Turns out today is the 159th anniversary of the founding of the Republican party. So who did Al Sharpton have on his MSNBC this evening to discuss it supposedly from the GOP point of view? "Republican" Abby Huntsman, daughter of Jon.
After somehow divining that if Abe Lincoln were around today he would want a "conversation" on immigration and gay marriage, Abby described today's Republican party as populated by people who want "absolutely no government." View the video after the jump.
It's a perilous proposition to insist that a long-dead historical figure would share your politics. It's doubly so when your documentary evidence is thin and you are twisting the proper meaning of the words in that supposed evidence. Take the case of MSNBC.com's Nick Ramsey, who insists that Abraham Lincoln would strongly disagreed with Justice Antonin Scalia that the U.S. Constitution is a dead document rather than a living constitution that can evolve outside the constitutionally-provided mechanism for such evolution: the amendment processes described in Article VII.
"This is an issue that constitutional experts have debated for years and years, but at least one president is firmly on the record on the issue. And this President is one often cited by conservatives, but he is not in agreement with Justice Scalia," Ramsey insisted, going on to quote Abraham Lincoln out of context and seemingly with a misunderstanding of a key word in the passage he cited. Here's how Ramsey dealt with that (emphases his):
On Sunday, Daniel Day-Lewis won a Golden Globe for playing the part of Abraham Lincoln in the film "Lincoln," and Julianne Moore won for her portrayal of Sarah Palin in HBO's schlockudrama "Game Change."
On NBC's Tonight Show Monday, host Jay Leno quipped, "The foreign press realize that the greatest challenge for any actor in Hollywood - pretending to be a Republican. That is the hardest acting job that they can do" (video follows with commentary):
On Thursday's CBS This Morning, Major Garrett tried to shoehorn Steven Spielberg's screening of his recent film "Lincoln" for the Senate into his report on President Obama's Wednesday press conference on the fiscal cliff and gun control. Garrett hyped how the movie "celebrates presidential power and crafty legislative strategy," and that Obama "may need the wisdom of Lincoln for his latest legislative battle - gun control."
The correspondent even played a clip from the film about the sixteenth President to hint at a parallel between the passage the 13th Amendment, which happened after the carnage of the Civil War, and possible new firearms regulations in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut massacre [audio available here; video below the jump]:
One was a self-educated rail-splitter and circuit lawyer in humble frontier towns. The other is an Ivy League-educated radical who only ventured out from his comfortable Hyde Park digs for some day work stirring up trouble as a “community organizer.” But to watch MSNBC is to learn that Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama have so much in common.
In the run-up to Obama’s re-election and in the weeks since, as the movie “Lincoln,” opened, the media have hyped similarities between the two presidents. It’s helpful to them that the film is a product of high-profile liberal Steven Spielberg and associated with Participant Media, the same lefty company that produced Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.”
In an interview with liberal historian Doris Kearns-Goodwin for NBC's Press Pass, Meet the Press moderator David Gregory invited her to draw parallels between President Obama and Abraham Lincoln: "It seems like it's so hard to put Lincoln in a modern political context...But there is a leadership lesson that you think is important now and is important for President Obama embarking on a second term, as he seeks to be what he's always wanted to be, which is not just a president, but a great president."
Kearns-Goodwin used the newly released film about Lincoln to make the point: "Absolutely. I mean I think the timing of it couldn't be better. And it's just coincidence that it really happened to be....there's this great scene, it's not just a scene, but Lincoln's actual words, 'I am clothed with immense power. You will get this vote.' So a president is clothed in immense power if they use the leadership skills to make it happen."
On Thursday's CBS This Morning, open Obama supporter Gayle King and Norah O'Donnell repeatedly prompted liberal historian Doris Kearns Goodwin to equate the newly-reelected President Obama to Abraham Lincoln. O'Donnell wondered, "Is there a lesson for Obama now in his second term with Lincoln?" King hyped how Obama "sought out" the author and asked, "What did he want to know from you?"
Goodwin also bizarrely likened the sixteenth President of the United States to two popular liberal comedians: "I think what shocked me - he could be with Stephen Colbert. He could be with Jon Stewart - one-on-one. I would never have guessed that before."
Eager to draw a comparison between Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln during a report for Saturday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Kevin Tibbles observed of the new film about the nation's 16th president: "No coincidence, perhaps, the film opens the week America's 21st century President won re-election in difficult times fraught with partisan bickering. Times in which many ask, what would Lincoln do?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Tibbles suggested the similarity immediately following a sound bite from director Steven Spielberg: "Lincoln advocated things we hold dear today. He advocated that government can be a positive force for the good of all people."
