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Tilting at Windmills

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December 23, 2008

LINCOLN'S BIBLE.... The Politico reported recently that Barack Obama faces a possible "backlash" for his "ostentatious embrace of all things Lincoln." It looks like the president-elect doesn't much care.

On January 20th, President-elect Barack Obama will take the oath of office using the same Bible upon which President Lincoln was sworn in at his first inauguration. The Bible is currently part of the collections of the Library of Congress. Though there is no constitutional requirement for the use of a Bible during the swearing-in, Presidents have traditionally used Bibles for the ceremony, choosing a volume with personal or historical significance. President-elect Obama will be the first President sworn in using the Lincoln Bible since its initial use in 1861.

"President-elect Obama is deeply honored that the Library of Congress has made the Lincoln Bible available for use during his swearing-in," said Presidential Inaugural Committee Executive Director Emmett Beliveau. "The President-elect is committed to holding an Inauguration that celebrates America's unity, and the use of this historic Bible will provide a powerful connection to our common past and common heritage."

I suspect Obama's choice of Bibles will draw complaints from his more aggressive detractors -- Sean Wilentz, I'm looking in your direction -- but presidents routinely use historical items as part of their inaugurations. In Reagan's second inaugural, the Bible was placed on a marble-topped table that was built for Lincoln's second inaugural. Jimmy Carter used a lectern that had been used at Washington's inauguration.

Regardless, it's a nice symbolic gesture for Obama.

Post Script: Time for a scavenger hunt -- which will be the first prominent right-wing blog to express surprise that Obama isn't using a Koran?

Steve Benen 10:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (46)

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I just hope Obama doesn't let Rick Warren get his grimy mitts on it.

Posted by: K on December 23, 2008 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know why anyone should be surprised that Obama's crazy about all things Lincoln. The President-Elect is from Illinois, like me. We really love our Lincoln here...

Posted by: RSG on December 23, 2008 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

The real question is, which prominent right-wing wackjob will TAKE CREDIT for "stopping" Obama from using a Koran?

Posted by: mmy on December 23, 2008 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

No, no...the Koran will be hidden INSIDE the Lincoln Bible.

There's Illinois-based Lincoln-mania, there's mania-based Lincoln-mania, and then there's bicentenary-based Lincoln-mania. It won't end with the Inauguration. It's a year-long "thing" here in DC. So we'll have all of 2009 to hear all about it! Whoopee.

Posted by: ajw_93 on December 23, 2008 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

And I've got to say, now that I've read the Politico article, that this made me slap my forehead:

"Humility? Obama's frequent invocations of Abraham Lincoln — a man enshrined in myth and marble with his own temple on the National Mall — would not at first blush say much about his own instincts for modesty or self-effacement."

Right. Because Lincoln's not humble because AFTER HE DIED a bunch of people started building monuments to him. The Politico puts it you'd think Lincoln had hired Daniel Chester French himself. Sheesh.

Posted by: RSG on December 23, 2008 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Keith Ellison used Thomas Jefferson's copy of the Koran to be sworn in on. He's one sharp guy.

Posted by: John Emerson on December 23, 2008 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

You give them too much credit, Steve. Which right wing blog will be the first to claim that Obama is being sworn in on a Koran, reality notwithstanding?

Posted by: JRD on December 23, 2008 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

- which will be the first prominent any blog that will express surprise that Obama isn't recognized as a reincarnation of Lincoln himself.

This was one of my first thoughts when observing Obama's comportment, confidence and style during the campaign; and so many things have subsequently support this impression. Lincoln was an Illanois Senator before becoming president. He was challenged in the primaries by a New York Senator who subsequently became his Secretary of State. Lincoln had to deal with a deeply divided country largely in a state of chaos. Obama, when asked on 6o Minutes after his election, what he's reading, said he always carries a copy of the writings of Lincoln, which he finds helpful in their wisdom and pragmatism. If I knew more history I'm sure I'd find more similarities. And some of the coincidences that occurred to me in the past months I can't immediately recall to mind.

Now, viewing Obama in such a fashion is easy for me because I've established to my own satisfaction the validity of reincarnation as the basis upon which all beings assume the different forms from life to life that they do. It is a very profound and helpful way of understanding our existence, but I also accept that it's not everyone who can see things in this way.

Anyway, I'm just amazed that this piece of news is yet further confirmation of the perception I have acquired of Obama as Lincoln's reincarnation.

