The Power of Lincoln

Our new president has successfully purloined our nation’s greatest president for his own political party with nary a peep from the GOP.

By consciously patterning himself after Abraham Lincoln — his first presidential campaign speech given in Springfield, Ill.; his team of rivals; his train trip; his event at the Lincoln Memorial — President-elect Obama has claimed America’s 16th president for the Democrats.

It seems like Republicans are happy to give Lincoln up.

In the pathetic race for Republican National Committee chairmanship, the six rivals for the position were asked who the greatest Republican president was. None of them said Abraham Lincoln. Instead, they robotically answered Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan?

Now, I love Ronald Reagan, but he wasn’t the greatest Republican president in our nation’s history. Most historians would say he was good, but he was no Lincoln. Neither was he a Teddy Roosevelt. Lincoln kept the country together, for chrissakes!

But if you took a poll of the remaining Republicans asking who the greatest president of all time was, Lincoln would not be near the top of the list. A fairly high percentage of Republicans probably don’t like Lincoln because of his position on the Civil War (he was on the Union side).

And that, in a nutshell, is the essential problem with the Republican Party. They have gone from the Party of Lincoln to the Party of anti-Lincoln. And that is why they are losing in New York, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, pretty much all of the Northeast, the West Coast, Minnesota, Wisconsin, etc.

Lincoln stood for the union, for the free market, and for the rights of all Americans to be full citizens. Yes, he ended the institution of slavery, and that is an important legacy. But his most important legacy was his role in keeping America together so that it could be a beacon of freedom for the rest of the world.

As Barack Obama gets sworn in this week, he will seemingly fulfill every hope and aspiration of Abraham Lincoln. But he will do so as a proud Democrat, not as a Republican.

If the Republicans want to get right with the country, they have to get right with the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. The power of Lincoln is the power of America. It is the power of history. And right now, it is that power that powers Barack Obama.



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