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Friday, February 13, 2009

Southern Avenger: Being Honest About Abe

As my home state celebrates the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln as his 200th birthday was yesterday I wanted to share a divergent point of view regarding Lincoln.

I've often talked to a friend who doesn't believe Honest Abe was as honest as he's often been portrayed. In fact he places Lincoln in the same vein as any of the worst tyrants we've ever heard of around the world. We could talk about Josef Stalin or Adolf Hitler. The Southern Avenger (SA) doesn't go as far, but if Washington was the father of what was supposed to be a voluntary union and a constitutional republic, Lincoln certainly became the father of a more centralized big American government.

Now let's get into a funny area. Well it's not funny because it's not  unreasonable. Consider for a minute that people have different standards for judging a success or a failure of a Presidency. For SA, Lincoln forcing the Confederacy back into the Union doesn't make him a great president. If he doesn't consider Lincoln a failure, he certainly might see Abe as a tyrant.

My definition might be an effectiveness of a particular administration in solving the nation's problems. I'm not entirely sure if that totally holds, especially if you look at FDR. There are those who'll trash FDR because of his New Deal policies, those policies those will argue didn't relieve the Great Depression, but caused it to linger on until the Second World War. Still FDR did lead America thru two major crises and towards the end of his life/presidency won the Second World War. Who knows the jury might be out on his stewardship of the American economy, however, we still see elements of his legacy such as the FDIC. You know these alphabet agencies, especially the ones that largely regulate the private sector economy.

I would say Lincoln was a great or effective President because he navigated a great crisis. He had to deal with the loss of an entire region of the Union and then he fought a war against that region who declared themselves an independent state and then attacked Union forces at a fort that remained in their territory.

Of course if I was in that situation where the country split apart and they attacked my military installation in hostile territory, I have one of two options. Do I withdraw and do nothing or do I engage in a military campaign to say that we can't be having that? Lincoln's military campaign as it turns out brought the South back into the union.

You know I often compared James Buchanan or Bill Clinton. Well at least during the early days of the Bush administration for not a long while after the 9/11/2001 terror attacks. Both men seemed inept at solving the major problems that came to a head after they left their respective presidencies. Buchanan was unable  or perhaps unwilling to ease the regional strife that brought the Civil War. Clinton on the other hand well could be blamed somewhat indirectly for the 9/11 attacks for his unwillingness to go after Al-Qaida.

In any event what do you guys think about this video?

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