(I love to throw this sort of thing into these discussions, though I'm still waiting for comeback!)

Posted by: Goldilocks on December 23, 2008 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

"No, no...the Koran will be hidden INSIDE the Lincoln Bible."
And inside the Koran will be his Al Qaeda membership card. Think of it as a terrorist turducken.

Posted by: Govt Skeptic on December 23, 2008 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

"Looks like the president-elect" can't buy a break from the Politico. Suggested headline for next year: "Obama reviled by nation: new President's immense popularity turns off Americans."

And the hell with Lincoln, that mass-murdering, martial-law loving maniac who only achieved humanity in the last year of his life, around the time Sherman was eviscerating the South. Teddy Roosevelt is due for a reconsideration. If he was around today, he might be one of our most distinguished Democratic Presidents. Lincoln would have loved the neocons.

But of course, Roosevelt would have embraced their imperialism too. He only reconsidered his lust for conquest in the last year of his own life, when his son died in WWI. It's all complicated, isn't it, and raises the question: was there ever a truly good and successful U.S. President? Well, let's keep hoping.

Posted by: ericfree on December 23, 2008 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

ericfree: Both good and successful? I'd put Eisenhower there. Truman's policies were ultimately successful, though he was reviled for them at the time. Reagan was amiable; is that close enough to good?

Posted by: anandine on December 23, 2008 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

It's also a reminder to the South that they lost. Again.

For the first time in 48 years, the progressive, useful, important part of the country (i.e., the non-South) is back in charge.

Posted by: TCinLA on December 23, 2008 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Goldilocks: Lincoln was not an Illinois Senator before becoming President.

However, if one reads Doris Kearns Goodwin's account of how Lincoln won the Presidency in 1860, both the party nomination and then the election, it certainly does remind one of the Obama campaign 148 years later.

Posted by: TCinLA on December 23, 2008 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

First Obama doesn't put any "real" Southerners in his cabinet. Now he plans to use the bible from the guy who started the War of Northern Aggression.

How many insults is the South supposed to take?

My answer: as many as we choose to give them.

Posted by: tomeck on December 23, 2008 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Excuse me. Politico did NOT "report."

As is their frequent practice, Politico SPECULATED while pretending to report.

Posted by: Larry McD on December 23, 2008 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

TCinLA,

Thanks. Yes, you're right: he was a Congressman, but not a Senator. He was also, of course, a lawyer and an Illinois state legislator, which I think also corresponds to Obama.

Posted by: Goldilocks on December 23, 2008 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

This counts as appointing another Republican to the cabinet.

Posted by: Grumpy on December 23, 2008 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Red State is my guess.

Posted by: ScottW on December 23, 2008 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

anandine @ 11:23: One outta three, maybe. In posting this, I thought of Washington, who might be called our only morally good and successful President, and how much he resembled Eisenhower: he governed best by governing least, which is another way of saying he really didn't do much. He tolerated McCarthy and, in the words of that distinguished historian, my mother, "waited for him to destroy himself;" he didn't campaign against or otherwise try to defeat Brown v. Board, as Reagan and the Bushes would likely have done, and he sent troops into Little Rock, although that can be seen as a partisan political action, considering the attitudes of Southern Democrats (later to be Nixon/Reagan Republicans) of the time. Like Lincoln, his greatest legacy was in his departing warnings on the Military-Industrial Complex and in his antipathy to the Fifties nutjobs that birthed Rush and the neocons. He may have been our greatest "uniter, not divider," the reason why so many on the Republican Right still consider him a closet Communist. But of course the Left never warmed up to him and for good reason, considering how they were treated during the Red Scare. Sorry mom.

Truman didn't do much to fight HUAC and McCarthy either, and his bombing of Japan seems like a courageous act until you consider its victims. Personally, I think the threat to the troops posed by Japan in August 1945 has been immensely overstated, but it will likely be argued about forever. Good: the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Airlift and firing MacArthur (didn't come soon enough). Bad: failure to exercise stronger control over the warmongers and the pervasive corruption of the Administration, which has dogged and tagged the Democratic Party ever since. In spite of the evidence of the last forty years, you still find millions of Americans who think the Democrats are more corrupt, Truman's most lasting legacy.

And Reagan was a deadhead (not, sadly, in the Garcia way), a good actor hired to impersonate a President. I said twenty years ago that he damaged the country in ways we may never recover from; I'd rather have been wrong than proved so horribly right.

