Thursday, August 12, 2004

Bush Ain't No Lincoln

Today's front page ofThe New York Times carried a piece (of) entitled, "Leveraging Sept. 11, Giuliani Raises Forceful Voice for Bush," written by Jennifer Steinhauer, in which the former mayor (and altar boy expert) defends the Bush Administration's constant deployment of the "9-11 card." In a telephone interview with the paper, Rudy insists that "[n]ot discussing it would be like conducting an election for Abraham Lincoln and not discussing the Civil War." But just as Rudy recently snarled, "I don't need Michael Moore to tell me about 9/11," we don't need Rudy to tell us about Abe Lincoln.

For one, Abe wouldn't have taken kindly to the modest proposal from Tom Ridge's Homeland Security, via a letter from DeForest B. Soaries Jr., chairman of the Election Assistance Commission, which suggested taking steps to postpone the election in case there's a terrorist attack. On November 10, 1864, Lincoln wrote that "We can not have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined." Those wild and crazy Bushies; always thinking up ways to harm our country and our people.

Of course, Bush should feel free to campaign on his record against terrorism. However, his record would most likely be a one-sided 45 single that had little effect on the charts. In his latest campaign advertisement, Bush vows to "bring an enemy to justice before they hurt us again," though Bin Laden is still out there and New York City is in a state of orange panic alert. But continuing to harp on 9-11 would be like Lincoln constantly evoking the attack on Fort Sumter which precipitated the Civil War. Abe wouldn't have had a chance if he alienated half the country. He was interested in preserving the union, not perservering despite the union.

But if Bush does wish to emulate Abraham Lincoln, he should have his advisers advise him to plagiarize Honest Abe's "Memorandum Concerning His Probable Failure of Re-election," written 140 years ago on August 23, 1864. Lincoln wrote: "This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so co-operate with the President elect, as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he can not possibly save it afterwards."


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