Letters to the Editor

Like Lincoln?

August 8, 2007


To the editor:

Not long ago President Bush compared himself to Abraham Lincoln, which naturally prompted comments along the lines of, "how dare he compare himself to such a great American president as Lincoln." And, you know what? I agree. Because if Bush was like Lincoln, anybody who spoke out against the war in Iraq would find themselves in prison.

What is he talking about?

Well, you see on Sept. 24, 1862, good ol' Honest Abe suspended the most basic of democratic rights, that of habeas corpus, the right of an individual to be brought before a judge or court.

The president had bullheadedly dragged the nation into a war that soon lost its novelty and patriotic passion. (Sound familiar?) To squelch his opposition, he operated as if the entire North were under martial law. Newspapers were suppressed, editors were arrested and unreasonable search and seizures were made in direct violation of constitutional rights.

In Kentucky, Democrats offered a ticket of candidates calling for an end of the war. Lincoln arrested the candidates in two congressional districts and one candidate for state legislature.

U.S. Rep. Clement L. Vallandegham from Ohio spoke out against Honest Abe and was promptly tried, convicted and sentenced to prison.

In 1863, more newspapers were suppressed in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Iowa.

Honest Abe was responsible for the arrest and imprisonment of thousands citizens simply speaking out against the war.

So President Bush, like President Lincoln? No, thank God. And you liberals should be glad that he isn't.

Rick Bullock,

Clearview City


chet_larock 10 years, 7 months ago

Don't get him started on the term "synonymous", logic!

mick 10 years, 7 months ago

Both started an unConstitutional war but Lincoln was a rassler, Bush was a cheerleader.

jonas 10 years, 7 months ago

Oh, and the LTE is pointless, saying nothing of value. Just thought I'd clear that up. Two seperate centuries, two separate presidents, two separate issues. Get over it.

Tychoman 10 years, 7 months ago

Keep in mind that the definition of Democrat and Republican gradually switched after the Civil War.

I am seeing similarities between this horrifically biased letter and the horrific President occupying the White House, though--I am very sad to say.

Speakout 10 years, 7 months ago

The war that erupted in the 1860s was totally unlike the war WE started in 2003. Lincoln had to do what he did to preserve the Union, right or wrong, he succeeded. Bush is doing it for oil and to destroy the Union (and my fear he is going to succeed, too). Bush is like Lincoln in only one way: They both were president of the USA.

Jamesaust 10 years, 7 months ago

ROFL. What revisionism.

These "Democrats" were a rump group known as "Copperheads" who not only opposed the war but in some cases talked of violence, conspired to commit violence, and plotted to free captured Confederate soldiers. At times, more hot-headed types acted in violence against Union supporters. Their representatives at times met with Confederate officials as well as accepting money from them. All this during a period of rebellion against governmental authority. In sum, perhaps less extreme in violence than the Weathermen, for example, but more widespread and openly treasonous.

Lincoln did suspend habeas corpus - for as long as it took Congress to convene (no small matter in rural mid-19th century life) and take emergency action under the Constitutional provisions allowing such suspension during periods of invasion or insurrection. (There was no permanent, unconstitutional suspension as in our present dilemma.)

Clement Vallandigham [spelling LJW!] was arrested, tried and convicted of violating a military order against agitating in the traitors' favor in the military district bordering the Confederacy. His conviction was, in essence, upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Lincoln actually commuted his sentence on condition he be expelled to the Confederacy.

More could be said, but the contention that these various treasonous actions were merely "speaking out against war" is silly. Perhaps this letter's author doesn't grasp the fact but there's quite a difference between debating war as policy in the abstract and debating it in the physical midst of actual battle. The United States at present is not faced with an existential threat as it was during Lincoln's tenure. As such, comparing Lincoln's 'smudging' of constitutional niceties is quite different from the present Administrations extreme - and permanent - extermination of civil liberties.

jonas 10 years, 7 months ago

Yes, another thing Abe Lincoln destroyed was the true right to freedom in the United States.

I'll let that sink in. . . . .

Freedom is the ability to opt out when it's not going the way you want it to. Lincoln denied the rest of the country that right, and enforced it with the military, and won, after huge amounts of civilian casualties.

Still, he could have been right to do so. Had he not, it's possible right now the USA would be 50-150 armed camps fighting against each other, as opposed to a strong, errr. . . marginally unified country.

MyName 10 years, 7 months ago

So President Bush, like President Lincoln? No, thank God. And you liberals should be glad that he isn't.

Well yeah, I mean that pretty much sums it up. Given a choice between a strong leader and orator who actually knew how to unify our country in a time of crisis. One who was willing to listen to differing opinions because he knew it would make a stronger policy, and a pansy who can barely speak in public, is bought and sold by oil companies, has mismanaged one war and blundered about in another one, and is a divider who doesn't know the the meaning of good government, I can see how we're so much better off with Bush than with Lincoln! WTH was I thinking, I have seen the light!

packrat 10 years, 7 months ago

"Let's face it - Republicans admire Lincoln for only one reason - he was a racist." -- max1

Your statement speaks volumes about the quaility of your education. I guess you should be reminded that the Democrats enacted the Jim Crowe laws.