The History Channel's "The Presidents" was a pretty good pocket source on the sorry record; looked at objectively, hardly a winner in the lot. My favorites are Jefferson, T & F Roosevelt, but in the last few years Jefferson has been vilified perhaps beyond recovery, in large part through the efforts of my friend Shay Banks, and volumes have been written about the mixed records of the Roosevelts. I'd like to say that the last fifty years have given us the worst Presidents we've ever had, but the record shows they've pretty much always been like that, just not able to do this much damage. Here's to better times.

Posted by: ericfree on December 23, 2008 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, I fully anticipate all sorts of Republicans complaining about what Obama is doing with Lincoln's Bible without giving a second thought to what they've done to his party.

Posted by: Stephen Stralka on December 23, 2008 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

@Goldilocks on December 23, 2008 at 11:03 AM I agree that Obama may well be Lincoln's reincarnation. Not sure if you are pulling our collective legs, but there are many of us who do see Obama as much more than a politician. What is most significant to me in what he says is that it is not up to him to make the change; we all must participate to create the world we desire. What happened with the Bush Admin is that we collectively turned our will over to him and his handlers. We got what we feared because we refused to take responsibility. Even now, we are watching as billions of dollars are transferred without accountability and we, the people, feel helpless to do anything. Now is the Time and We are the Ones we have been waiting for. Stop waiting and get involved. Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly and their kind are there for us to see our weaknesses. They would not be in such high profile positions if we didn't give them so much of our own energy. Even my mention of them here is giving them credibility.

Turn away from what you despise and turn toward what you desire. Practice kindness and compassion. Look within for your strength and share it with others. If your are religious, examine your religious/spiritual beliefs and decide which ones are working for you. Most of us have old beliefs that we haven't validated for years, but they still run us. There are many books and other resources that address beliefs and how they affect our lives. One of my favorites is: What God Wants by Neale Donald Walsch. Whether you believe in God or not, or have another name for It, this short little book could be transformative.

Thanks for listening to this long post.

I am committed to Oneness through Justice and Transformation
peace,
st john

Posted by: st john on December 23, 2008 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Should have been "Eisenhower" tolerated McCarthy, of course. Sorry.

Posted by: ericfree on December 23, 2008 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Deep Thought

The silly season never ends in politics.

Posted by: koreyel on December 23, 2008 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

This is just a cover story to distract from the fact that Obama will actually be sworn in using Osama bin Landen's personal copy of the Koran.

Posted by: Pocket Rocket on December 23, 2008 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Or,how about this variation: using the Lincoln Bible is proof he is a Muslim because he doesn't have his own bible.

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on December 23, 2008 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

"How many insults is the South supposed to take?

My answer: as many as we choose to give them."
Posted by: tomeck

LOL,

Thanks for the Christmas Present. It may well be the best one of the season.

Posted by: Lance on December 23, 2008 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

PocketRocket: is that Osama bin Alf Landen? More Republican input! When will it stop?

Posted by: ericfree on December 23, 2008 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Let's just not push the comparisons to Lincoln too far, OK? Gives me the willies and I've been worried already, from day one.

Posted by: exlibra on December 23, 2008 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Lincoln went into the civil war willing to tolerate slavery in order to keep the union together, i.e., the Civil War was not directly caused by slavery. By his 2nd Inaugural, he said, "These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war."

I hope that in a similar manner, although liberals argue that the Invasion of Iraq was just a ruse to support Halliburton and was not about individual freedom and Democracy when executed, that they will see it as the goal now. That would be very Lincolnesque of Obama.

Posted by: sjrsm on December 23, 2008 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Note to Politico and similar: if you want your articles to be taken seriously outside the Beltway, make them about grown-up topics. This junior-high whispering of vague, gossipy insults is not one of them.

If Obama wants to pick our greatest president as a role-model, good for him. Better that then William McKinley, the idol of the current generation of corrupt conservatives. If he's grateful to Lincoln, it shows he's read more on the man and his times then most of the commenters at politico. Lincoln, whatever his faults, saved the country from destruction, ended slavery, and took a bullet in the head for, in John Wilkes Booth's words, "the n***** vote." Helluva lot more done for his country then any other politician in the last 250 years.

We'll know in four or eight years if Obama is in the same league as Lincoln. No historian's opinion on the matter is worth a damn until then, not even someone as brilliant as Eric Foner. Trivial, irrelevant, nit-picking complaints by people who should be discussing serious issues is not furthering the dialogue or helping the nation.

