6.27.2005

Obama on Lincoln

US Senator Barack Obama, a smart man and great orator, has gotten more and more on my nerves since his election. Elected with something over 70% of the vote and delivering a keynote address to the Democratic Convention between appearances on Oprah, he is as popular as any Democrat today. In TIME magazine he has done a well written piece on Abraham Lincoln, called "Uncovering the Real Abe Lincoln". Don't get me wrong, the rest of the article is quite good, but this one statement makes me angry:
"I cannot swallow whole the view of Lincoln as the Great Emancipator. As a law professor and civil rights lawyer and as an African American, I am fully aware of his limited views on race. Anyone who actually reads the Emancipation Proclamation knows it was more a military document than a clarion call for justice."
Not the Great Emancipator? Lincoln and Lincoln alone wrote, and more importantly, made the decision to write, the Emancipation Proclamation. Yes, the document had political purposes. Yes, it had errors. But no one, no one else, had the guts to come out (aginst some of his advisors advise)and make such a bold declaration against a reprehensible action. One could easily see how another president would have backed down from such a daring stance against slavery that wasn't totally popular in Lincoln's day, and the changes for the better that took place all those years ago and those since then might not have taken place at all. It is odd for Obama, a direct beneficiary of the Proclamation, to belittle it and it's effects on the course of history.
Obama also sites Lincoln's "limited views on race". Given that a stance against slavery was the most radical held in the timne period, it is an odd choice of words. Does Obama believe that Lincoln should have supported affirmative action and civil rights issues before even half the country believed that they should be free men? That seems a little ridiculous to me.
Some other things have always bothered me about Obama. Chiefly among them is how the whole of IL embraced him as an aisle-crossing moderate when he had no record of moderation in his previous service as an IL Senator. THe only reason he made statements about cooperation is that he had the money to spare on this, since he was guaranteed a win against Alan Keyes, and because it was politically convenient to do so. Keyes, angry and misguided though he was, was partially correct in his views of Obama as a hypocrite. Keyes constantly lambasted Obama for voting in favor of partial-birth abortions and other votes, but because of Keyes' own extremism, nobody listened. So how has Obama the chivalrous been acting in the Senate. As a bipartisan? No. As a compromiser? No. As I watch the Senate roll call votes, Obama is as consistently liberal as his colleages Ted Kennedy, Pat Leahy, and Dick Durbin. He obeys the party line on every vote I've ever seen where less than 10 Democrats switch sides, and even then I can count the crossover votes on one hand. More disgustinly, he has been out campaigning for Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia. Sen. Byrd is a former leader of the KKK, who has frequently lied and avioded discussion of this time in his life. He also (along with Republican Ted Stevens of Alaska) brings millions of federal tax dollars in pointless and wastefull pork projects. Sen. Byrd represents all that an upstanding Senator should not. He is a criminal to the common taxpayer, and still, after decades, can't straightforwardly answer questions about his segregationist past. Yet the "fence-mending moderate" and of all things, African American Senator from Illinois is aiding in his reelection.

So here is my projection. In 2012 or 2016, Barack Obama will try to run for president. With a combination of fervor for a minority president and fabulous oratory, he will win the Democratic primaries. But in the general election, he will fall on his face. Without the liberal media to hide and sugarcoat his record, he struggles to explain away the facts brought against him. And who will be the Republican to beat him? Now the little known Secretary of State of Ohio, Ken Blackwell will become Governor of Ohio in 2006. In my opinion, he is more honest than Obama, and will play much better in the West, Midwest, and South. Remember that George Bush is plainspoken for a reason. Obama will fail to learn from Kerry that poeple don't like being talked down to. O, and don't let me forget; Blackwell, like Obama, is an African American.

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