KUDB99 10 years, 7 months ago

What an absolutely absurd, completely a$$inine letter. Bush will have his day in history's shadow soon enough. What's most important for people to remember is that history doesn't occur in a vacuum, so to pull out the suspension of Habeas Corpus without referencing context smacks of arrogant stupidity.

kneejerkreaction 10 years, 7 months ago

Tychoman (Anonymous) says: I am seeing similarities between this horrifically biased letter and the horrific President occupying the White House, though-I am very sad to say.

Biased Tychoman? Nothing biased about this at all. In the limited space available, the author made some very good, factual, and historically correct points that should have shut up even the most ardent of Bush haters, but haters being what they are, they just can't stop hating. Yes, the siimilarities between Bush and Lincoln are many, to the extent that Lincoln's time permitted a more direct handling of simpering opponents. Good letter. Interesting points.

kmat 10 years, 7 months ago

packrat - you obviously are clueless to the fact that repubs and dems of the 19th century were not the same parties of the late 20th and now 21st centuries. Your post shows your lack of education (quite funny since you are claiming others on here don't know history). So, now you can learn something.

Back in Lincoln's days, there were Whigs and Democrats. The republican party was created in 1854 as an activist party by northern democrats and Whigs that opposed slavery and wanted to modernize the country.

Things flipped in 1896 when Wilson was elected president and changed the party to be a pro-business. By 1912, Roosevelt moved from republican to progressive and the parties kind of flip-flopped. During the 20th century, the dems became the progressive liberals that the republicans had once been and the republicans became what they are now (I'll keep my nasty comments about what they are and stand for to myself since this is just a history lesson).

So, don't spout off about history when you don't know the history yourself. Don't believe me, then do a quick google to learn for yourself. This is just the very basic explanation, but it gets the point across.

Katie Van Blaricum 10 years, 7 months ago

I can't understand why this letter was even published. It has absolutly nothing to do with anything. You cannot compare the politics of the 1860s with the politics of today. If you've ever taken a history class, this should have been the first thing your teacher warned you not to do.

packrat 10 years, 7 months ago

Kmat, I am completely aware of the facts you are stating. Read my historical posts and you will see.

Woodrow Wilson was a Democrat elected in 1913. http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/ww28.html

William McKinley was elected President in 1896 http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/wm25.html

McKinley was very liberal. He also advocated the War with Spain.

When McKinley was assasinated, Theodore Roosevelt becam President. He was re-elected in 1904 and chose not to run for re-election. "In spite of his popularity, he decided not to run for reelection in 1908 (a move that he would later regret for the rest of his life). Instead he backed longtime friend William Howard Taft who he thought would carry on his policies. After Taft won, however, Roosevelt became increasingly annoyed as Taft proved to be his own man with his own policy agenda (which often ran counter to what Roosevelt would have liked).

As a result in 1912, Roosevelt ran for president on the United States Progressive Party ("Bull Moose") ticket, thus undermining popular support for Taft. While campaigning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he was shot by saloonkeeper John Schrank in a failed assassination attempt on October 14, 1912. With a fresh flesh wound and the bullet still in him, Roosevelt still delivered his scheduled speech. (He was not seriously wounded although his doctors thought it too dangerous to attempt to remove the bullet lodged in his chest and he carried it with him until he died. The gun used was a Colt Police Positive revolver in .38 S&W caliber, serial number 58714.) In spite of this he not only lost the race but split the Republican vote, thus ensuring a win by Democrat Woodrow Wilson. Roosevelt disliked Wilson even more than his former friend Taft and ran again in 1916 in an effort to prevent Wilson from being reelected. He lost that election as well. "


"So, don't spout off about history when you don't know the history yourself. Don't believe me, then do a quick google to learn for yourself. This is just the very basic explanation, but it gets the point across."

Roadkill_Rob 10 years, 7 months ago


Wow! I had to read this LTE a few times to make sure I was reading it correctly!

So, Mr. Bullock isn't just comparing Bush to Lincoln...he goes a step further and implies that Bush is better than Lincoln!?!!?? That's a first for me.

packrat 10 years, 7 months ago

I clearly understand the change of the stances of the Republican and Democratic Parties.

The Republicans of Lincoln wanted Federal involvement a dn big government. The Democrats of Stephen Douglas wanted state's rights and limited Federal government.

This situation was the status quo until World War 1 when Wilson advocated the big government expenses necessary to win the war. Wilson also advocated the US entry into the League of Nations. The Senate blocked the US from ratifying the treaty.

Warren Harding was elected after Wilson. He put the tariff back to pre-War levels and was very pro-business. After his death Silent Cal continued his polices of let business run itself. The economy roared through the 1920's until the stock market crash of 1929.

Hoover was defeated by FDR, who used big government spending in an attempt to jump start the economy. The advent of WW2 eventually ended the depression in the US.

Roadkill_Rob 10 years, 7 months ago

Hold on guys. I'm still laughing at the letter...can't catch my breath.

Bush better than Lincoln...that's good stuff.

Tychoman 10 years, 7 months ago

Genocide, RT?

Max your last sentence made me almost cry, I was laughing so hard. I can't stop.

Don't even get me started on Arminius getting close to as many new identities per month as there are days.

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