Posts Tagged ‘Abraham Lincoln’

Happy Birthday to My Favorite Republican!

Posted in General, On This Day on February 12th, 2010 by Eugene Finerman – 2 Comments

Yes, I am referring to Abraham Lincoln. In case you were wondering, my other favorite Republicans are Teddy Roosevelt, Jimmy Stewart, Barbara Stanwyck and Adolphe Menjou. True, it is not a long list. I could include two personal friends, but these days–out of embarrassment–they claim to be Libertarians. And yes, I do like John Wayne, but I never can forgive him for being a draft dodger. Neither could a naval veteran named John Ford, who used to ridicule Wayne about “being a sissy”; in fact, he once even made John Wayne cry.

Of course, modern Republicans would not want to be associated with a pair of liberals like Lincoln and Teddy R. It is surprising that their heads are still on Mount Rushmore. (You can imagine Halliburton getting a no-bid contract for that project.) But, oh the irony, the Republicans were once the liberals of American politics. Granted that liberalism was confined to one issue, but it was the biggest issue of the day. The Republicans were opposed to slavery. Some advocated its outright abolition; however, most Republicans had the temperate approach that we expect from liberals. They just opposed the expansion of slavery into new states. You’d think that would be an inoffensive, sensible compromise. Iowa, Nebraska and the Dakotas really are not ideal for cotton. But the South would not recognize even economic practicality as a limit to their cherished “institution”. If the South was not free to have slaves (freedom is a relative concept), then the South would leave the Union. Of course, it was constricting itself to the same geographic confinement proposed by its Republican enemies, but the South’s gray matter evidently was limited to uniforms.

Once the Civil War was won and slavery was abolished (replaced by mere serfdom), the Republicans had lost their reason for being. However, they so enjoyed power that decided to improvise a new platform. The now defunct Whig party had an incestuous affection for business, although its war hero candidates usually could camouflage the financial self-interests. That philosophy and strategy suited the intellectually-bereft Republicans. And they happened to have a new generation of war heroes, starting with Ulysses Grant himself, to front for the robber barons and their pet politicians.

Aside from Teddy Roosevelt, an aristocrat who took his noblesse oblige quite seriously, the Republican Party is essentially the same kleptocratic, stagnant-quo of the Grant adminstration. It is occasionally stirred by a social awareness but always confuses self-righteousness with morality. That is how we got Prohibition, McCarthyism and the Patriot Act.

I imagine that Abraham Lincoln would have been on Richard Nixon’s and Dick Cheney’s enemies list. And he would have been flattered.

p.s.  Of course, Southerners claim that history misunderstands “the Glorious Cause.”  Their War had nothing to do with slavery.   Yet, they can’t seem to offer any other reason why the South attempted to secede from the Union.  A faulty memory might be caused by a tight hood. 

If only to atone for the inconvenience of the truth, I can proffer this excuse to the South:

The South simply wanted to avoid Mary Lincoln.  (That is very plausible except that all of the other states would have seceded too.)

If Only Lincoln and Douglas Debated Today….

Posted in General, On This Day on August 21st, 2008 by Eugene Finerman – 1 Comment

On this day in 1858, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas held the first of seven debates in their campaign for the U.S. Senate. Each debate lasted three hours and addressed only one question. Somehow the two men carried on without an interrogating panel of reporters or pundits. It evidently was a more primitive time. Here is how a modern debate would have been….

Reporter: Mr. Lincoln, you are quoted as saying that “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” What is the basis of your harsh criticism of the American construction industry?

Lincoln: You misunderstand me. It is a quotation from the Bible which I used as metaphor reflecting the divisive issue of slavery.

Douglas: I refuse to believe that the Bible is critical of the American construction industry. May God forgive you, Mr. Lincoln!

Pundit: Mr. Douglas, you were known to have courted Mary Todd before she married Mr. Lincoln. Do you believe that she is too promiscuous to be a senator’s wife?

Douglas: Let me assure the public that I will never be the first to exhibit daguerreotypes of the naked Mrs. Lincoln for political purposes. And I invite Mr. Lincoln to make the same pledge.

Lincoln: What?

Commentator: Mr. Lincoln, during your one term in Congress, you opposed the Mexican War. Do you hate our soldiers or do you just prefer Mexicans?

Lincoln: I oppose unnecessary wars.

Douglas: While I would not question the patriotism of my craven, timorous opponent, I have always been a full-throated supporter of victory–and I am adamantly opposed to defeat.

Psychologist: Mr. Douglas, you are a proponent of popular sovereignty. Yet, being an embarrassingly short man with a pompous personality, you certainly are not as popular as the affable Mr. Lincoln. What in your miserable childhood led you into politics?

Douglas: My dedication to public service and the opportunity for revenge.

Lincoln: Do you really have naked daguerreotypes of my wife?