Archive for the ‘Emanuel’ Category

“American Press has Turned Into a Joke” Comparing Obama To FDR, Lincoln

November 19, 2008

“Barack Obama is just like Lincoln,” a youthful and eager fan reported to me.

And I thought: except for the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address, the preservation of the Union and his record as President of the United States.

Bill Sammon of the Washington Examiner said, “The American press has turned into a joke by comparing Barack Obama to FDR and Abraham Lincoln.  They do him no favor by raising expectations to a level that is not achievable.”

Barack Obama, the first ever black man elected to America’s highest office, should be honored for sure; but we should also put our regard for him in proper perspective and watch how the next four years transpire.

Barack Obama is still, to me, a potential agent of manifest change: and not yet a historically overpowering figure we honor for his many accomplishments.

Oh I agree with others that the election of a Black American is historic and memorable; but while it says a lot about our new President-elect it says more to me about the American people.

The notion that Barack Obama is, in many ways, “Linconesque,” is at least premature and could seem a tad bizarre, especially to historians seeking meaning, accomplishments and proven character.

Obama has not yet managed through his Cuban Missile Crisis, his Vietnam War, his Great Depression or whatever real crises we can anticipate — and even whatever nobody could ever anticipate like George W. Bush’s “Nine Eleven.”

Yet both Lincoln and Obama certainly share Illinois and a place in history.  Lincoln’s place in history is “writ large.”  We do not yet know if Barack Obama is a chapter or two of history; or just a paragraph or two. 

President-elect Barack Obama answers a journalist's question ... 
President-elect Barack Obama answers a journalist’s question during his first press conference following his election victory in Chicago, November 7, 2008.(John Gress/Reuters)

Barack Obama grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia. He graduated from  Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was president of the Harvard Law Review.

Obama is an “indoorsman,” who wrote two books about himself and arguably became addicted to his BlackBerry.

Lincoln was an outdoorsman who grew up in a log cabin in the rough “west” of the United States in his time, including Kentucky and Illinois.

Wikipedia says “Lincoln struck out on his own, canoeing down the Sangamon River to the village of New Salem in Sangamon County. Later that year, hired by New Salem businessman Denton Offutt and accompanied by friends, he took goods from New Salem to New Orleans via flatboat on the Sangamon, Illinois and Mississippi rivers.”

Lincoln’s formal education consisted of about 18 months of schooling, but he was largely self-educated and an avid reader. He was also a talented local wrestler and skilled with an axe.

Barack Obama is skilled with a computer keyboard, a teleprompter, and as a very eloquent public speaker and, though I myself have been moved by the style of many Obama speeches, the next day I have found something sometimes lacking. Yet like some of Mister Lincoln’s orations and remarks, Mr. Obama’s speeches are filled with “hope” and “change.”

Obama's speech earned him praise from politicians on the left and right. But not everyone was impressed.

Above: Barack Obama before a crowd in Germany. Photo: Getty Images
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Lincoln participated in the most studied and recalled political debates ever held in America.

Barack Obama’s debates with John McCain will be recalled for one thing only: Obama became the elected president.

“I don’t think we need any big media-run productions, no processed questions from reporters, no spin rooms, just two Americans running for the highest office in the greatest nation on earth responding to the concerns of the people who’s trust that we must earn,” John McCain said well before the debates with Barack Obama.

Famously, McCain said he wanted ten “Lincoln-Douglas” style debates with Barack Obama.

The nation ended up with far fewer than ten debates and not one came close to resembling the famed and historic Lincoln-Douglas debates.

But the world is a different place now and our national attention span and will to concentrate is short for good reasons, even though we are multitasking…

Creators Syndicate

Oprah Already Has Dress For Obama's Inauguration
WireImage
Access Hollywood

Barack Obama and his wife Michelle are pretty much comfortable everywhere — from public speaking in Germany to Bill Ayers house and onward to Oprah’s TV show and to Hollywood.

Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd, which many historians believe was at least “on the edge” and probably crazy, were famously uncomfortable in most settings.  Many Hollywood and TV people today say that Lincoln’s looks would probably make him unelectable today.

Lincoln mourned the loss of one of his own children: and he watched in horror as Civil War casualties bled the nation white.  He even took the time to pen a letter to a grieving mother who lost five sons in “Lincoln’s war.”

Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln’s most famous oration, the Gettysburg Address, took just two minutes to deliver.  For more than a century, American school children memorized this magnificent piece of writing and oration, one of the finest speeches ever given in America, some say, and all in less than 280 words.

On the day of that address, Lincoln was not the featured speaker, who droned on for some time.  But nobody without a deep history education can even recall the man who delivered his remarks before Lincoln on Thursday, November 19, 1863, at the cemetery in Gettysburg.


Soldiers National Cemetery, Gettysburg

Lincoln freed the slaves and preserved the Union.  So far, Obama freed the media and the electorate of the feeling and belief that racism kept good men of color from key posts.

Lincoln was unafraid of firing his top generals — and then while U.S. Grant was gaining ground and winning battles and his staff said the man was a drunk, Lincoln issued an order to send Grant a case of his favorite spirits, or so the story is told.


Lincoln in the field during the Civil War

Lincoln had to sneak into Washington DC for his inauguration.  Obama will be greeted by a throng of millions.

Lincoln assembled a cabinet that was a train wreck of disagreement to the point of dysfunction.  Some in the media today say that Obama is emulating Lincoln’s ability to be “inclusive” in his cabinet selections.

But Lincoln did famously “reach out” to all great leaders who could help him including the Catholic Archbishop of New York, “Dagger” John Hughes.

Linoln also gave a seemingly open door to the White House to Abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who pushed President Lincoln to create and issue the Emancipation Proclamation — against the advice of many including his top military commanders.


Above: Frederick Douglass, in about 1879.

Above:  Lincoln met with his cabinet on July 22, 1862 for the first reading of a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Barack Obama’s challenges have yet to unfold.

Lincoln’s challenges were manifest.

History has judged Lincoln.  Obama’s first full chapter, now, at least in part, well chronicled by eager contemporary media scribes, is mostly still a way off for historians to evaluate.

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia
November 19, 2008

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The Topeka Capitol Journal began an article on November 9, 2008 with, “Plans are being made to promote a national holiday for Barack Obama, who will become the nation’s 44th president when he takes the oath of office Jan. 20.”

My Vietnamese American relatives say, “We seem to have the Easter before the Palm….”

Lincoln’s Day, once celebrated on his birthday, is now largely forgotten and squeezed out by the celebration of other great Americans like Martin Luther King.  Frederick Douglass has no day at all. It might be prudent to hold off on the “Barack Obama Day” just a tad….

Related:
Barack Obama Needs To Know: Lincoln’s Dysfuncional Cabinet Was Not Your Mother’s A-Team
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 Frederick Douglass: Turning Points
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“Most Famous” Lincoln Letter of Civil War Found?

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Obama’s First Press Conference — Long on Style, Short on Substance

November 8, 2008

Barack Obama was long on style and short on substance today as he hosted his first press conference as president-elect, as perhaps was appropriate. He reminded the audience that George Bush is still president, but signaled to Americans that his administration will not want for talent or diversity by appearing with a bevy of top drawer financial figures. The members of his Transition Economic Advisory Board who joined him on the stage included, among others, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, and business leaders such as Eric Schmidt of Google, Dick Parsons of Time Warner and Anne Mulcahy of Xerox.

By Liz Peek
Fox News

US President-elect Barack Obama (C) speaks to the press in Chicago. ... 
US President-elect Barack Obama (C) speaks to the press in Chicago. Obama on Friday said he would act “swiftly” as soon as he takes office to confront the economic crisis head on, during his first news conference since his historic election.(AFP/Stan Honda)

He appeared at first to disappoint investors who may have been hoping that Obama would announce a sterling choice for the key post of Treasury Secretary, or would somehow produce a rabbit out of his hat that would guarantee an economic recovery. The stock market averages were ahead strongly as Obama took the podium, but drew back as he delivered tempered remarks about his programs to help out the middle class and boost growth. As the day came to an end, however, the market came back to post a 2.8% gain.

Not only did he speak against an impressive backdrop of well known financial figures, he also spoke against a backdrop of sobering economic news, including word today that the U.S. lost another 240,000 jobs in October, leading to a year-to-date drop of nearly 1.2 million.

