Friday, November 23, 2012

The Poet President & The Radical

Vonnegut called him our Poet President. To me, he is mankind's greatest achievement after Jesus Christ. I refer, of course, to Abraham Lincoln, our 16th President. Everyone who came after him would agree he's a tough act to follow. Yet now more than ever, the people in our federal and state legislatures would do well to follow his lead. Since it's pretty obvious that few of them actually read books, I'd recommend they take a break between fundraising dinners to see Speilberg's Lincoln, which was released last week. I'd also recommend it to the numerous lever pullers and partisans, left and right, who think they know everything. They might learn they don't.

Spielberg's Lincoln is supposed to be based on Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals. Her title refers to Lincoln's cabinet, most of whose members considered his election a colossal mistake. Some of them, like Secretary of War Stanton, snubbed him as a lawyer many years before, laughing at his tattered clothing. They called him an ape, a gorilla. But these same cabinet members slowly realized that Lincoln was just the man our fractured country needed. When our Poet President was cut down by a gunshot wound, it is Stanton who announced, "Now he belongs to the ages."

Even as President, Lincoln was snubbed. He once paid a late-night visit to General George McClellan, commander of the Army of the Potomac, to discuss strategy. McClellan was out, so Lincoln waited, stovepipe hat in hand. When McClellan returned home, Lincoln waited another half hour until a porter came to tell him that the General had retired for the evening.

Lincoln took no disciplinary action. He was used to being snubbed. His was a life of hardship, what he himself would call the "short and simple annals of the poor." In his youth, he lost his mother and sister to illness. As a young man, his first love died as a result of illness as well, nearly driving him to suicide. And as a father, he saw two sons die.

In the movie, you see little of Lincoln's interesting and evolving relationship with his cabinet. You only see glimpses of the deep depressions he often suffered. You see little of the abuse he endured from his mentally unstable wife, who did love him. What you do see in detail is his relationship with a divided House. Just the year before, its members refused to adopt a Constitutional Amendment to abolish slavery. But Lincoln considered that crucial, and he wanted bi-partisan support.

The House's biggest proponent for abolition of slavery was Thaddeus Stevens, a Pennsylvanian from Lancaster. He was an unbending radical, a man ahead of his times. It is Stevens who, here in Pennsylvania, successfully defended a law providing for public education when it was certain to fail. It is Stevens who believed our differences are a cause for celebration, not intolerance.

But Stevens, like most draped in self-righteousness, was also very divisive. Lincoln was worried that this great orator might inflame some House Democrats who would otherwise support abolition.

Lincoln and Stevens discuss this, at least in the movie. Stevens assures Lincoln that a compass will always point true north. Lincoln agrees but tells Stevens that a compass won't tell you about the swamps between you and north.

If you don't avoid the swamps, what's the use of knowing true north, asks the President.

Stevens took Lincoln's warning to heart and moderated his commentary in the House debate that followed, to the chagrin of Democrats attempting to bait him.

Lincoln eventually got his bi-partisan support. The House adopted a Constitutional Amendment to abolish slavery. Black men are free.

Because it's not enough to know true north.

This is a lesson that both President Obama and House Republicans should take to heart. It's a lesson for us all.

158 comments:

Bill Coker said...

Hear, Hear!! Once again, Bernie, you've hit the nail on the head. Bipartianship doesn't exist any more. With just a little, we could make some headway on some major problems (to say the least) like the economy, taxes, the wars as they exist, etc.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thanks, Bill. I hope they take the time to see the movie. Wish I had seen the original.

Anonymous said...

Some of your best writing to date, Bernie.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thank you. It's easy to write about Lincoln.

Anonymous said...

Good luck getting the teabaggers to accept that. They are already complaing their canididates aren't "right-wing" enough.
Anyone say,"Prsident Clinton 2017?"

Bernie O'Hare said...

You see, there's the problem. You use a word, "tea baggers," that just inflames tea partiers. From reading this blog, you know that. You are just as bad. Are you going to get to true north by inflaming everyone? There are extremes on both sides, and both sides are unwilling to recognize they are part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Problenm is, if one lives by the teabag, they must be willing to die by the teabag.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Comments like yours show we are a nation divided.

Mark Baker said...

BO,

You make an excellent point. Anon cowards 12:54 and 1:49 prove you right.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Lincoln's actions and the results of those actions are key in the fall of this country over the last century or so. With Lincoln came the beginning of political correctness. Enough said.

Anonymous said...

Worth remembering that Lincoln' s bipartisan victory was accomplished without the states of the Confederacy, duh, and that today those states and the states which arose from territories supporting slavery are the Red states. Even a century later they had to be forced to provide civil rights, voting rights and equal rights to their people. Getting the GOP, which is dominated by the these states, to compromise is no easy matter. State's rights, small government, opposition to federal "intrusion" etc all driven from our inception by the desire to maintain slavery

Anonymous said...

Red states the problem then. Red states the problem now.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Keep telling yourself that.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

I have yet to see the movie, but unfortunately, due to recent trends I am suspect about anything coming out of Hollywood. I do agree with your assessment of Lincoln's greatness. He directed the nation to face the major issues of the day and followed through to the necessary conclusions.

Never forget that he was the first Republican president and that the Republican Party had its roots in the Abolitionist movement.

Scott Armstrong

Bernie O'Hare said...

I recommend the movie to you, Scott. As the nation's first Republican President, Lincoln practiced the seemingly lost art of compromise.

The Republican party was made up of several movements and parties, most notably the whig party. Lincoln himself was a whig, not an abolitionist.

Anonymous said...