Posted by: Midland on December 23, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Lincoln went into the civil war willing to tolerate slavery in order to keep the union together, i.e., the Civil War was not directly caused by slavery.

Sorry, dude, you've got it backwards. The entire secession crisis, going back decades, was always about slavery. It dragged on for so long because the South was convinced the North wanted to free the slaves and refused to believe otherwise no matter what Northerners said to the contrary.

Only a small minority of Northerners wanted to outlaw slavery directly before the war. A large majority thought it a vile practice, but were not willing to fight and die to get rid of it. It wasn't until the South forced the issue in the late 1850s that Northerners became strongly opposed to slavery and slave-state poltics. This happened because Southern radicals refused to accept their "don't ask, don't look, don't talk about it" posture on the issue. Instead, they tried to force the North to allow slavery to spread outside the slave-states, or to support it by enforcing slave-catching laws, or to just let pro-slavery politicians run the country so they felt secure in their little slave/police state society. Whenever they didn't get their way, they would threaten to tear the country apart by seceding.

Lincoln got nominated and won the 1860 election on a platform of keeping the nation together and not directly attacking slavery because that was the only compromise position that had a hope of preventing civil war. The South refused to consider any compromise policy and states began seceding. Lincoln had the choice of fighting or surrendering. He fought, and went to the source of the problem in 1862 by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. By that point, a majority in the North agreed with him that slavery was the root cause of the war and were willing to fight for emancipation along with preservation of the union. His political gamble paid off and he earned his place in history.

Try reading the actual political speeches and campaign literature from the 1850s. It's very enlightening, and debunks the cover stories Southerners have been making for the last 150 years.

Posted by: Midland on December 23, 2008 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Good post Midland. 7 states seceded before he even took office. The only compromise Southern aristocracy wanted was total capitulation.

Posted by: Daryl on December 23, 2008 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

He fought, and went to the source of the problem in 1862 by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation.

A small quibble with Midland's otherwise excellent post. The Emancipation Proclamation was not an atttempt to "get to the source of the problem" in terms of domestic politics. Since it didn't free slaves in Union states or even in the portions of so-called Confederate territory already controlled by the Union, that would come later.

The Proclamation was instead intended to keep England and France from intervening on the side of the Confederacy, which would have been fatal to the Union cause. Both countries had already abolished slavery in their own Empires. Once the Proclamation made any such intervention "objectively pro-slavery," it became too embarassing in both diplomatic and domestic political terms to touch.

Posted by: spot check billy on December 23, 2008 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

I think the symbolism is spot-on. Whatever you may think of Lincoln personally, Obama could not be where he is today without Lincoln's actions. So if the first African-American President wants to use Lincoln's bible in homage then I don't really see a problem. And I don't think most people would either.

But this discussion does make me think. The presidents we consider really good also did very bad things in other areas. FDR and his internment camps are an obvious example. That's because great men do good things greatly and bad things greatly. Hopefully, the bad things that Obama does won't be too bad in comparison to the good things.

Posted by: Vincent on December 23, 2008 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

For my part, I'm waiting for a president who's willing to be sworn in without using a holy book of any kind. I realize I'll probably die waiting.

Posted by: noncarborundum on December 23, 2008 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Oh the religious pressure in a secular nation.

Here at St' God's cathedral we have God's Bible of good, kind and decent moral humans that should be used to take oaths...it keeps expectations in the realm of reality, where we don't rely on God to hold transgressors accountable when we can take care of that ourselves.

Biden claims he would rather look forward than backward except that as long as we keep doing that we continue to go through the "backward" over and over again and our sense of direction remains 'backward'.
We knew that is what the new administration was going to say because they always do. They could have said it before crimes were ever committed by just approving corruption by saying to Cheney, "Go ahead and do it because we will never look back at it, we just want to look forward. So get it done so we can just keep looking forward".

Does Biden seriously think we will just forget about it. Does he want a stupid electorate or an intelligent one. Is this a change we can believe in?...no consequences for willfully breaking our laws?...no accountability? How does he expect anything to ever change if he is unwilling to to stand up for what needs to change.

Posted by: bjobotts on December 23, 2008 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

btw ***Midland***The secession was less about slavery than trade and labor. The southern states were making their own trade policies because they had slave labor and could make and export products at a much lower cost. Because of slave labor they were beginning to form their own country so to speak. Doing what China does today, offering (cheap) slave labor cost to manufacturers of goods. For some it was a moral issue but for most it was driving them out of business in the north. If slave labor could be expanded to a majority of the states then the entire country stood to become as wealthy as the south was becoming. Slave labor virtually built the south which if wages had to be paid would have taken much longer and extremely more costly.

