Archive for Friday, February 13, 2009

Obama shares vision of more perfect union

President Barack Obama speaks Thursday at the 102nd Abraham Lincoln Association banquet in Springfield, Ill.

President Barack Obama speaks Thursday at the 102nd Abraham Lincoln Association banquet in Springfield, Ill.

February 13, 2009


— Summoning the pride of a nation, President Barack Obama paid fond tribute Thursday to Abraham Lincoln by challenging people to embrace his vision of a collective union and reject a “knee-jerk disdain for government.”

“He recognized that while each of us must do our part, work as hard as we can and be as responsible as we can — in the end, there are certain things we cannot do on our own,” Obama said of Lincoln at a celebration of the revered president’s 200th birthday.

“There are certain things we can only do together,” Obama said. “There are certain things only a union can do.”

Here in the place that Lincoln called home, and from where Obama launched his presidential bid, the new president’s speech capped his third event honoring Lincoln’s bicentennial.

It was a whirlwind day for Obama. He squeezed in economic comments in East Peoria, Ill., and coped with the abrupt withdrawal of another commerce secretary nominee.

The stories of Obama and Lincoln have become entwined by history, geography and symbolism. Their paths are viewed as not just their own, but the country’s as well — a lineage from the man who freed the slaves to the first black president in U.S. history.

Obama said Lincoln understood that self-reliance was at the core of American life. But Obama said individual liberty is “served, not negated, by a recognition of the common good.”

The pendulum, Obama said, has swung too far toward a philosophy that says government is the problem — a notion that it should be dismantled, with tax breaks for the wealthy that might eventually help out everyone.

“Such knee-jerk disdain for government — this constant rejection of any common endeavor — cannot rebuild our levees or our roads or our bridges,” Obama said. His list of collective examples went on: better schools, modern health care, an economy built on clean energy.

“Only a nation can do these things,” Obama said. “Only by coming together, all of us, and expressing that sense of shared sacrifice and responsibility … can we do the work that must be done in this country. That is the very definition of being American.”

Earlier Thursday, back in Washington, Obama celebrated Lincoln’s resolve at a ceremony in the stately Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. And he spent Wednesday evening at a performance at the newly renovated Ford’s Theatre, where Lincoln was assassinated in 1865.

Like Lincoln, Obama is a skinny lawyer who rose from obscurity and served briefly in the Illinois legislature before leaping to national office at a time of burgeoning crisis.

Still, the White House is mindful to limit the comparison, whatever the parallels.

Lincoln is a monumental figure who fought to preserve the union, presided over the enormously costly Civil War and signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Obama has been president for less than a month.

“This president isn’t seeking to compare himself with I think what many believe is one of the two or three greatest presidents that this country’s ever had,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said.

That Obama often operates in Lincoln’s shadow is largely a matter of choice. He admires the 16th president, reads his language, quotes his speeches and draws on him for inspiration.


Godot 9 years, 2 months ago

What Obama and Bernanke and Geithner are planning with the purchase of mortgages through the Fed is unconsitutional. Blatant illegality. Taxation without representation. Allocating of funds without Congressional approval. It is serious. If he gets away with it, he has made himself King,.

Sigmund 9 years, 2 months ago

Obama like Lincoln may end up serving during civil wars.

james bush 9 years, 2 months ago

BS from the AP is the norm to expect about BHO!....the chief community organizer of the USA for ACORN.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 2 months ago

Would that be a union overseen by members of the organized crime families that run the unions in Chicago?

Ceallach 9 years, 2 months ago

If it waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck.

If he walks like Abe Lincoln and talks like Abe Lincoln, does that mean he probably is Abe Lincoln?

It's all so confusing.

Satirical 9 years, 2 months ago

Allow me to interpret Obamanese into English

"You all need the government. You are all too stupid to do anything for yourself and require Big Brother to make decisions for you. Who would know better how to spend your hard earned money than an all powerful and all knowing federal government with central planning? Once you are all dependent on the government we can manipulate you to produce whatever social results we decide are your best interest. Whether these results align with your values doesn’t matter because it is government, not the people who decide which values are most important. The government must protect you from yourself.”

Ceallach 9 years, 2 months ago

Thanks, Sat, now I understand. I must continue to meet my financial obligations in a timely manner and gladly pay extra taxes/price hikes, etc., to bail out those who do not. But there's just something about that that doesn't seem right : guess I'm just being selfish.

Satirical 9 years, 2 months ago


Glad I could provide some assistance.

Danimal 9 years, 2 months ago

Okay, first of all, why are Democrats trying so hard to co-opt Lincoln. If you take one Republican, you have to take them all, including Nixon. Secondly, Lincoln - believe it or not - was a fairly typical 19th century northerner in that we believed that blacks shouldn't be enslaved, but that they also were not equal to whites. I know that this will have Obamites howling, but you have to realize that Lincoln's speeches were rhetoric aimed at stoking the fires against the Confederacy and maintaining the Union.

Lastly, the “knee-jerk disdain for government” is something that has propelled the United States to the great heights that it has reached. Sometimes, for instance when building a road or ensuring equal rights for all, government is necessary. But should we really put so much faith and power into a government that can't even balance its own budget? I would say not, government should maintain its role of regulating the economy to prevent fraud and collapse (which they had been neglecting and lead to the current economic crisis) and stay out of the actual markets and individual businesses. If the government was so out of touch that the credit crisis that has shaved almost 2 trillion dollars off our economy snuck up on them, how are they supposed to be so brilliant that they can suddenly fix everything? The govt. should repair the credit industry, and actually regulate it instead of letting it be the wild west of financial speculation, and stay out the economy.

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