Nonetheless, the facts are what they are. Lincoln ran as a Republican, accepting the party platform, and took up the just cause of the Abolitionists as President.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Sorry to have to fill you in on this, but there has been plenty of bi-partisanship over the last 40 years.

Bridges to nowhere in Alaska for R's, billions to the global warming D crowd, corporate bailouts supported by both parties, our current military engagements, are among the many successful bi-partisan efforts.

We are over 16 trillion in debt, soon to be 20 trillion, because of the wonderous concept of bi-partisanship.

Lincoln was great, slavery was bad. Who doesn't get that except a few crazies? To declare that all states rights issues are "driven from our inception by the desire to maintain slavery" is bullshit.

The 13th amendment was, and is, a good thing.

So is the 10th, which the judges and bi-partisans will tell you doesn't exist. Or, on a more generous day, will tell you it's there, but the words really don't mean what they say.

-Clem

Bernie O'Hare said...

" there has been plenty of bi-partisanship over the last 40 years."

There has not been much of it in the last 12 years. When a R majority leaders announces, on the day after a Democrat President is elected, that his sole goal is to obstruct everything resented to ensure his defeat, it's hard to call that bipartisanship. When a Democratic Speaker rams an unpopular medical insurance bill through the house, with absolutely no support among Republicans, it's hard to call that bipartisanship.

Insofar as the 10th amendment is concerned, should that mean that the feds should not be able to pick up a suspected terrorist without requesting permission from the states first? Does that mean that the federal government is powerless to adopt any environmental regulations?

You argue forcefully for conservatism, but is an ideological approach the correct answer in every situation? Even if it is, do you get there by steamrolling over opponents to win a battle, only to later find you've lost the war?

I suspect you've read a lot about Lincoln and the Civil War. If you have not done so, try to see the movie.

Anonymous said...

The current day republicans are now to a large extent yesterday's southern democrates. ( all hail to Nixons brilliant "southern stratergy" and a tip of the cap to H's Willey Horton.)
Perhaps Scott has forgotten this part?

Anonymous said...

Yo Clem, assuming you read anything other than right-wing blogs, try:
BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM
by the great American historian James McPherson.

Scott, the early Republicans, and Lincoln himself, had a complicated and complex relationship with the abolitionist movement. Of course complexities don't translate well into partisan polemics.

Anonymous said...

Lincoln cause was the Union Mr Armstrong.
The Union.

Anonymous said...

Compromise. Bernie, where do you define compromise when ones goal is shrinking the size of the federal government

I am in my fifties and have seen government steadily grow during my life. How do we compromise and still REDUCE federal government largess. Seems to me compromise has only been -at best- the slowing the growth; what we need is reversing the growth of government. A fair compromise at the minimum should be zero growth and likelihood of reduction in the future.

How many federal programs have been eliminated, sharply curtailed in any significant manner?

Anonymous said...

BIG VS SMALL is a bullshit conundrum.

Untill the discussion becomes EFFECTIVE VS INEFFECTIVE it's all ideologically driven hog-wash.

Anonymous said...

Bipartisanship??????
They fought the Civil War for Christ sake. The bloodiest war in American history!!!!!!!!!!

Bipartisanship?????
What the f#%*, bipartisanship????????

Anonymous said...

Not all "states rights" Clem. Your right again.

Just the overwhelming majority.

Anonymous said...

........ then there was the little matter of failed Reconstruction, with its 100 years or terror and lynching by the Southern Democrates ( today's core GOP constitutency ).

But I suspect your readers on the right have read all about that. No?

Anonymous said...

In the end, Lincoln had to use bribes of jobs and money to get his votes. Now Rublicans come from Gerrymandered districts. They get their bribe money from big banks, big pharma, and health insurance companies to name a few.
They worry more about a threat from the tea party candidate running in a primary and therefore move further right than to center..Until the system changes it,'s hopeless. Obama, unlike Lincoln has no horses to trade that they can't get elsewhere. Fat chance of them compromising..They shouldn't even be in a position to obstruct. If they wouldn't have gerrymandered the seats after the last election and the boundaries were the same , it would be a Democratic House right now

Anonymous said...

Okay Bernie. I guess Red States were not the problem then????

Anonymous said...

Mississippi, the Tea Party heaven. I'm moving to this Promised Land as soon as I can. Goodbye "trough feeding" unions and lying socialists. I'm heading for greener pastures.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I don't get the feeling that Clem is a big reader of Civil War histories. Am I missing something?
I must be missing something.
I often do.

Anonymous said...

Abe finally shit canned the grossly ineffectual McCullan. He was Not one to eat shit.

Anonymous said...

@7:53
And there you have it BOH. These are the people you've thrown in with.

Anonymous said...

"should that mean that the feds should not be able to pick up a suspected terrorist without requesting permission from the states first?"

Of course not. Common defense, necessary and proper clause, plenty of constitutional basis.

"Does that mean that the federal government is powerless to adopt any environmental regulations?"

My view is that the framers would have believed this an overreach. Enviro regs are not uniform and disparate in impact on specific states and industries, (something, btw, the confederate constitution was much more careful to guard against).

Doesn't matter what I think. Supreme Courts have bastardized the commerce clause to such an extent that it can be used to justify almost any Federal infringement. Judges playing the Kevin Bacon game.

"In the end, Lincoln had to use bribes of jobs and money to get his votes."

And, Obama buys votes with his promises of free health care and to soak the rich and "spread the wealth around".

Very Lincoln like, indeed.

Ya learn something new every day reading this blog. Only, we already knew it...

-Clem

Anonymous said...

Would that be the same Supreme Court that gave us the idiot Commander and Chief George W Bush?
Now there was a guy who was Lincoln like.

Anonymous said...