The North could not compete with the South in trade, exports and imports due to slavery and the Union would have failed for being non-competitive. Imagine the cost of products at Wal-Mart with no labor costs...now imagine trying to compete with them. Slavery either had to be abolished or embraced if the union was to survive as a nation.

Posted by: joey on December 23, 2008 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

I can't help but wonder if Rick Warren had been as abusive towards blacks as he has been towards gays if Obama would still be as tolerant of his giving the Inaugural invocation. People cannot help being born gay any more than being born black.

If Warren had stated that unless Blacks were repentant about being black they could not be a member of Saddle-his-Back Church and black men could only marry black women...that blacks could never marry whites and even tried to put that into the constitution.

But hell, it's just a short prayer and doesn't mean he agrees with him or anything. Reaching out to the very people trying to make sure you fail is not very bright...you talk and bargain with them but you always hold them at a distance just so they and everybody else knows you are not one of them. Time will tell. You know how leaders are...never will admit to mistakes 'cause they don't believe in them.

Posted by: joey on December 23, 2008 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

The secession was less about slavery than trade and labor. The southern states were making their own trade policies because they had slave labor and could make and export products at a much lower cost. Because of slave labor they were beginning to form their own country so to speak.

An interesting theory, Joey, and one the Southern elite probably believed in, along with a number of unsophisticated Northerners worried about competition for working class jobs. In a neat bit of sophistry, slavery supporters both North and South talked about the economic superiority of the slave system while at the same time insisting that slavery was dying out and would eventually fade away of its own accord.

However, the notion of Southern economic superiority was easily debunked. Northerners with no particular concern about export balances considered the south a drag on the rest of the nation, which was in the midst of an industrial revolution and creating new wealth at an astonishing rate, easily visible on a year to year basis. The South had fewer railroads, fewer cities, fewer universities, less industry, a semi-illiterate population and hundreds of miles of obviously impoverished countryside. Northern soldiers unsure of their role in the war commented on this often in letters home. It helped build opposition to slavery in the ranks, as it seemed obvious that slavery it was doing the South more harm than good.

As it happened, the argument for Northern economic superiority proved out after the war started. Europe figured out ways to do without "King Cotton," but could not so easily without American grain and mineral wealth. While European leaders pondered supporting the secessionist states, European investment money poured into the north to build factories, mines, and railroads. Intervening in the war would have cost Europe dearly, far more than it would have gained supporting a run-down farming empire with a burgeoning hostile super-power on its borders.

(Note: Lincoln, among other politicians, was one of those who pushed the idea of slavery dying away for economic reasons, in my opinion more out of wishful thinking than anything else. Like the equally wistful notion of shipping ex-slaves to Africa, it wasn't provable or workable on any scale. It did, however, provide a thin string of argument for compromise. Of course, activist American Blacks wanted no part of African immigration and told Lincoln so. They'd put generations of brutal labor into building this country and were not about to be shipped away to some impoverished, alien, tropical hell-hole just because some Whites had trouble coping with their presence as free men and women. Lincoln eventually dropped the notion.)

Posted by: Midland on December 23, 2008 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

A small quibble with Midland's otherwise excellent post. The Emancipation Proclamation was not an atttempt to "get to the source of the problem" in terms of domestic politics. Since it didn't free slaves in Union states or even in the portions of so-called Confederate territory already controlled by the Union, that would come later.

A subtle issue, as Billy points out. The anti-slavery effect was indirect but powerful.

My former professor, Jim Oakes, got rooked into contributing a quote to an article belittling Obama's supposed "Team of Rivals" strategy. However, he also praised Lincoln in a seminar, and I recall being the only grad student there who got his point, for his preternatural political skills.

Dealing with Lincoln politically was like going one on one bare-knuckle with Jason Bourne: a swirl of deceptively simple traps, blocks strikes, and suddenly you're flying through a closed window down while he walks off with the goods and the girl. Team of Rivals doesn't claim that Lincoln magically disciplined and trained his cabinet into a Superbowl winner. However, Lincoln did trap many of his most powerful rivals into positions where they could not challenge him, where their political supporters supported his causes, and where he got the best use for the country of their considerable talents.

