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For Christmas, my wife got me "Team of Rivals," the new book that Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote about Lincoln and his style of governance.  This book has generated considerable thought about the differences between our current Chief Executive and one of our greatest presidents.

One president attended 2 of this nation's top universities, while the other had precious little formal education.  The latter president, however, came to office infinitely better prepared to handle the tasks at hand.  The latter president was much better informed about the critical issues of his time, and he had a vastly better ability to communicate his understanding of those issues.

Lincoln assembled a highly qualified cabinet containing strong-willed men of widely divergent views.  W assembled a team of syncophants, ideologues, and family retainers.  Lincoln tolerated and even encouraged debate in his cabinet.  W demands total fealty to a pre-established party line.  Lincoln had a genuine cabinet, while W has something that roughly resembles a Politburo.

The contrasting temperaments between the 2 men is also striking.  Lincoln was willing to admit that he occasionally made mistakes.  He was willing to reconsider previously-held positions in light of new events.  He was willing to hear divergent points of view.  W appears to hold a "somewhat" different perspective on all 3 of these subjects.

It's also fascinating to consider the differences between the difficulties that the 2 men faced in office.  The current WH constantly claims that it has been presented w/ an unprecedented crisis that calls for it to assume unprecedented powers.  Al Queda, however, has yet to place an army on the south bank of the Potomac.  It has yet to recruit a large percentage of this country's military leadership to its cause.  It has yet to establish a rival captial in Richmond.

As bad as W and his WH have been in absolute terms, they have been infinitely worse in relative terms when they are compared to the founding presidency of their party.

Originally posted to RFK Lives on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 09:04 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I see no valid comparisons except..., (none)
    both have been compared to various simians. Lincoln(Honest ape) while Bush is compared to a chimp.

    "Those are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others." Groucho Marx

    by irate on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 09:08:21 AM PST

    •  but there are some weird similarities (none)
      Many have compared Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, but few have examined the eerie parallels between the great emancipator and George W. Bush.  Consider:

      Lincoln was born in a cabin made of logs--basically short sections of trees.

      Bush is about as bright as a stump--a short section of a tree.

      At ten years old, Lincoln's whole world changed when his mother died.

      At ten years old, Bush's whole world stopped changing when his curiosity died.

      Despite having only a few months of formal schooling, Lincoln acquired an impressive education.

      Despite having attended two ivy-league universities George Bush acquired only a few months of education.

      While working for a man named Horus Fother, mucking swampy farmland, future president Lincoln was struck by depression, making him the saddest of Fother's muckers.

      While lying to the American people, and turning the middle East into a swamp of chaos and corruption, George Bush became the saddest mother-fucker ever to be president.

      The truth cares not for its parents.

      by thalio on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 03:48:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Recommended. (none)

    "There is a time for compromise, and it is called 'Later'!"

    by LeftyLimblog on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 09:19:46 AM PST

  •  The Comparison is Blasphamous. (none)
    Bush: Read My Lips= No Nation Building... Sir you have Betrayed the Trust of the American people.

    Ask the Katrina Victims how they feel about the Presidents nation building skills.

    inspire change...don't back down

    by missliberties on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 09:24:30 AM PST

  •  W + Lincoln Joke my Dad told me (none)
    W can't sleep, so he decides to pace the halls to do some thinking.  As he walks, he looks at the portraits of those who have held the Predidential post before him.  He sees George Washington and says "Hey! I need help.  I can't sleep. Do you have any advice for me?" GW says "Always tell the truth."  He shakes it off and keeps going, getting to Thomas Jefferson and asks the portrait "Do you have any advice?"  TJ replies "Remember the Constitution.  ALways!"  Not finding what he seeks, he moves on to the bearded gent in the stovepipe hat and pleads "Please Mr. Lincoln, have you any advice for me?" Lincoln says "Go to the theater!"
  •  Bush media PR whores in damage control spin mode (none)
    by trying hard now to excuse/mitigate seriousness of Bush unconstitutional breach of American civil rights and unwarranted secret spying on untold numbers of Americans.

    They are doing it by drawing parallels between Bush's behavior and past examples of actions that great Presidents (Adams, Madison, Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt were persons named in a major newspaper commentary piece [probably piece-work propaganda done by someone on the Bush-repug payroll] read today on CSPAN Washington Journal) had done in during wartime and authentic (not self-serving/produced or contrived) national emergency

    We can probably expect to see more of this kind of thing from the Bushie apologists in the coming days and weeks.  

  •  Was really distressed (4.00)
    about the Bushies talking about being from the "Party of Lincoln" when they have done nothing but disgrace the party. Talked about it a little in this diary.

    "...on Earth, peace toward men of goodwill" - A multitude of the heavenly host

    by SisTwo on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 11:03:19 AM PST

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