Anon Cowards,

The Union's cause was the abolition of slavery and preservation of the union. The newly created Republican Party believed these were causes worth fighting for.

Today's Republicans are united by the shared philosophy of small government and individual liberty. To imply there is a racist motivation to this cause is simply a slander.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Today's Relublicans are the secessionist southern Democrats of yore at their base. You need to brush up on your history old boy.
Your idealogical antecedents are the folks in the heart of Dixie my man, not the Party of Lincoln.
Nixon delivered you and your type to the good ' southern boys----- with a little help from Willie Horton. Not that any of that was racist. Certainly not.
After Johnson and the Civil Rights Movement the GOP had to install speed- bumps to flow down the flood of good 'ol Southern boy dens flooding to the modern democratic party.
Denial is a fucking mighty wind. Look out, here comes a gust now.
Duck.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, flooding to the modern Republican party.

Your the party of the Stars 'n Bars now Armstrong.Wake up and smell the coffee your HOP done brewed for itself.

And brush up on your history regarding the abolitionists,the Unionests and the seminal republican party. You would appear to be stuck in yet another of your partisan oversimplifications. No surprise there.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have deleted several anonymous comments from Mezzacappa's Blog mentor. He is a coward who delights in anonymous personal attacks at Clem, Scott and numerous others.

He should practice being a human being. Anybody who spends his days cyberstaking their long enemy list richly deserves some attention from the authorities.

Anonymous said...

GOP not HOP. My bad. I'm a dummy too!

Anonymous said...

So Clem, if I shit in the stream as it runs thru my farm, is that ok? II mean it is my land.

Anonymous said...

Even W was better then this golf and vacation loving deadbeat Obama. His damage to our country's economy will be felt for decades.

Anonymous said...

Yo Scott who is Armstrong. How did your new Republican Party do thru that hundred years of failed Reconstruction and Jim Crow the fella referred to earlier?
Once the great Lincoln was killed did your party continue to stay the course?
I know, just a retorical question.
And how about those " individual rights", womens reproductive rights, the freedom for two loving consensual adults to marry. The right for the state to sanction capital punishment. You really want to give that right to the GOVERMENT dude.( but not the right to grow a couple of hemp plants, right?) Ah yes, the glorious Watr on Drugs, another GOP / Nixon winner? Who is winning that war Armstrong? How's that work with your small GOVERMENT?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"In the end, Lincoln had to use bribes of jobs and money to get his votes."

Although he did nothing illegal. He was a better politician than that, and he was a politician in addition to being a statesman.

Anonymous said...

W will go down in history as a very good, perhaps great, president. This current guy is a loser.
W was a man of decisive leadership, vision and moral courage.

Anonymous said...

Where does that whiner Armstrong get off calling anybody a coward. He a big mouth and a big victim. A big mouth doesn't make you brave.
HooRa !

Dave Houser said...

Bernie..thanks for visiting this movie for comment. Saw it this week and was truly impressed. Just a snap shot of Abe's life and American history but WOW..what a look see it is. An Academy Award winner for sure. Just magnificent cinema. Restores and renews my pride in America and what the political system can accomplish thru the sheer will of a great person.

Bernie O'Hare said...

4:43, Being willing to accept responsibility for his words is what makes Scott brave. People like you, who are unwilling to do so, and who use anonymity to launch personal attacks, are cowards.

In the foxhole, I'd certainly prefer Scott at my side to a coward like you. Now drop the personal attacks and go pursue the next victims on your enemy list for cyberstalking.

Anonymous said...

He most likely did some illegal shit Burnies. I'm a fan, but he did some funky shit. It doesn't do any good to whitewash stuff. Even if we agree that maybe it had to be done. Right? This ain't Fox News.
No doubt a giant of leader.....and played by a great actor, say?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I've read about 20 or 30 biographies of the guy. Like many of us, he did plenty of illegal things in his youth, even to the point of agreeing to a duel with broadswords, of all things. (The duel never occurred).

He was also a crafty politician.

But there's just no evidence to support the accusation that he ever engaged in outright bribery. That's the accusation, not "funky shit." And it's nonsense.

Anonymous said...

No not bribery---- more like suspension of habious corpus corpus dudinsky

Anonymous said...

There were some - ahem- unfortunate arrests. Surely you've read about them BOH?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Name caller, The accusation was that Lincoln engaged in bribery, not his exercise of the war powers to suspend habeas corpus. Whether that was legal is something Lincoln himself did not know.

Anonymous said...

Well BOH , what was the preponderance of opinion in the Lincoln bio's you have read about habeaus corpus?
My reading leads me to beleive Lincoln felt he had to make arrests, knew damn they were not legal , and finally listened to cooler heads and reversed himself.
No way your many bios read agreed all was
copacetic.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Lincoln suspended habeas corpus to keep the rest of the laws in place. As he himself argued, "Are all the laws but one to go unexecuted, and the government itself go to pieces, lest that one be violated?"

That argument, and Lincoln's exact words, were eventually adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, you are proving yourself as a true scholar with this posting. Certainly has far more gravitas than crazy TM and Barron von Footinmouth. But even those nut jobs deserve your elequent prose!

Anonymous said...

Lincoln engaged in a sort of "insider trading" on property deals using information he gained and influence he wielded as a railroad lawyer about the eventual route of the Transcontinental Railroad. His son capitalized as well.

Lincoln also supported states' rights in his first campaign, when he mistakenly thought it might help him politically. He had different speeches for different areas, depending on sensitivities regarding slavery.

He was a lousy politician before he was a great politician before he was a lousy leader before he was a great leader. His Gettysburg Address still gives chills. His ordering of the placement of the first grave in Arlington at the back stoop of Lee's house is so powerful when you see it. He remains one of the most fascinating figures in all history.