Responding to the worsening employment picture, Mr. Obama outlined his top priorities.

His first aim appears to be the passage of a stimulus program, which he described as “long overdue” and which he suggested would be his top goal as president in the event that the plan does not get passed by the lame duck Congress. He emphasized the need to extend unemployment benefits, aid homeowners, help small businesses navigate the financial crisis, and assist hard-pressed states and local governments. Doubtless mindful of the miserable earnings results and dire cash flow projections reported earlier in the day by General Motors and Ford, Obama also singled out the auto industry as needing assistance –- advocating specifically funding for retooling for the industry as well as considering other possible options.

Otherwise, Obama reached back into his campaign quiver to talk about long-term areas of focus such as clean energy, universal health care, improved education and tax relief for middle class families. He said his team would work to stabilize markets, help homeowners and oversee the implementation of the financial bailout package “without unduly rewarding” managements of those companies receiving assistance.

Read the rest:
http://foxforum.blogs.foxnews.com/2008/11/07/lpeek_1107/

Rahm Emanuel: “Cross Between a Hemorrhoid and a Toothache” Paul Begala Says

November 6, 2008

Tough guy, triathlete, a man who can tease presidents and ballet dancer?  He’s really a pit viper…

Ballet Class by Robyn Vickers Snaps.
This is NOT Rahm Emanuel’s Ballet class….

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By Nina Easton, Fortune Washington bureau chief


WASHINGTON D.C., (Fortune) — On a wretchedly hot August day outside the Caterpillar tractor plant in Montgomery, Ill., President Bush and the state’s congressional delegation gather for the signing of the massive transportation bill. This is 2005, the calm before the Katrina storm, and a rigorous mountain-biking schedule has the President in top shape.

In off-camera chitchat with the shirt-sleeved lawmakers, Bush takes note of Democratic Congressman Rahm Emanuel’s deep tan, prompting the 46-year-old Emanuel to boast about the miles of swimming and biking in his triathlon training schedule.

(This story is an excerpt from the story that ran in the October 2, 2006 issue of Fortune.
Read the entire story:
http://money.cnn.com/2006/09/17/magazines/fortune/politics.fortune/index.htm)

Testosterone oozes into the humid air space between the two men. Bush invites Emanuel down to Texas to do some real biking. “So I said, ‘I’ll make you a deal, Mr. President. I’ll bike if you swim.’ Now he didn’t exactly say swimming was a wussy sport, but you could tell…. So I said, ‘Mr. President, Laura can put your water wings next to the lake. You can have your water wings.’ ”

rahm_emmanuel.03.jpg
Emanuel on his way to a Democratic Party fundraiser in Cleveland on August 30.

At that point you might think this graduate of the Evanston School of Ballet would leave well enough alone. But Emanuel is hard-wired to go for the jugular: Politics Chicago-style are part of his DNA. So he sharpens his drill bit on the leader of the free world. “I said to him, ‘You’re not one of those tribathletes, are you, Mr. President? You know – steam, sauna, shower?’

“And Bush goes, ‘That’s g-o-o-d.'”

Banter with a U.S. President is nothing new to Emanuel; he was at Bill Clinton’s side as a political advisor inside the White House for six years and still talks strategy with him at least once a month. Now chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee – the operations center for House candidates – Emanuel is applying rugged business discipline to the Democratic Party’s historic effort to wrest control of the U.S. House from the Republicans. Last year he recruited dozens of candidates to challenge GOP incumbents. This year he is holding feet to the fire to raise record amounts for the Democrats’ effort.

Along the way Emanuel has widened his core of admirers – and made powerful enemies. Nervous about being swamped by Republican money this fall, he spent the summer locked in a bitter dispute with Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean over the allocation of election resources. In private Emanuel told off Dean. In public he’s aimed similar messages at liberal financiers like George Soros for being stingy and at the leftist activists in MoveOn.org for being ineffective.

All this matters, of course, only if the Democrats lose. “Holy Christ, his butt is on the line,” says Democratic strategist Paul Begala, who describes Emanuel’s aggressive style as a “cross between a hemorrhoid and a toothache.”

Read the rest:
http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/
2006/10/02/8387515/index.htm