MSNBC host Chris Jansing on Monday found the "parallels" between Abraham Lincoln and the newly reelected Barack Obama to be "fascinating." The anchor interviewed Gloria Reuben, liberal actress and co-star of the just-released Steven Spielberg biography of the 16th president. Jansing compared, "...You have a president who is newly elected, who faces a divided divided Congress and a divided country." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Couldn't such a vague analogy be made of many presidents, including George W. Bush? Jansing introduced the Lincoln actress by pointing out, "You're a social activist. You've been very big in [the] pro-choice [cause]. You've been a supporter of Barack Obama and the AIDS movement." She added, "You must find these parallels fascinating." It's unclear how supporting abortion can be connected to Lincoln.
Move over, Obama Boy -- you've got serious competition from Geraldo Rivera.
Talking with GOP Rep. Allen West on his WABC radio show yesterday, Rivera made a fawningly inane analogy to describe Daily Caller reporter Neil Munro's unmitigated gall in attempting to ask questions at a presidential news conference (audio) --
In my previous two columns, I outlined the 10 questions we need to ask to find our next president. I believe them wholeheartedly, but I have one last question that is almost as important as all of them combined. And it is for all the GOP candidates.
During former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's November trip to Charleston, S.C., he said the following: "I do approach this whole campaign, I think, differently from everybody else. We have a number of friends who are also running. We have no opponents except Barack Obama. I think that's very important. I think (Abraham) Lincoln was very wise, as was captured in a book called 'Team of Rivals.' ... Literally everybody who was his opponent ended up in the Cabinet because he needed all of them in order to be able to put together the political power during the crisis that we faced. I would say the same thing. I don't know of a single person currently running who wouldn't be a very effective member of an administrative team and who doesn't have real talent and, in some way ... a unique strength. So I don't have any opponents on the Republican side."
The overly-caffeinated, partisan headline writers at Huffington Post are at it again, this time in response to "Killing Lincoln," a book on the Lincoln assassination co-written by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard.
Here's how one of the headlines at HuffPo described the book --
Joy Behar once again showed how totally ignorant of history she is.
When she absurdly told GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain on Tuesday's "The View," "The Republican Party hasn't been black friendly over the many centuries in this country," co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck smartly replied, "Should we begin with Lincoln?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
You may have heard/seen President Obama's gaffe during his jobs speech Thursday night where he stated that Abraham Lincoln was the "founder of the Republican Party." The quote, via to the New York Times, was
"We all remember Abraham Lincoln as the leader who saved our Union. Founder of the Republican Party. But in the middle of a civil war, he was also a leader who looked to the future -- a Republican President who mobilized government to build the Transcontinental Railroad -- (applause) -- launch the National Academy of Sciences, set up the first land grant colleges. (Applause.) And leaders of both parties have followed the example he set."
You’d think Republicans read the Communist Manifesto from the floor of Congress this week.
Perhaps the activist old media, or their friends in the Democrat Party would’ve been happier with a little Karl Marx, or maybe bring out Steven Colbert to read some Groucho Marx on the floor would’ve made them happier. The outrage over the reading of the U.S. Constitution is as despicable as it is instructive of who the left is in this country.
In today's "What Fact Did Keith Olbermann Mangle Now" segment, the host of MSNBC's "Countdown" on Tuesday hysterically mocked Nevada senatorial candidate Sharron Angle for claiming Abraham Lincoln lost "quite a few" elections.
"Just for the record, do you know how many elections Abraham Lincoln lost in his lifetime?" Olbermann arrogantly asked.
"Seven of eight he won," answered MSNBC's hottest property.
Just for the record, Olbermann wasn't even close to being right (video follows with transcript and commentary, h/t The Corner):
At the conclusion of a program that included Chris Matthews inviting on Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen to compare the Tea Party to the KKK, the Hardball host finished his Thursday episode with a "Let Me Finish" rant where he questioned if Abraham Lincoln would even be a Republican today and wondered if the GOP would even "like him?" Matthews even went as far to ask his audience "who do you think represents the spirit of Lincoln in today's politics," Obama or the GOP?
The following teaser and final commentary were aired on the April 8 edition of Hardball:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: When we return which party would Abraham Lincoln join today? Would he still be a Republican after all the talk about state's rights and honoring the Confederacy? Would they like him? You're watching Hardball! It's choosing up sides time for Abraham Lincoln. Only on MSNBC.
On last night's "Rachel Maddow Show", the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh commended President Obama for taking the reins in Afghanistan. Hersh stated that Presidents must decide their own war strategies. But in the early stages of the war in Iraq, Hersh was a leading critic of similar actions by the Bush administration. Hersh's hypocrisy suggests he is more concerned with the political implications of military policy than strategic ones.
"Lincoln did not let McClellan write a report on how to win a war against the South," Hersh told Maddow, in reference to Gen. George McClellan, initially the top general for the Union during the Civil War. Hersh was offering a historical perspective on why Presidents should not rely on military commanders to form strategy--McClellan was a disastrous general, after all (video embedded below the fold).