The Emancipation Proclamation was a precision strike right at the gut issue of the conflict. Lincoln established that the war was about slavery if you were against it (because the South defended an immoral system) and also about slavery if you wanted to save the Union (because it anchored the Southern War effort. The proclamation didn't touch the slaves in the border states, but because of that it hamstrung their opposition to any other anti-slavery policies he undertook. It outraged racist Northerners, but it didn't actually release hordes of bestial Blacks to ravage their women and steal their jobs. It did, as you note, knee-cap European interventionists by putting them in the position of supporting slavery.

Of course, it didn't free any slaves directly, but Lincoln and the wiser of the abolitionists knew that it would, in good time. In the Union and occupied southern slave states, all slave owners were on notice that their property could eventually and probably would eventually be taken away. Their slavery could not continue to exist if millions of slaves in other territories were freed. As word spread into the Confederacy, those millions of slaves knew there was finally somewhere to go to be free and that freedom would happen when a Union army got near. Whenever and wherever Union armies went, the slaves voted with their feet and the system of slavery disintegrated, never to be rebuilt.

Posted by: Midland on December 23, 2008 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

I hope that in a similar manner, although liberals argue that the Invasion of Iraq was just a ruse to support Halliburton and was not about individual freedom and Democracy when executed, that they will see it as the goal now. That would be very Lincolnesque of Obama.

Oh, for crying out loud. That was so ludicrous I can only hope it was a clever parody of sjrsm. If not, then Jingo, there isn't any knot you won't twist yourself into to avoid having to walk away from your beloved war. Get a grip.

The rest of the discussion on Lincoln and the CW in this thread is very absorbing. Thanks to all.

Posted by: shortstop on December 24, 2008 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

Re the reincarnation theories, it's amusing that these always seem to involve a) a famous person reincarnated as a famous person, or b) the speaker as the reincarnation of a famous person. No ordinary Joe or Jane ever seems to claim that he or she is the reincarnation of a nameless ditch digger or scullery maid.

Posted by: shortstop on December 24, 2008 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Re the reincarnation theories, it's amusing that these always seem to involve a) a famous person reincarnated as a famous person, or b) the speaker as the reincarnation of a famous person. No ordinary Joe or Jane ever seems to claim that he or she is the reincarnation of a nameless ditch digger or scullery maid.

Unless she was a very interesting scullery maid. If anyone really remembered all their previous incarnations (a) A third of them would be children dead before fully into puberty, (b) about 90% of those surviving to adulthood would be peasant farmers and (c) the majority of these would be Chinese or Indian peasant farmers.

Posted by: Midland on December 24, 2008 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, for crying out loud.
Posted by: shortstop

Assuming this definition of liberalism is correct...

Liberalism is a broad class of political philosophies that consider individual liberty to be the most important political goal.[1]

Liberalism emphasizes individual rights and equality of opportunity. Within liberalism there are various streams of thought which compete over the use of the term "liberal" and may propose very different policies, but they are generally united by their support for a number of principles, including freedom of thought and speech, limitations on the power of governments, the rule of law, an individual's right to private property,[2] free markets,[2] and a transparent system of government.[3] All liberals, as well as some adherents of other political ideologies, support some variant of the form of government known as liberal democracy, with open and fair elections, where all citizens have equal rights by law.

I hope liberals don't want to walk away from Iraq and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory just to make a point about Bush.

No matter what liberals think, I don't think Obama will. From his foreign policy speech...

I still believe that America is the last, best hope of Earth. We just have to show the world why this is so. This President may occupy the White House, but for the last six years the position of leader of the free world has remained open. And it’s time to fill that role once more...In today’s globalized world, the security of the American people is inextricably linked to the security of all people.
Posted by: sjrsm on December 24, 2008 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

Yep, parody. Good one, too, as far as capturing the convulsive mental contortions--desperately searching for facts to (badly) fit the beloved theory rather than the other way round--goes. The tidy writing is the only weak spot.

Midland, none of my previous incarnations did anything so tacky and dreary as die of childhood diseases, till the soil or live in Asia. Every one of them was a good-looking Westerner who headed a state, launched a dynasty, or won a Nobel prize. What are the odds?!

Posted by: shortstop on December 24, 2008 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Yep, parody...
Posted by: shortstop

We've dropped "below the fold." Nice to know concepts like freedom and liberalism are merely subjects of parody for you. That's OK, I'm sure Obama will disappoint you anyway.

Posted by: sjrsm on December 24, 2008 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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