If you have not seen Barack’s Lincoln Day speech (the one he made in Springfield, IL), do it. It is a great speech in which Barack continues to express the optimistic view that we can work with the GOPers. We are one nation, he says, with one future. We can beat this economic crisis if we work together. Curiously, he underscored the historic precedent that demonstrates the benefits of doing otherwise.
The president pointed out that Lincoln was a man with a great vision who saw the future of a UNITED States of America in very large terms. Thus, Lincoln pushed ahead with major development projects … the Transcontinental Railway and completion of the Capitol Building, while the Civil War raged. The president’s message, which we have to hope presages his own approach to future development, is that we only grow by looking ahead.
However, Lincoln had one advantage that Obama does not. By the time Lincoln arrived in Washington, all the troglodytes had left the Congress. Robert Caro, in Master of the Senate, the second volume in his Lyndon Johnson trilogy, pointed out that Congress, unhindered by Southern opposition for the first time, passed a package of progressive legislation that was to frame development of the nation for the next 50 years. This included the Pacific Railway Act of 1862, the Homestead Act of 1862 and the Land Grant College Act of 1862.
“The Senate,” Caro wrote, “freed at last by the departure of the southerners, enacted laws that knit together a mighty continent, filled it with people and educated those people…”. (Master of the Senate, 1st ed. Knopf, 2002. P. 24.)
Obama does not have the luxury of banishing the opposition to Alabama. In his few weeks in office, he has been dogged by Lilliputians, sandbagged by fools and harrassed by morons. The GOP, which ran up this massive deficit and created the current financial crisis has made it perfectly clear that it intends to stand on its new-found principles of small government and fiscal conservatism. From all present indications they will, like George Wallace at the University’s gates, and do everything they can to keep The President in his place.
In one sense, this is all political posturing. The GOP has nothing to lose and everything to gain in the mid-term elections if they can convince the voters that Obama has failed and they know the answers. Obama’s posture is that he works hard for the people, has a vision for the future, wants to overcome politics as usual. The depth of this depression, and the President’s continued optimism and focus on the world outside the beltway, may determine who wins.