You can’t really blame Al Gore for not using footnotes in his new book, “The Assault on Reason.” It’s a sprawling, untidy blast of indignation, and annotating it with footnotes would be like trying to slip rubber bands around a puddle of quicksilver. Still, I’d love to know where he found the scary quote from Abraham Lincoln that he uses on page 88.
In a chapter entitled “The Politics of Wealth,” Gore argues that the ancient threat to democracy posed by rich people run amok has finally been realized under the man who beat him in the 2000 presidential race. Even Lincoln, Gore says, saw the age of Bush coming in 1864: “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”
The quote is a favorite of liberal bloggers, which is probably how Gore came across it. And as a description of how many on the left see the country seven years into their Bush nightmare, it’s pretty much perfect.
Too perfect, in fact. If you’re familiar with Lincoln’s distinctive way of expressing himself, you’ll hear the false notes the passage strikes. For one thing, Lincoln just wasn’t the “trembling” kind — or if he was, he kept his trembling to himself. Words such as “enthroned” and “aggregated” are a bit too fancy for his plain, unclotted prose, and the phrase “money power” suggests a conspiratorial turn of mind that would have been foreign to him. Indeed, these words don’t show up anywhere else in “The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln” (which, thanks to Gore’s Internet, are now searchable at http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/).
Make sure to read it all, as author Andrew Ferguson digs into why this popular quote used by Nutroots blogs has been falsely attributed to Lincoln.
As famed Lincoln biogapher, David Donald, once wrote, it’s been important since Lincoln’s death for public figures to “get right with Lincoln” even if that means borrowing our 16th president for your pet causes. As Ferguson points out, Gore isn’t the only one to fall for a phony Lincolnism. Nowadays, Lincoln is used by just about everyone to prove a point. Gays like to argue that Lincoln was gay. Depressives claim that he also suffered from melancholy. Supporters of the war in Iraq remind us of how bleak the possibilities of victory in the Civil War looked at key moments. Some libertarians have portrayed Lincoln as the origin of the big state government that denied citizens their rights. Yet such willingness to assume that Lincoln said what you wanted him to have said betrays more about the author than about Lincoln himself.
And isn’t there something, well, just icky about Dishonest Al using a quote by Honest Abe?
We have a good group of frequent commenters to this blog, and we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well – well enough, I think, to be able to make suggestions as to who would make a good cabinet member in a future Republican administration. Like who could be Sec. of Defense? Etc etc. I think an adminstration jam packed with some of the comemnters here would totally rock.
I had a lot of fun with this a couple of years ago at a political message board I frequent, and I think we could here as well.
Ok, and the nominees are …… ?
Oh, BTW, you’ve probably already noticed that I’ve added back the ‘recent posts’ section, this time to the left column of the blog, under the ad section. I didn’t get any emails from anyone saying they missed it, but I missed it, so I decided to put it back It’s much easier to be able to quickly scan the recent posts than have to constantly scroll down to find posts you want to come back to, especially if something is rather longish.
Holsinger has come under fire from gay rights groups for voting to expel a lesbian pastor from the United Methodist Church.
Also, Holsinger helped found a Methodist congregation that, according to gay rights activists, believes homosexuality is a matter of choice and can be “cured.”
As president of the Methodist Church’s national Judicial Council, Holsinger voted last year to support a pastor who blocked a gay man from joining a congregation. In 2004, he voted to expel a lesbian from the clergy. The majority of the panel voted to keep the lesbian associate pastor in place, citing questions about whether she had openly declared her homosexuality, but Holsinger dissented.
As for the congregation Holsinger helped establish, Hope Springs Community Church, the Rev. David Calhoun told the Lexington Herald-Leader last week that the Lexington church helps some gay members to “walk out of that lifestyle.”
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which is opposing the nomination along with the Human Rights Campaign and other local and national groups, calls such a practice “nothing short of torture” for gays.
This is an attack not only on Holsinger but also on the U.S. Constitution. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion, which means that the government has no business dictating its moral preferences to the United Methodist Church. That same First Amendment protects all congregants who find the Hope Springs approach objectionable. They are free to follow their conscience, or to find another congregation, denomination or religion.
… and then quips:
Finally, take note of that quote, which comes from a statement by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, that so-called reparative therapy is “nothing short of torture.” This may shed light on some of the hysterical claims about the treatment of terrorists at Guantanamo. After all, if voluntary counseling is “torture,” then pretty much everything is.
I personally think having to listen to hypocrites who want special rights while demanding the rights of others be taken away from them (as is the case here) is agonizing and should be listed as a form of torture in the Geneva Conventions. Anyone with me?
MONTGOMERY, Alabama (AP) — Simmering tensions in the Alabama Senate boiled over Thursday when a Republican lawmaker punched a Democratic colleague in the head before they were pulled apart.
Republican Sen. Charles Bishop said Democratic Sen. Lowell Barron called him a “son of a [expletive].”
“I responded to his comment with my right hand,” Bishop said. Alabama Public Television tape captured the punch. (Watch the punch being thrown, senator’s explanation )
Barron denied saying that to Bishop. He said the Jasper senator used an expletive to him and he was trying to get away when he was hit by Bishop on the side of the head near an ear. He said he had not decided if he would file charges.
“I would like to finish today in a productive manner. I will evaluate the situation tomorrow on what I may do,” Barron said.
After the punch, Barron went into a closed-door meeting with other Democrats. Sen. Vivian Figures went into the meeting carrying first aid supplies, but she said he was not hurt.
Bishop said he regretted throwing the punch because “that’s not the way grown men solve their problems,” but added that he would not immediately apologize to Barron.
Here’s the video. Make sure to watch the whole thing as Bishop explains why he got mad. He sounds a little like Zell Miller taking on Chris Matthews during the 2004 Republican National Convention – LOL: