Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Commentary

June 14, 2013

Obama’s Lincoln delusion

When Barack Obama announced his presidential campaign back in February 2007, he did it in front of the old Springfield, Ill., Statehouse in a speech full of references to Abraham Lincoln.

He has clothed himself in the mantle of our 16th president in ways large and small throughout his presidency. This is nothing new. Progressives have been after Lincoln since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. By capturing the legacy of Lincoln, they know they can use one of the most beloved figures in American history to bless an endlessly expansive government and deprecate their opponents.

“The official leaders of the Republican Party today,” as Roosevelt put it in 1913, “are the spiritual heirs of the men who warred against Lincoln.” If Obama hasn't stated it so starkly, his point is essentially the same. This is shrewd politics but poor history. It distorts Lincoln or entirely misses his point in a brazen act of historical body-snatching.

As I recount in my new book, Lincoln Unbound, he was a proponent of markets, individual achievement, and personal responsibility. He embraced economic dynamism and development. He rejected populist demagoguery directed at corporations and banks. He warned against class warfare and made working for your own living — and not off the work of others — one of his bedrock principles. He considered property rights sacrosanct and called patent law one of the greatest inventions of all time. He revered the Founders. 

All of these elements of his politics were at play in his struggle to end the rural backwardness in which he had grown up and — more importantly — to end slavery, which as “unrequited toil” offended his sense of basic justice and natural rights.

Of course, Lincoln had a positive view of government, believing that policies supporting transportation, industry and a sound currency would create a vibrant, open economy. But none of this involved the massive, redistributive transfer payments of the modern welfare state, not to mention the regulation or the bureaucracy.

Text Only
Commentary
  • Benefits of hiking minimum wage are just an illusion |I don’t know anyone averse to making more money. Sure, I have friends who demonstrate, through words and actions, that money is not the most important thing in their lives. But I haven’t seen one of them turn down a raise. I wouldn’t, either. (That'

    March 3, 2014

  • Benefits of hiking minimum wage are just an illusion |I don’t know anyone averse to making more money. Sure, I have friends who demonstrate, through words and actions, that money is not the most important thing in their lives. But I haven’t seen one of them turn down a raise. I wouldn’t, either. (That'

    March 3, 2014

  • Letter to the editor |To the Editor: As the dust has settled somewhat in the state legislature over HJR-3, with its endless debates, and other matters are given credence in the media, I'm given to reflecting on a phrase made famous by a folk singer of the 1960s who harmo

    February 27, 2014

  • Letter to the editor |To the Editor: As the dust has settled somewhat in the state legislature over HJR-3, with its endless debates, and other matters are given credence in the media, I'm given to reflecting on a phrase made famous by a folk singer of the 1960s who harmo

    February 27, 2014

  • A military budget of delusion |The Obama administration says that we need to end what it calls "the era of austerity" in Washington. Notably excluded from this admonition is the one department of government that is actually experiencing austerity worthy of the name. Defense Secre

    February 26, 2014

  • Brent Glasgow Sherman, Miller apples of the same tree

    There was a wide array of reactions to Seattle DB Richard Sherman’s post-game “interview” with Erin Andrews following the Seahawks’ NFC title win over San Francisco.

    Mine? Laughter, as the shout-down was the most entertaining thing I saw all day.

    January 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Glasgow Cash greener, but grass not so far for Butler

    Butler is still a long way from saving its 2013-14 men’s basketball season, but if the Bulldogs turn it around fully and reach the NCAA Tournament, it will have started this past Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

    January 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Glasgow Downer finale doesn’t change Colts’ positives

    A fine season for the Indianapolis Colts ended with a whimper Saturday at New England, but in recent team history, it was far from the most disappointing postseason defeat.

    January 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Glasgow Colts have chance to pen masterpiece

    The Indianapolis Colts’ miraculous 45-44 wild card victory over Kansas City on Saturday ended just after 8 p.m. After leaving Lucas Oil Stadium, it took until around midnight for the pounding in my head to subside.

    January 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • A manufactured ADHD epidemic If at any time while reading this article your attention wanders, you may have ADHD. If you pause to check your e-mail sometime during the next three paragraphs, you should consult a doctor. If you fail to read this article all the way to the end, yo

    December 31, 2013

House Ads
Hendricks County Marquee
Email News Sign Up
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Poll

New poll question: Will you be attending this year’s Indianapolis 500?

Yes
No
Undecded
     View Results
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Must Read