More problematic for Republicans was the historical loss of northeast Catholic voters after the party Of Lincoln-type former Whigs welcomed back prodigal son Millard Fillmore and his rabidly anti-Catholic Know-Nothings. There are other factors, of course, but Republicans wrote of the very large Catholic vote a long time ago.

Guy Williams said...

What I liked about Lincoln was that he was a plain and simple man with personality flaws who despite many family problems went on to preserve the union and change the course of american history.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Guy, he was anything but simple.

Anonymous said...

My 9 yr old loves history and and probably knows more about American history than the average adult. We are near the Carmike at the Promenade and my go to see the movie. I suspect it is PG13 because of violence of war. Any other reservations from those who saw it?

Bernie O'Hare said...

There is less gore in this movie than in your average video game. My only caution is that a 9 yo might night understand some of Lincoln's arguments. He will understand his humor.

Anonymous said...

BOH ,
I could be wrong, but I think there is more than just one cranky reader who is running out of patience with the rather crude and loud rantings of Mr Armstrong and Mr Clem.
These guys may be entertaining, they may be your pals, but they sure are not lovable chaps to many of us. Esp true for those of us of the fairer sex.
As for the harping on the Anon cowards---- isn't "Clem" anon?
I mean, you seem to know him, but to the rest of us he's just another anon.
Have a nice weekend.
Ms Anon

Bernie O'Hare said...

Mrs Blog Mentor,

Clem does not use his anonymity to make personal attacks He uses it to argue forcefully, and in a manner that offends your supposed ideology. So you respond with personal attacks and he retaliates. I have no problem with that.

If the arguments made by Clem and Armstrong offend you, you can express your disagreement without getting personal. Is that so hard?

These ad hominems are the last refuge of someone who has no argument. Is that what you are saying?

And Mr. Blog Mentor, aside from trolls like you, most people can respond to argument without getting personal. Now drop the personal attacks and go pursue the next victims on your enemy list for cyberstalking.

Anonymous said...

Bh, thanks for the feedback on the moviw
After an aftwrnoon of hockey, I hope he stays awake.

Bernie O'Hare said...

If you can, let us know if he likes the movie, and if he understands it. I'm curious.

Anonymous said...

It's not their arguments it's their style. I occasionally agree with some of their analysis if not their simple remedies.
They are just such know -it-all blowhards in their presentations. They insult virtually everyone that doesnt think like they do. THAT'S not a personal attack style? Like really?

Anonymous said...

The Civil War was fought to preserve the Union,or as framed at the timne, the nation. The slave issue came into play for the North once hostilities started.

Many Northeners didnot fight to free slaves but to save the Union.

Scott is right that the Republicn Party was the Party of freedom for the slaves, thus creating the solid Democratic south.

However, after the mid-sixites civil right legislation pushed by Democrats, Nixon effectively created the "Southern Strategy", that has ensured a solid south for the Republicans for the last fifty years.

To say the strategy of "States Rights" doesn't have its roots in the old slavery issue is to be blind to reality.

The new Tea boys, wish the nation could be the 1950's they remember in their rosse colored worldview. Of course the fifties weren't so great if you were not a white male.

Their Party is doomed because of all the Scott Armstrongs out there who want to go to a period in history that never really exisited and never will.

Evolve or die, goes for people and nations too!

Bernie O'Hare said...

"They are just such know -it-all blowhards in their presentations."

Mrs. Blog Mentor,

Counter them with arguments, not personal attacks, unless you are willing to accept responsibility for what you write.

If you cannot follow this simple rule, expect deletion.

Thus post is about the importance of compromise. What really bothers you about Clem and Armstrong is not their style, but their substance. You might delude yourself, but not me.

I have argued with them both, and they are tough, but logical. Try that instead of the personal attacks. Or are you here just to attack people?

Anonymous said...

There are some racists in the Democratic party to be sure.
By no stretch are all people in the Republican party racist. By no stretch.
But most racists do gravitate toward the GOP since the sixties, simple fact.
And..... the GOP, not to mention the Tea Party, is an awfully white bunch.
What percentage of white males went GOP this election?

Anonymous said...

" Trough feeders"? That's not a personal attack?????? Again and again, " trough feeders"? Calling Dems liars????? Or saying vertically a Dems stupid????
This isn't an attack style???? It certainly isn't what Lincoln used to find common ground with the opposition. I see ABSOLUTELY NO ATTEMPT at finding common ground from these fellas. I fall to see the great logic in hecktering and shrill pontificating.

Bernie O'Hare said...

No that is not a personal attack. It is generic, directed at a class. It is one thing to say all Rs are uncaring racists. It is quite another to say that Scott Armstrong or Clem is an uncaring racist. I will allow even that, but you have to identify yourself if you want to get personal.

Of course, you should be intelligent enough to know this. This is the last comment I will permit abut my comment policy on this thread. The subject is Lincoln, and I will not permit trolls to hijack an otherwise good discussion.

Anonymous said...

Did someone say all R's are uncaring racists?

If they did, I, as a life long Dem, want to be real clear in saying that---that person too, is a simple minded asshole.

No doubt --- there are shrill loud mouths on both sides. This Dems would love to begin to see some solutions built on common ground discussed on this site.

God bless Mr Lincoln and those who share his beliefs. Let the coalition building begin. Right here. Right now.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

The slander that Republicans are racists is Big Lie propaganda perpetrated by Democrat activists facilitated through their media allies.
Repeat the outrageous lie so often people will believe there must be some truth to it.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

My life sucks!!!

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2012/11/allentown_mayor_ed_pawlowski_c_1.html#incart_hbx

Bernie O'Hare said...

Posts that stray from the topic will be deleted. That includes comments questioning my deletions. No habeas corpus here.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I went to the "CARMIKE" to see the movie. I thouroughly enjoyed the movie as did my wife. Spielberg did an excellent job in directing this historical masterpiece and I would recommend it for anyone and any age.

Anonymous said...

None has claimed Republicans are racisits but it is fact that the modern Republican party is built on the new coaltiion formed in the1960's of old Southern Democrats, old money and Northern Industrialists.

That is as much a fact as the lie that is the so-called Big Lie Propaganda that exists only in the mind of the right-winged paranoid.

As one tea person told me, in the entire world only Fox News is exposing the truth. Every other news source is covering for Obama.

That in and of itself pretty much sums it up.

Dark Ages here we come again, if Christ didn't tell me it ain't true!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the western republican ranchers( I'll graze my cattle where I damn well please, federal land or not. And mining interests ( I'll strip mine where I damn well please ........)

Anyway---- don't confuse this crowd with the facts. It gets in the way of their ideological daydreams.

Anonymous said...

Scott
Republicans may believe in small government and individual liberty as it affects them (reproductive rights and drug laws being prime examples of their big government tendencies) but their nationwide movement to depress the voting of traditional democratic votin blocs through use of voter ID laws and other voter suppression methods such as changing voting hours, changing voting sites and generally limiting rather than expanding owning part of this is a travesty not worthy of Lincoln.
Anonymous 430 W and decisive leadership vision and moral courage? Did you not see the video of him in a great school not knowing what the F to do when he was told that the twin towers were hit?

639 I agree with everything you say but I don't think it's fair to say that the Civil War was simply fought to preserve the union as the union was in jeopardy as the South seceded in anticipation that Lincolns victory would mean the end of slavery or at least the advance of abolitionism
742 Scott do you not see racism in today's Republican (tea) Party to a greater degree than that of the Democratic Party of today or even the Republican Party of 20 years ago?

Anonymous said...

WAIT A MINUTE 10:04pm!

Are you saying there should be no restrictions as to eligibility? Must not our voters be proven to be alive, actual citizens of the territory they wish to effect? If not, let's encourage Canadians to cross over the border and partake.

Maybe, let's open this all up to 10 year olds. Actually, anyone who is capable of pushing a finger on an image.

Anonymous said...

Voter fraud is overwhelmingly a ploy to limit the poor and the black and brown from voting.10:22 you don't give a shit about democracy, just a republican advantage.

Anonymous said...

I don't see any racism in the republican party, just slander from the liberal mainstream media and their democratic handlers.

AKA the Big Lie!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Here we go. You assume that a person who thinks voters should be required to ID themselves have a base motive. In the last presidential election, there were some Phila. districts that had a 95-100% turnout. I just don't believe that's true. I think some people were allowed to vote for others. The evidence is also very clear that judges of elections in Philly were allowing campaigning inside the polling place, one of which had a gigantic Obama mural. So although I've opposed Voter ID in the past, I've seen enough evidence to convince me it's now necessary. And it's because I do give a shit about democracy.

Anonymous said...

Wrong, 10:30.

Efforts to reduce voter fraud are to ensure YOUR vote, and mine, are not diminished by ANYONE who should not be voting in the first place.

Race has NOTHING to do with following rules and playing fairly.
A cheater is a cheater, plain and simple.




Anonymous said...

I've been living in the same house, voting at the same polling place, for 42 years now. All the poll workers are aquatinces if not friends. Why do I suddenly need a fuckin ID.
You are the party of limited gov and freedom?
Fuck you.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I was with you, but how do you explain a turnout of 95%-100% at some Philly precincts? That's just unbelievable. And let's drop the epithets.

Anonymous said...

They ADMITTED they had a base motive right here in our state. ADDMITTED it.

Before, in my lifetime, it was poll taxes and literacy tests.

Now this bullshit! Voter suppression pure and simple. Everyone with a gov ID. This from the gang that is against big gov intrusion.

Such bullshit. Outrageous.

Anonymous said...

10:47 -

Our world has changed. Lying and cheating, deception, etc. is now common. It's either seen as OK, or overlooked, because we don't want to get involved. That's dangerous.

We NEED certain standards and controls. I still stop at red traffic lights, even if no one is looking. How about you?

Bernie O'Hare said...

10:54, One partisan state House leader admitted a base motive. I agree. His goal is obviously to depress turnout. But how do you explain that 95-100% turnout n some Philly precincts? If some people were voting twice or three times, as I suspect, wouldn't voter ID curtail that? Can you think of a better solution?

Anonymous said...

The Oboma Painting at a polling place is wrong. No two ways about it. One silly wanna be black panther dude is a bad/ sad joke. Get him the hell out of there.

What the hell does any of this have to do with GOVERMENT ID only so I can have the freedom to vote. Why not fingerprints?

This is ment to LIMIT---- not PROTECT. Plain and simple. And you wonder why black folks don't trust you?

Anonymous said...

I don't need no ID to have me stop at a red light. And I don't need you watching me either.

Don't you want a poll tax or literacy test anymore?

You think blacks are stupid or just don't have any memory?

Bernie O'Hare said...

OK, We agree that the Obama mural at a polling precinct is wrong. Does that justify a voter ID requirement No. Is that an indication that some local elections officials (and judges of elections are elected) are acting in a partisan manner? You betcha'. How does a precinct have a 95-100% unless some people are voting twice or more, with the complicity of elections officials? Wouldn't Voter ID curb that kind of abuse? Can you think of a better answer?

Anonymous said...

The ID thing is no more intrusive a "need" than when one wants to purchase cigarettes, booze, and drive a car.

