Lincoln's defense of natural rights and a politics based on eternal truths about right and wrong is more open to question.

It is a solid book review of the Audacity of Hope.

Larry Arnharts fear of presidential power is interesting and well deserved. But when he isn't railling against something on its way out, he seems upset at human nature itself. I don't see any new additions being made to Mount Rushmore in the near future...if pyramids are built here they will be house slot machines and not presidents.

I think that the Bush legacy will be a chapter in the larger book on executive legacy, the kangaroo courts that will hammer the Bush executive branch will slam the CFO's, CEO's, Army Generals, Union presidents, and experts of all stripes. My honest reply to Arnhart is that blame is the flip side of praise, and blame is comming. In this sense human nature solves part of the problem that Arhart fears because high praise like high salaries are only justifiable in good times, and all praise that is untenable like all salaries that are untenable burst like the bubbles they always were.

In my opinion one way to agree with Arhart would be to refrain from praising or blamming Bush or Obama, to give executives of all stripes less credit for being right, and less scorn for being wrong. To ascribe to the decisions they make more of a science and less of an art, to strip decisions of the leway in discretion that many folks judge them to have idealistically.

Pete and John Lewis are both exactly right.

Limiting praise and blame is the death of uninformed democracy. If the proles can't vote on emotion and cult of personality what will they use to decide?

Looking through rose colored glasses, Lincoln comes across as a brillant statesman. Most people remember Lincoln's greatest accomplishment was he that "freed the slaves". Of course most people never finish the sentence: Lincoln freed the slaves in the South that were not occuppied by the Union. This means that Lincoln did not free all the slaves in the South and none of the slaves in the North. Lincoln's purpose for freeing the slaves was that he had run out of money to finance the War for Southern Independence and those awful Evanglical Christians (you know, like the ones today who are trying to stop the slaughter of unborn babies) gave Lincoln tons of money to continue the war but only if he would free the slaves. The compromise was to free only the slaves in the States that were not under Union control and of course in the North. Lincoln also threw over 13,000 Northerns in jail and closed over 200 newspapers in the North because of protests against the war. He also enacted Marshall Law and curfews and suspended the Writ of Habeas Corpus. Of course, no one ever talks about Lincoln's abuse of the Native American Indians - Lincoln refused to honor treaties between the U.S. Government and American Indians. He order the publics execution of 38 Indians after the Great Sioux uprising in which 800 white men, women and children were murdered. If Obama wishes to emulate Lincoln, he might want to read the whole history of President Lincoln, not just the good parts.

Don't tell him about the dark side...he does not need any more reason to do great and terrible things.

Yeehaw, give it to 'em.

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