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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

``Lincoln`` Bush with Honest Abe

Abraham Lincoln was never a very popular fellow. His election was largely due to the fracturing of the Democratic vote (the Party ended up with several candidates running against each-other as well as Lincoln), and he didn`t make many friends with many of his policies. Not only did the South secede, but New York City considered following suit (they considered becoming a free city-like Monaco or Singapore.) The British were furious with Lincoln`s blockade and his cavalier treatment of Her Majesty`s Navy (you just didn`t mess with the British Navy in those days) and were, as the ambassador warned the President ``meaning to make war`` over the stopping of British ships in international waters. (Lincoln cleverly cut the telegraph lines to buy time, and British tempers cooled in the interim.)

Of course, Lincoln did many things which earned him disrepute in his day; he suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus, threw critical newspapermen in the slammer for being, well, critical, issued martial law wherever he thought it might help the war effort, etc. Critics of the Bush Administration simply don`t realize how mild the provisions in the Patriot Act are, nor how gentle and law-abiding Bush is compared to Lincoln. The treason of the New York Times would have landed the editors and half of the news staff in prison without charge or possibility of parole if Lincoln were president instead of Bush. He didn`t put up with any nonsense.

As the election of 1864 loomed, Lincoln`s chances at remaining in office seemed to whither. Polls showed a war-weary nation wanting a change and not confident in the gangly war-monger they had elected four years before. Just to rub salt in the wound, the Democrats nominated the man who Mr. Lincoln had relieved of command of the Army of the Potomac, George McClellan. McClellan was a fine administrator and parade commander, but he was terrified of actually using his army to fight. His temerity infuriated Lincoln, who realized that a stagnant war would become an unpopular war, and an unpopular war would become an unwinnable war. The Union had the men, the equipment, the means to win, but only if they engaged the enemy. McClellan preferred to parade.

McClellan campaigned as an anti-war candidate, someone who would unilaterally end the conflict by withdrawal (sound familiar?) Polls suggested to Mr. Lincoln that he pack his bags and keep a team hitched to his coach, because he wouldn`t be residing on Pennsylvania Avenue much longer. The tone was bitter and shrill, and Lincoln was buffeted with harsh verbiage of every imaginable sort. He was called a butcher and monster and baby killer, a hack partisan hillbilly whose stupidity was only exceeded by his malice. It did not look good for Mr. Lincoln`s re-election bid.

But Lee was defeated at Gettysburg in July of 1863, and Sherman began his long march to the Sea. As Douglas Macarthur pointed out, ``There is no substitute for victory`` and Lincoln would see a late surge in his poll numbers as a result.

Seemingly miraculously, Abraham Lincoln won reelection soundly. The Democrats were furious and accused Lincoln`s people of cheating (actually, I wouldn`t put it past them). Now I know THAT sounds familiar! Let me see, where have we heard that one lately??

Woody over at GM`s Corner wrote this piece about the hysterical verbal assaults the Democrats are making on George Bush, and their determination to destroy him. A thought occurred to me; the Democrats took the exact same positions with Lincoln. Despite war weariness, despite a dislike for the man and his policies, Lincoln won re-election handily because the American People understood that any other policy would mean the end of the Union and that the lives lost fighting would be in vain. The shrillness of the President`s critics likewise contributed to a sympathy vote for Lincoln.

I am of the opinion that we are going to witness something similar in this next election; People aren`t happy with Bush, but the insanity espoused by his enemies, their hysterical hatred of the man and his whole administration, are going to boomerang in the Republicans favor. The Democrats are a scary lot; filled with partisan venom, still fighting the election of 2000 while terrorists kill our soldiers and plot to attack our homeland. I suspect the American public will, much like the electorate in 1864, decide that we can`t hide from our problems, and that putting in the Democrats will be a recipe for defeat. Bush was wise to make this the cornerstone of the electoral season.

Of course, Bush isn`t running for re-election, and often Congressional races hinge on local rather than national interests. Still, I don`t believe the American public is THAT far gone. I`m betting that Mr. Bush and the Republicans will follow a path similar to the Lincoln era.

This war is too important for the survival of the nation, and America will understand that. If they don`t, then the nation cannot and will not survive.

Let`s hope the Democrats and Moron.ogr just don`t try to pull a Booth on President Bush. Given their rhetoric such a move wouldn`t surprise me.



Anonymous Mike Austin said...

I can scarcely describe the unmitigated glee I would feel if Bush pulled a Lincoln and tossed Pinch in jail for treason. And Kennedy. And Murtha. And Durbin. And...well, the lot of the moonbats.

1:55 AM  
Blogger Woody said...

Tim, good post. I remembered that the Emancipation Proclamation was said to be an illegal confiscating of property by the government. I did a quick search and found a good explanation of how Lincoln considered this as a military order and as part of his war powers. The Supreme Court back then, which had no Clinton appointees, handled it this way:

What Lincoln and Other Yankees Knew:

(Click on link to Emacipation Proclamation at top to get to reference.)

When a property seizure case did come to the Supreme Court under Chase, he did rule pursuant to the standard law commonly known, that such seizures are lawful in wartime, U.S. v Alexander, 69 US (2 Wallace) 404; 17 L Ed 915 (10 March 1865).

In an Emancipation-Proclamation-related case, a court specifically ruled that the Emancipation Proclamation was a war measure, upholding its constitutionality, and noting that pursuant to international law (cited in authoritative texts of the era, e.g., Henry Wheaton, Elements of International Law: 2nd annotated ed. by William Beach Lawrence [London: S. Low, 1863], p 604, specifically cited by Dorris v Grace, 24 Ark 326, supra), a nation at war can legally take any measure to strengthen itself or weaken its enemy, Buie v Parker, 63 NC 131, 146, supra.

I liked the conclusion that "...a nation at war can legally take any measure to strengthen itself or weaken its enemy." Why is that so hard to understand?

Today's left would demand that Lincoln return the slaves because he was breaking the law. No, make that he should be impeached--and maybe killed, as in the Bush assassination movie. They didn't have movies on killing the President back then, but Lincoln's critics got to witness it live at Ford's Theater. This same left today closes its eyes to genocide in Africa--because they hate the U.S. and our President more than they hate genocide.

But, ultimately, it is the President who is charged with protecting the nation from foreign enemies--not the courts. I think a bigger constitutional crisis is that the Supreme Court imposes limits on the other two branches of government and makes itself the final government authority--overriding wishes of the voters.

Today's liberal judges tied President Bush's hands behind his back, and you can't win a war with your hands tied behind your back by the very people whom you are trying to defend.

6:19 AM  
Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

Wouldn`t that be nice, Mike!

Thanks, Woody! I hadn`t seen those court decisions.

You`re right; the courts have usurped the authority they impose. A reading of the Federalist Papers makes it clear that the Founders never intended the courts to have this much power-and they believed the other branches of government would restrain the Judiciary, since the courts had no money of their own (Legislative power) and no enforcement powers (Executive). Unfortunately, the press has given this power to the courts, since the other branches are afraid to buck them, for fear of the media spanking they`ll take.

Oh, and thank YOU for the original post which inspired this.

8:48 AM  

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