This IS for protection!

Those eligible and qualified have nothing to fear. Simply open your wallet, take out the document you already have in there.

Not in there? Go home and get it, or, sorry we can't help you.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I don't need no ID to have me stop at a red light. And I don't need you watching me either."

But some people do. That's why, with increasing regularity, cameras are being placed at red lights.

Anonymous said...

As usual the argument about voter id ignores the obvious voting bloc it is directed at. But that's not racism. Guess what it backfired. It spurred more people to vote

If Republicans really cared they would spend the money to set up a system to make it easy to get the IDs. Clearly that it is not what happened in PA as anyone who took the time to read the opinions and the often changing rules and regulations from the State would know.

Anonymous said...

A post about Lincoln ----- discussion about suppressing the franchise ---- and your concerned about four letter words?

Good men died to get the right that republicans want to supress, as they have admitted here and Ohio and of course in Florida, the center for voter suppression.
Or have you forgotten?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Not in there? Go home and get it, or, sorry we can't help you."

Or how about filling out a provisional ballot?

Here's what I think might make everyone happy, and improve democracy at the same time. Keep the Voter ID requirement. But add early voting. That takes away the argument that Rs are trying to depress turnout.

This is called compromise. I think Lincoln would have gone for it.

Anonymous said...

It is offensive to assume fraud based on 95% turnout

Bernie O'Hare said...

" and your concerned about four letter words?"

Yes. I think you can make your points well without resorting to them. They detract from you and your argument. I'm no saint and when i use them, I am subject to the same criticism.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"It is offensive to assume fraud based on 95% turnout"

It's not offensive. It's likely, in my view. But I have not assumed it. I think it merits an investigation that will go nowhere bc the wagons will circle. That's why I'd argue now for voter ID AND early voting.

Anonymous said...

Bernie
Where does your info about 95-100% turnout come from? Couldn't find it

Anonymous said...

Don't forget some of those Alabama and Mississippi Republican precincts that had around 90-95% voter turnout, guess how the precincts went?

Anonymous said...

Yes or No . . .

Should all voters be proven to be breathing United States citizens who are exercising their right to vote only ONE time?

I say, YES! How 'bout you?

Anonymous said...

What kind of a fool wants to compair my sacred right to vote to buying cigs and alcohol ?

Fought and died IN MY LIFETIME you ass. Good peoples. Real American heroes you fool.

Suddenly we need ef ""official GOVERMENT ID's "
now???

Tell me again about how you republicans are the party of freedom from goverment intrusion.
Tell me again please.

Bernie O'Hare said...

1) In 13 Philadelphia wards, Obama received 99 percent of the vote or more.

2) In 20 Philly wards, turnout was 97% or greater.

3) In 75 Philly precincts, Republican poll watchers were tossed, and an emergency court order had to be obtained.

http://articles.philly.com/2012-11-08/news/34995261_1_voter-turnout-president-obama-gop-voters

http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2012/11/16/election-dead-people-vote-philadelphia/

Anonymous said...

Sacred right to vote?

By what standard? Do you have the same sacred right to vote in Iran? If not, why not?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Don't forget some of those Alabama and Mississippi Republican precincts that had around 90-95% voter turnout, guess how the precincts went?"

If that is true, and I have not seen that anywhere else, then all the more reason for voter ID.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"What kind of a fool wants to compair my sacred right to vote to buying cigs and alcohol ?"

Do you want your "sacred" right diluted by someone who is voting twice or three times to your once? It would seem to me that, by your own logic, we should have voter ID.

Anonymous said...

It's for our protection is it?
Well thank you sir and ma'am. Always thinking of ways to protect us black folks.
And on a blog about the Great Emansipator.
Why thank you do much.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Voter ID, combined with early voting, would suppress no votes. It would ensure that every man is entitled to one vote, and that no man is entitled to two. The Great Emancipator believed in equality and would certainly have supported something that helps guarantee one vote for every person.

Anonymous said...

Come on Bernie , put a good word in for the old poll tax. And the literacy test also. Surely you remember those old gems.

Anonymous said...

This has certainly been a lively interplay, real or not.

11:47 -

"Us" is BOTH you and I. Get it?

Anonymous said...

BOH 632. The movie was sold out since yesterday. We have tickets for the Carmike tomorrow for the cheap show at 4pm. If any of you were planning to go this weekend, I suggest you get your tickets early and show up early. No doubt there will be sellouts tomorrow and I reckon ya'll yankees want to get a good seat.

We went to see "Wreck it Ralp." Great movie for kids.

Anonymous said...

I didn't realized Lincoln backed voter ID? See, I learned something new today.
Quite a few wards in Utah went 99% for Romney.
( Bernie, you were WAY off in your predictions about the LDS vote for Romney by the way.)

Bernie O'Hare said...

11:51, I think (1) Voter ID and (2) early voting will ensure one man, one vote. Your attempted comparison to a poll tax is flawed bc early voting should increase turnout, while ID will simply prevent one person from voting twice.

Anonymous said...

What just happened to Scott's small goverment and individual liberty? Yep, finger prints or retna scans are next.
Just for your protection people. We're lookin out for you.

Bernie O'Hare said...

11:55, Maybe I'll see you there. I've seen it once but want to take my grandson. He was too busy last weekend and has a tournament tomorrow, but I am hoping he can squeeze it in with me at some point. I love the 4 PM shows.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I didn't realized Lincoln backed voter ID? See, I learned something new today.
Quite a few wards in Utah went 99% for Romney."


Lincoln didn't even really believe in equality, but was working up to it. Thaddeus Stevens did. I believe Lincoln would have supported a measure designed to see that every person is entitled to one and only one vote. Early voting plus voter ID achieves that.

