Archive for the ‘Michelle Obama’ 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
.
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

***************

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
.
 Frederick Douglass: Turning Points
.
“Most Famous” Lincoln Letter of Civil War Found?

Advertisements

The Origin of Obama’s Pastor Problem

March 20, 2008

By JAMES CARNEY AND AMY SULLIVAN
TIME Magazine
March 20, 2008

The speech he delivered at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia was an artfully reasoned treatise on race and rancor in America, the most memorable speech delivered by any candidate in this campaign and one that has earned Obama comparisons to Lincoln, Kennedy and King. But that doesn’t mean it will succeed in its more prosaic mission of appealing to voters who have their doubts about Obama and his preacher. It left unanswered a crucial question: What attracted Obama to Wright in the first place?

Read it all:
http://news.yahoo.com:80/s/time/20080320/us_
time/theoriginofobamaspastor
problem;_ylt=AiVOE5wlzSUgZFQwMq12ttSs0NUE

Michelle Obama Takes Heat for Saying She’s ‘Proud of My Country’ for the First Time

February 19, 2008

Provided by Fox News
February 19, 2008

Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle, is under fire for leaving the impression that she hasn’t been proud of her country until now, when Democrats are beginning to rally around her husband’s campaign.

Speaking in Milwaukee, Wis., on Monday, she said, “People in this country are ready for change and hungry for a different kind of politics and … for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.”

Greeted with rousing applause after making the comment in Milwaukee, Obama delivered an amended version of the speech later that day in Madison, Wis.

“For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country … not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change,” she said. “I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment.”

Obama was born in 1964, meaning her adult life began in 1982. Critics quickly seized on the newfound national pride.

“I am proud of my country,”  John McCain’s wife, Cindy, said at a campaign stop in Brookfield, Wis., Tuesday. “I don’t know if you heard those words earlier … but I am very proud of my country.”

Peace and Freedom Thought:

Knowing that the Republican front runner was a former military man and POW alone should have forced Mrs. Obama to think through her remark a bit better.  This was a gigantic gaffe for a liberal who will now be branded, and maybe appropriately, by many as un-American.

************

Inside Politics

By Greg Pierce
The Washington Times
February 20, 2008

‘Reallygate’
.

Comments uttered by Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle, in Wisconsin on Monday have led some conservative bloggers and pundits to question her patriotism. The Obama campaign said her remarks were misinterpreted.
.
During a rally in the Milwaukee, Mrs. Obama said that “for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am proud of my country, because it feels like home is finally making a comeback.”
.
Later in the day, during a rally in Madison, Mrs. Obama altered the phrase’s meaning by adding the word “really” — “for the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country.”
.
A spokeswoman for Mrs. Obama said any assumption that Mrs. Obama hasn’t always been proud to be an American is false.
.
“In the context of her remarks, her point is clear — of course Michelle is proud of her country,” Katie McCormick Lelyveld told reporter Sean Lengell of The Washington Times.
.
“What she meant is that she’s really proud at this moment because for the first time in a long time, thousands of Americans who’ve never participated in politics before are coming out in record numbers to build a grass-roots movement for change.”
.
Political strategists and pollsters contacted yesterday said the incident will have little or no negative impact on the Obama campaign.
.
David Winston
, a Republican strategist and pollster, said because Mrs. Obama had made no controversial statements previously, voters will pay little attention to her comment.

“Once is an incident; twice is a pattern,” Mr. Winston said.

Bud Jackson, a Democratic media consultant, said only political foes of Mr. Obama will infer that his wife is not a proud American.

“They are going to agree with the spirit of what she is saying that they are especially proud that the country appears more engaged than ever and ready for a change,” Mr. Winston said.

‘Very revealing’

Michelle Obama [on Monday] said that ‘for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction,’ ” John Podhoretz notes in a blog at www. commentarymagazine.com.

“Really proud of her country for the first time? Michelle Obama is 44 years old. She has been an adult since 1982. Can it really be there has not been a moment during that time when she felt proud of her country?” Mr. Podhoretz asked.

“Forget matters like the victory in the Cold War; how about only things that have made liberals proud — all the accomplishments of inclusion? How about the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1991? Or Ruth Bader Ginsburg‘s elevation to the Supreme Court? Or Carol Moseley Braun‘s election to the Senate in 1998? How about the merely humanitarian, like this country’s startling generosity to the victims of the tsunami? I’m sure commenters can think of hundreds more landmarks of this sort. Didn’t she even get a twinge from, say, the Olympics?

“Mrs. Obama was speaking at a campaign rally, so it is easy to assume she was merely indulging in hyperbole. Even so, it is very revealing.

“It suggests, first, that the pseudo-messianic nature of the Obama candidacy is very much a part of the way the Obamas themselves are feeling about it these days. If they don’t get a hold of themselves, the family vanity is going to swell up to the size of Phileas Fogg’s hot-air balloon and send the two of them soaring to heights of self-congratulatory solipsism that we’ve never seen before.

“Second, it suggests the Obama campaign really does have its roots in New Class leftism, according to which patriotism is not only the last refuge of a scoundrel, but the first refuge as well — that America is not fundamentally good but flawed, but rather fundamentally flawed and only occasionally good. There’s something for John McCain to work with here.”