My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Of Lincoln and These Times 

On this, the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth (how many of you knew that? used to be Lincoln and Washington BOTH got their day of glory; these days we've traded each in in favor of a hybrid plus Martin Luther King, Jr.), I was thinking about the great example Lincoln set in SO many ways.

And I was thinking it was a thing John McCain would be smart to emulate in many ways.

In particular, I was thinking this: since it now looks like the Obama-Clinton primary will continue now well into the summer, McCain needs to find a way to capitalize on that, and he can do it all on free media. He should follow the Democrats from primary to primary, PARTICULARLY when they have a "debate", and give a Lincoln-Douglas-like "response" in every state while the media is still there.

For instance, on February 21st the Democrats have a debate scheduled in Texas. John McCain should be in Texas, very publicly watching the debate, with a press conference scheduled for either immediately after the debate or for early the next morning. And, let's go out on a limb here and imagine that Barack Obama says something particularly asinine about foreign affairs--something like

[I] will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons, and pursue it. [I] will always maintain a strong deterrent as long as nuclear weapons exist. But [I] will take several steps down the long road toward eliminating nuclear weapons. [I] will stop the development of new nuclear weapons; work with Russia to take U.S. and Russian ballistic missiles off hair trigger alert; seek dramatic reductions in U.S. and Russian stockpiles of nuclear weapons and material; and set a goal to expand the U.S.-Russian ban on intermediate- range missiles so that the agreement is global.

And then McCain should say something like

Senator Obama sets some lofty goals with respect to nuclear weapons in the world. Unfortunately, Sen Obama is working under the assumption that Russia is an equal player on this field, and that the greatest threat we face is from well-established nation-states with a conventional mindset regarding warfare.

Russia, under the leadership of Vladimir Putin, has regressed dramatically in the past several years. Russia has been implicated in the murders of opposition journalists, it has used its oil reserves to blackmail the rest of Europe, and it has shown a woefully inadequate level of security with regards to its own latent nuclear arsenal. Besides which, a great many of the Russian nuclear weapons are no longer under Russia's control--they are in Estonia, Latvia, Turkmenistan, the Ukraine, and throughout the independent states that used to be satellite countries of the old Soviet Union. etc, etc . . .

To assume that another international agreement will be sufficient to contain the nuclear ambitions of Iran is the height of folly, in my opinion. There are already treaties in place forbidding the development of missile technology, but Iran has flaunted that to develop the Shahab-3 (or whatever) which has enough range to reach the Black Sea, Tel Aviv, or India. Given that Iran's leaders have professed the goal of eradicating our friend Israel from the face of the earth . . .

America deserves a serious debate, like the ones Lincoln and Douglass had those many years ago; and, knowing that the Dems will never agree to an unmediated, REAL debate, McCain should try to force the issue with long-form responses everywhere the media happens to be.

And, in honor of this anniversary, I leave you with some of the finest prose ever produced in America:

If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

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