As for Utah wards going 99% for Romney, this is the first I heard it, but all the more reason for voter ID.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Bill.

Get a life.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Well, I am unaware that some Utah, Alabama or Mississippi wards went 99% for Romney or had a 99% turnout. Bt it seems to me that all this point does is buttress the need for voter ID. Voter fraud can come from both parties. So basically, you defeat your own argument.

Anonymous said...

On a side note, it is my understanding that the first civil war monument erected in PA is in LV's very own Fairview Cemetery in Whitehall.

It stands about 20 feet tall and is made of Italian Marble. It is crowned with a flying eagle draping over folds of the Union flag and is guarded by four seized guns.

It was erected in 1866 as a tribute to 159 Civil War dead of the 46th and 47th regiments of the Pennsylvania Volunteers. Their names and rank area proudly displayed on the four faces. The Thomas Iron Works made a generous gift of money toward the soldiers' monument in honor of five employees who gave their lives for their country. Unfortunately, there are some significant cracks that need to be stabilized before the monument is lost to history. Made some contacts about needed repairs, replacement of missing cannonballs, and possibly adding a historic marker nearby (The Ironton Rail Trail is nearby).

Some inscriptions read:

"To perpetuate the memory of those from this vicinity, who with heroic valor and noble patriotism on may battlefields, fought for freedom and to crush rebellion."

"Greater Love Hath No Man Than This, That a Man Lay Down His Life for His Friends."

"For there fell down many slain, because the war was of God."

Also, nearby, there is another marble monument marking the grave of Capt. Samuel McKee of the 147th Regiment. The monument top is dressed with a craved Union Slouch Hat, sword, shoulder dressing, belt and draped garment.

Anonymous said...

I'm more worried about who controls the voting machines.

Anonymous said...

" Anonymous said...

None has claimed Republicans are racisits"

You aren't serious or you aren't listening or reading.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Scott
do you not see racism in today's Republican (tea) Party to a greater degree than that of the Democratic Party of today or even the Republican Party of 20 years ago?

Anonymous said...

9:21,

Just doing the work of the Democratic Party. How does it feel to be a facilitator of slander?

Scott Armstrong

Chris Casey said...

You guys need some clarification on turnout statements.
First, the highest voter turnout in a philly precinct was about 64% And as for certain precincts having 100% of the votes cast for Obama, I would point out that there are 15 precincts in center city Philly that have fewer than 5 registered Republicans.
Was there voter fraud? It wouldn't surprise me, but blanket misstatements that there were more than 100% voter turnout are a twisting of the facts. I think some are taking the fact that the 100% of the votes in a few precincts were cast for Obama and reading it with a tilt.
All the actual voter data is available for those willing to do the work. and I would point out that Obama received 300,000 fewer votes in PA from 2006, not to mention more than half of that drop off came from Philly and the burbs. There were more than 600,000 fewer votes cast statewide in 2012 than in 2008.
Your arguments would mean that more peope voted in Philly in 2012 than in 2008. and that just isn't true. Thank you.

Chris Casey said...

I meant there were fewer votes cast in 2012 than 2008, not 2006, my mistake, sorry.

Anonymous said...

The curent budget deal of $10 dollars in cuts for $1 dollar in revenue is one of the best compromises going out there. The tealicans just say no.
Even Raegan compromiosed for positions worse than that.

if your position is "NO" comromise. You do relaize the Constitution you love to quote would never have come into being. Also the "founding Fathers" you so love to reference compromised their asses off.

Your positions are woithout historical or rational precident. Of cours eif you liken yourselves to the Confederacy, good luck. We had to stop it but even if we had let them split, they would have fallen apart within a decade. Hell, they couldn't even keep their allegance to each other in the War. It was a failed experiment from the get go, based on greed, stupidity ahnd slavery.

The British would have probably invaded the conderacy wihin a decade anyway.

Anonymous said...

I think the $10 to $1 compromise was mentioned in a question at a R primary debate and every candidate said they would reject it on grounds that it instituted a new tax (since they had all sworn to Grover that wouldn't raise taxes). I don't think there are any hard number or ratios on the table yet

Anonymous said...

If you just let the tax cut run out are you really raising taxes?

Anonymous said...

Well, ah . . .

the taxes would be rising.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, this story must break the record for number of postings. Who would expect that a glowing tribute to our greatest president would evolve into controversy? Only in America!

Bernie O'Hare said...

It's up there. I deleted quite a few comments by a troll. It's a weekend.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Chris, I defer to your superior knowledge of the nuts and bolts of elections.

Anonymous said...

The Irish are making SC look much better than they are.

-Clem

Anonymous said...

825
A glowing post about Lincoln would not generate this activity; the dig at Obama's claimed lack of bi-partisanship did. And Bernie, will you ever talk straight about the health care law's evolution? You know that the individual mandate was itself a Republican idea that the Democrats adopted in order to get their conservative caucus to support it. If, as you do note, the Republican leadership had not vowed the day after Obama's election in 2008 to fight him on every action in order to deny him a second term the health care bill would have received bi-partisan support as it is a far cry from a dream law from the perspective of the progressive community which wanted the Canadian single payer system

Bernie O'Hare said...

The dig was at both Obama AND the R House. Your response, in numerous of the comments I deleted, demonstrate the partisanship this post aims at, and worse, show how dishonest people can be in pursuit of what they think is a righteous cause. As for Obamacare, unlike the House Amendment that Lincoln had adopted, there was NO bipartisan support. It was unpopular. Obama lied by promising that he would be transparent and then closing the doors. Yes, Obama and House Rs would do well to see the movie, and so would you.

