|Is it just me, or is Barack Obama working a little too hard to invoke a connection to Abraham Lincoln?|
President-elect Barack Obama plans to take the oath of office with his right hand on the same Bible used to swear in Abraham Lincoln,. . .
The Bible is part of the collections of the Library of Congress. It was purchased specifically for Lincoln's swearing-in ceremony on March 4, 1861, the inaugural committee said in its statement. Obama would be the first president sworn in using it since Lincoln in 1861. . . .
"Not only is Lincoln one of my political heroes," Obama told USA TODAY last year, "but, like Lincoln, I served for seven years in Springfield in the state Senate, and it's there I learned how to legislate; it's there that I developed many of my political ideas." . . .
Sean Wilentz, a professor of history at Princeton University, called the Obama-Lincoln comparison "tortured" and "absurd" during the primaries, . . .
Now, I realize this story broke almost a month ago, but the implications of this just started to dawn on me today.
Lincoln is revered for a couple of things: first, he ended slavery; second, he guided the country through the Civil War, held the country together, and then started the process of healing the country. All of that was the result of his extraordinary courage, Faith, and steadfastness--which are what he really should be revered for. But, ultimately, Lincoln is remembered and honored for what he DID in his Presidency.
And, I would submit, the reason his Bible has not been used to swear in another President since is that that reverence demands that a person be someone of the same character and accomplishment--or close--as Lincoln himslef.
Obama is stretching for that, to say the least.
So, to what must we attribute Obama's Arrogance? Accomplishments? None. Character? Dubious, when you consider how quickly he tossed Rev. Wright under the bus, how quick he was to toss his grandmother aside, and other fine contributions he's made to the culture.
But you know what? That's alright--I don't mind that much. Just to get to that level of elected office, one HAS to be pretty arrogant. But I'm troubled by this, especially as a first step for this healing democracy.
First of all, this sort of arrogance is off-putting, which makes it difficult to get things done in the land of compromise. And it would be easy to say that he's got that compromise club in his bag--don't worry about it. Unfortunately, he has ZERO legislative accomplisments to point to for a demonstration of this, so we're very much in "wait and see" mode.
But, more importantly, that sort of arrogance almost guarantees that he'll never recognize the errors that he's about to make, or to admit the problem enought to get the course corrected. And he will make the same mistake that Amity Shlaes chronicled Hoover and FDR making:
"But the deepest problem was the intervention, the lack of faith in the marketplace. Government management of the late 1920s and 1930s hurt the economy. . . . After 1932, New Zealand, Japan, Greece, Romaniea, Chile, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden began seeing industrial production levels rise again--but not in the United States."
Obama is almost pathologically wired to be a perpetual tinkerer, and that scares me. This new stimulus package proposal is both ridiculous in scope, and naive in intention. Because, what? The original $700 Billion did such a great job stimulating the economy?
And when you consider the consequences of his foreign policy, his almost simple belief that his style will be sufficient to bring the world around to his point of view, you have to wonder what La-La Land he's operating out of. And that's all before you even think about the obvious missteps his transition has already gone through.
There's a reason Pride is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. The problem comes when a person of leadership is guilty of such Pride: the "Deadly" part is visited upon the people of the country.
AFTERTHOUGHTS: There's a lesson in here for Republicans, as well, and it's one I've been hammering on for a few weeks now. Republicans have lost the last couple elections on a massive scale--this is not the time for Republicans in Washington to be "of" Washington. Say what you mean to say in a direct way, and then get away from the microphone. YOU do not need the camera--the American people are the ones that need their voices heard. As much as you represent them, speak; as much as you represent your own interests, sit down and shut up. Oppose all you want, and, of course, vote how you are supposed to. But shut up.