Even after winning the presidency, Barack Obama continues to channel Abraham Lincoln. Obama arrived in Washington via the same train route that Lincoln did in 1861. He swore the oath of office on Lincoln’s bible. He chose the same lunch that Lincoln ate on his inauguration day. And with the nation mired in a dizzying array of crises, Obama says that he looks to Lincoln for inspiration. Ron Paul, meanwhile, did not secure the Republican nomination, despite the passion of his supporters. Nevertheless, he, too, continues to use Lincoln for political purposes. On April 15, Paul and hundreds of thousands of limited-government activists took to the streets to rail about the long reach of federal authority. In addition to claiming that income tax is unconstitutional, leaders of these so-called Tea Parties raised the spectre of secession. Rick Perry, the Republican governor of Texas, warned that if pushed, the Lone Star state might decide to leave the Union. And when political commentators heaped scorn on Perry, Paul defended him, noting that, “it is very American to talk about secession”. Perhaps, but Lincoln deserves a more generous 200th birthday present.
We will say nothing here of the 32nd president.