Anonymous said...

I intend to see the movie but we all know that Lincoln did not have to convince the most reactionary forces in the country as they were not then a part of the Union. Would Lincoln get one deep red state to vote for him today? Doubtful.

Anonymous said...

The American people voted on the ACA and I accept that over the so-called "polls" that claimed Americans didnot want healthcare. That is a fact. Claiming high tuynout is fraud is an opinion. Also the sources were at best sketchy.

You can delete comments all day but you cannot delete the trtuh.

gruntled said...

Right on! high tuynout is fraud...but you cannot delete the trtuh.

smile
grin
chuckle
laugh
guffaw

Bernie, you're a saint for putting up with these idjits. Keep it up, please.


Bernie O'Hare said...

I have deleted and will continue to delete annoying comments from some anonymous coward about turnout. This post is about Lincoln and the need for more moderation and less lever pulling. The anonymous commenter, an obvious lever puller, has attempted to take it from its original point, not to make points, but to attack me. I suspect we all know who this troll is and what his real agenda is.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernie O'Hare said...

1:19, This is my blog, and my policy is to delete comments criticizing my comments policy. I am the sole arbiter of what goes and what stays. If you want your criticism to stay, identify yourself.

Anonymous said...


No answer to the fact that the individual mandate was a republican idea – Bob Dole, mitt Romney –

Obama was unable to get Republican votes because they kept moving the ball. Also you know that a part of the polling showing a majority of the people opposed to the law included the Progressives that thought it didn't go far enough. The election proved that it had the support of the people

Anonymous said...

The following post which was made at 12:01 PM today was deleted:

"You deleted comments that called you to support your high turnout equals fraud allegation which  you could not do.
No answer to the fact that the individual mandate was a republican idea – Bob Dole, mitt Romney –

Obama was unable to get Republican votes because they kept moving the ball. Also you know that a part of the polling showing a majority of the people opposed to the law included the Progressives that thought it didn't go far enough. The election proved that it had the support of the people

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I agree with you about voter I'd and early voting. But you will not hear about voter ID for about 3 more years when it's time to suppress the vote again for a presidential election.
As a D, I don't object to voter ID, but give citizens enough time to adequately prepare for it. ( which, by the way, was the reason it was struck down in PA for this election.)
And as far as high turnout...nothing could be a better motivator for turning out the vote than political opponents trying to tell me I can't. Thats why more young people voted and for Obama than in 2008. (Despite your prognosticating otherwise). I mean, just look at Florida. Did anyone see that coming? Certainly Romney's campaign didn't.......

Anonymous said...

From an article in Slate
The next lesson is not one available to our current president: Votes are for sale. At the start of the film, Lincoln is faced with trying to secure two kinds of votes: conservative Republicans and a smaller number of Democrats who have been voted out of office in the election of 1864 but who can still vote in the lame duck session. He employs a crew of political hacks who look like Mumford and Sons session men to offer Democrats plum postings after they’ve left office. This is how Lincoln gets a good share of the hard votes. Vote buying is largely unavailable to the modern president, certainly when it comes to influencing members of the opposite party. Remember how quickly Obama had to back off the Cornhusker Kickback, an attempt to sweeten the health care bill for Democrat Ben Nelson.* This points out an immediate caution for anyone trying to draw lessons from this film. A lot has changed. Lincoln’s careful strategy employed in this film could not have survived the first tweet.

Anonymous said...

Well, Bernie OWNS this playground. You can always find another place to play.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bingo, There are several local blogs for the crazies.

Anonymous said...

Scott 9:21 if the below isn't due to racism then what?

"But most of all, it is the GOP’s utter lack of respect for anyone who is not like them; supporting an idiot obscure congressman who shouts “You lie” at the President of the United States during the State of the Union Address. Not repudiating truly crazy people who cling to the thumbless notion that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. It is supporting an insane governor who waves her finger publicly in the face of the President because he rejects her lunatic positions. When the GOP allows or supports these actions, they are condoning disrespect for the majority of Americans who are not aging white men."
From TPM

Anonymous said...

You really had to scramble to keep from looking like a fool on this post Bernie. Didn't you?

Bernie O'Hare said...

The only person who looks like a fool is you, which is why you remain anonymous.

Anonymous said...

God Bless you Bernie. The Commie leftist bastards have no clue what bipartisanship is about. Bless you sir!

Dick

Anonymous said...

My 9 year old enjoyed the movie. The 2.5 hours went by quickly. He laughed spontaneously at Lincoln humor which suggested he was paying attention to the script. He understood the “big picture” which was passing the 13th Amendment, but I think he missed details trying to keep up with the tempo and Lincoln poetic conversations. He seemed to be puzzled that Republicans were on the side of slavery abolishment as compared to his perception of the Party rolls today, right, wrong or indifferent.

He recognized that bribery was a bad thing but also recognized some changed their votes at the end in favor of the amendment despite being unpopular with his party because it was the right thing to do. After the movie, he seemed surprised that one party would support an amendment offered by the other party. I think that is more of a reflection of the perceived stalemate in Washington that has been on TV since August of 2011. We had a discussion about compromise.

I think we will go see the movie again.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thanks so much for telling me what your 9 yo thought. I am impressed. My 13 yo grandson was in a tournament all last weekend but I hope to take him this weekend. I am so happy that your 9 yo got it.

Anonymous said...

Saw the movie and wonder how Lincoln would feel today, seeing how the current Repulbicans have really screwed things up since his time.

Anonymous said...

The only person who looks like a fool is you, which is why you remain anonymous.


You're not anonymous yet you foolishly claimed Obama committed voter fraud in PA. And won't even post a mea culpa after Casey owned you.