Obama is Lincoln and FDR, and He Isn’t Even President Yet

by Mike on November 8, 2008

in Media Bias,Politics

It’s only been four days since we elected Barack Obama to be the 44th President of the United States, and already the Associated Press is already in full-blown exaggeration mode.  According to an “analysis” by Deb Riechmann (interesting name considering where this post is going), the crisis Obama will face when he takes office is comparable to the Civil War and Great Depression that challenged Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt respectively.

When I first stumbled across Riechmann’s drivel about a half hour ago, I thought nothing of it.  Sure, Riechmann’s comparisons are silly, the sort of thing any informed person would be embarrassed to write, but this the AP.  Almost everything that flows from that fountain of misinformation is embarrassing.

Bored with everything else I saw online, I turned my attention to the book I bought a few days ago, Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg.  While reading, one passage on page 43 instantly reminded me of Reichmann:

Crisis is routinely identified as a core mechanism of fascism because it short-circuits debate and democratic deliberation.  Hence all fascistic movements commit considerable energy to prolonging a heightened state of emergency.

Great timing from my perspective.  Nobody knows how Obama will sell his redistributive policies.  Riechmann’s approach would certainly be one way, but I’ll give Obama some credit here.  He may be full of himself and will probably use crisis as an excuse to neuter opposition to his tax increases, but I doubt that he will stoop to the AP’s level by trying to convince everyone that we are in a Great Depression while comparing himself to Lincoln and FDR.

You know the media is in a sorry state when they are less objective about the politicians they cover than the politicians themselves would be. I don’t think Reichmann will be reading Jonah Goldberg anytime soon, but maybe she could at least pick up a third grade textbook and read up on the Civil War and Great Depression?

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November 9, 2008 at 3:15 pm

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Ryan November 9, 2008 at 10:45 am

I compeltely agree with your analysis here. “Crisis” is quite an overused word nowadays, and hasn’t it seemed like for our entire lives the Democrats were telling us that essentially we were perpetually on the verge of sliding into a Great Depression, and that we were just one Supreme Court Justice away from Jim Crow? I wouldn’t put it past these people to be willing to create a new Great Depression just to be the ones perceived to solve it.

To paraphrase an 80-something who called Rush Limbaugh last week: “In the Great Depression there were bread lines and soup lines; today we have lines down the block for the new Ipod.” Truth.

24.9% unemployment rate in 1933 compared to 6.5% in 2008 — a subtle difference, except in the minds of Democrats.

By Lincoln’s Inauguration in March 1861, 11 states had either voted to secede or were about to. I wouldn’t put today’s culture wars anywhere near the severity of Lincoln’s Administration. Plus, Lincoln was called an “ape” by members of his own cabinet and a “well-meaning baboon… the original gorilla” by his own General McClellan — a President so popular at the time 11 states left rather than face the prospect of an anti-slavery President. I hardly think anyone will be calling Obama those things, or that Texas will vie for independence again.

What made Lincoln great was his ability to see beyond the dangerous politics of the day and expand the fundamental principles of our Founders to include all men — he didn’t create new principles like FDR tried to do, he just expanded them to those who always should have had them. Like Chris Matthews’ dejection over 9/11 not happening under Clinton’s watch (preventing Clinton from being considered “Great”), the stakes simply aren’t as high today as they were in the 1860s or 1930s, or (if I may go there) after 9/11.

How do we expand the American Ideal the way Lincoln did? After women’s suffrage and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it’s very hard to do that. FDR just created entitlements to expand his voting base at the expense of our freedoms — what Mark Levin calls the “American Counter-Revolution.” Remember the simple Enlightenment principle which we relearned fighting totalitarianism in the 20th Century: the more the government does, the less freedom the individual has.

Obama’s no Lincoln, he’s not even an FDR. He’s already sounding like he’ll try to be Jimmy Carter’s second term. The AP is experiencing the post-1992 Clinton victory buzz, which will likely lead to a post-100 Days hangover.


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