Saturday, July 10, 2010

Thinkin’ about Lincoln

Republicans love to wrap themselves in Abraham Lincoln’s shadow. Since he was the first Republican president, and the last third-party candidate to become president, it’s understandable that Republicans and Teabaggers want to associate themselves with him. That, and they hope to gain reflected legitimacy.

Sadly for these “Teapublicans”, their candidate in Nevada, Sharron Angle, exposed her ignorance when attempting to compare herself to Lincoln’s history: “Well, you know, it's just like Abraham Lincoln. He lost quite a few but he won the big one…." In point of fact, Lincoln contested eight elections, losing only once.

However, the Teapublican propaganda machine has shifted into overdrive in an attempt to re-write history in an hysterical (but not historical) attempt to make Angle “correct”. They do that by adding in non-elections: They include Lincoln’s failure to win the 1854 Republican vice presidential nomination, even though only party hacks took part. Similarly, they claim he “lost” the 1842 election for US Representative, but it was, in fact, selection by his party that he lost, not the election. They also include Lincoln’s two attempts to become US Senator from Illinois, even though prior to the 17th Amendment, state legislatures selected senators, not the people. Lincoln never stood for election as US Senator. Ordinary voters never cast ballots in any of these races, so they can’t be called “elections”, unless selection of an “American Idol” is also called an election.

The far right is bleating, “but, but, he campaigned for the Senate in 1858 as if it was an election campaign, so that means it was one!” Yes, well, the far right talks as if they understand history, but that doesn’t make that true, either.

The far right is desperate to re-write history so their pathetic extremist candidate appears at least somewhat normal, with at least a smidgeon of intelligence. But their attempt is so blatantly obvious that it makes them appear all the more pathetic—and desperate.

Another thing going on here is that the Teabaggers want the 17th Amendment repealed—which would mean that Senators would be chosen by legislatures again—so it’s in their interest to pretend those selections were “just like” real elections. Taking away the right of the people to vote for their representation in the Senate would seem to be crazy for a “movement” that claims to support liberty and democracy. In truth, it’s part of the Teabaggers’ fascist agenda. Created by the corporate elites through their astroturf organisations, the Teabagger “movement” wants Senators selected by legislatures to make it pretty much impossible for ordinary people to create change or stop the agenda of the corporate elites by electing their own representation in the US Senate.

The right also used this as an excuse to try and smear Keith Olbermann of MSNBC, who exposed Angle’s ignorance. For some reason, they despise him more than anyone else—my guess would be their hatred is because he’s constantly exposing their lies, distortions, smears and run-of-the-mill ignorance. Still, the venom in their rhetoric is unbelievable—all the more so because they’re completely wrong about Lincoln.

Lincoln will continue to be revered for all the right reasons by ordinary people who understand history—and even by those who don't. But if this incident is any indication, the extremist Teapublicans will continue to be mocked for attempting to re-write history, and they will continue to deserve that.

The photo accompanying this post is available for download in high resolution from Wikipedia.

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