This little report is interesting in a few ways, but the most important is that it seems to show that the publishers of at least one American newspaper are wholly ignorant of American history. It seems that early last week the Warren Times Observer of Warren, Pennsylvania published an ad that basically expressed a desire to see President Barack Obama assassinated and they didn't even know it.
The small town paper published an ad that read as follows: "May Obama follow in the steps of Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy!" Sadly, the paper's editors completely missed the salient fact that all these historical presidents -- except for Obama -- were assassinated in office!
By Friday, the paper printed an apology and told the AP that it had turned over all relevant info to the Secret Service.
CNN’s Kyra Phillips marked the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth on Thursday’s American Morning by harkening back to Barack Obama’s decision to announce his candidacy for president on the steps of the Old State Capitol Building in Springfield, Illinois, where the 16th president once worked: “It was here in the Old Capitol that Abraham Lincoln gave his famous ‘House Divided’ speech. A house divided against itself cannot stand, he proclaimed. Sound familiar? Fast-forward -- February 10th, 2007, Lincoln came to life here as if it were 1858.” She then remarked that with the Democrat’s announcement, “we all witnessed Lincoln’s dream and Obama’s reality.”
The correspondent’s odd comparison came at the end of the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, as part of the network’s all-day “From Lincoln to Obama” special programming. Phillips traveled to Springfield for the occasion, and began her report with another “parallel,” as she put, between the two presidents concerning their names: “For example, this campaign flag [from Lincoln’s presidential campaign]. Look at this -- ‘Abram Lincoln.’ They even spelled his name wrong. So it wasn’t just Obama that’s been having issues with his name -- also, Abraham Lincoln. Just one of the parallels that we found as we’ve been spending time here.”
In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez did a segment highlighting five, "...things you may not know about Honest Abe," including his sexual orientation. The segment featured New York University history professor Jeffrey Sammons, who argued: "One of the very interesting stories about Abraham Lincoln is that he might have been gay. Lincoln actually did sleep in the same bed with a gentleman for a four-year period." Rodriguez concluded: "So the question of Abraham Lincoln's sexuality still remains a mystery."
In addition to spreading revisionist rumors about Lincoln’s sexuality, the segment also focused on his racist attitudes as Rodriguez declared: "Myth number two, he was the great champion of equality." Sammons explained: "Lincoln is known as the great emancipator or the great father of black people, but Lincoln was a man of his times when it came to race. He indicated that he did not believe that blacks were equal to whites, said to have used the n-word in speeches and in letters. So there's no indication that Abraham Lincoln believes in black equality."
Like Seinfeld's "soup Nazi," CNN is yelling "No birthday for YOU" to Abraham Lincoln on his 200th birthday -- at least not one for Lincoln alone. Interestingly, the Cable TV Newser can't seem to just give Lincoln his day without shoehorning Barack Obama into many of its stories about Lincoln. It's Lincoln/Obama day as far as CNN is concerned.
Certainly it is natural to see Obama as the culmination of Abraham Lincoln's legacy, but CNN takes this coupling a tad too far. Out of the 12 stories about Lincoln on their Lincoln page, fully one third include Obama. Additionally, the header graphic on the Lincoln page celebrates the day as being "From Lincoln to Obama." One of the stories is about an artist that morphed photographs of Lincoln's head with Obama's face as if this was somehow pertinent to Lincoln's birthday... or even pertinent to art, for that matter.
Far be it from me to sow discord in MSNBC ranks, to stir up old animosities between colleagues there. But if Joe Scarborough is going to do a mocking imitation of Keith Olbermann in full Special Comment rant, well then, blogging ethics compel me to report it.
The jumping-off point on Morning Joe today was Eugene Robinson's current WaPo column. After claiming that he didn't want to kick the president on his way out the door, Robinson proceeded to do just that. The columnist described a variety of measures adopted by the president in prosecution of the war against terror as "departures from American values and traditions." Robinson recommended an investigation if not a criminal prosecution. That led Pat Buchanan and Scarborough to cite, chapter and verse, the ways in which Bush's supposed abrogation of "American values and traditions" were small potatoes compared to the actions of predecessors including Lincoln, Wilson and FDR.
Without mentioning the Countdown host by name, Scarborough closed with an unmistakable impression of Keith Olbermann in pompous Special Comment peroration of the sort that can be seen here.
In a rapid fire display of flip-flopping that would make even the staunchest of liberals proud, Newsweek's Howard Fineman manages to change his opinion on the justification of an Obama-Lincoln connection three times in just under 900 words.
The random logic is hard to see through all the gooeyness behind the concept of such a ridiculous comparison in the first place, but once you wipe the screen, you'll be able to spot it clear as day.
Fineman starts by asking himself a few questions:
Is there any reason, other than the lean frame and knack for giving good speeches, to compare the two men? Is there any reason to see in Obama a Lincoln-like ability to unite a "house divided" in our perilous times? Is that even a fair question to ask or comparison to make?
While most of us would scoff at the notion, Fineman concludes otherwise: