Axis of Right

Three Native Rhode Islanders Commenting From the Right on Politics and Anything Else

Posts Tagged ‘Abraham Lincoln’

I Knew Theodore Roosevelt and Senator, You’re No TR!

Posted by Ryan on July 13, 2008

Well, the first part of that isn’t entirely true, but I did spend fifteen months writing a rather long historiographical thesis on Theodore Roosevelt back in college.  In that work I used some of John McCain’s campaign rhetoric from early 2000 as evidence of TR’s increasing influence amongst politicians of both parties today (I also quoted from BJ’s 2000 State of the Union Address where he name-drops TR).  Back in February 2000 McCain unsuccessfully tried to make himself out to be the heir of both TR and Ronald Reagan, and he’s trying it again in 2008

We can laugh at McCain’s “Reaganesque” boasts as shallow and empty, but why’s he stuck on TR?  Most people only know a few things about TR: trust-buster, Mt. Rushmore, those teeth, the “Teddy bear,” conservation.  Like his Reagan comparison, McCain is being very selective with how he chooses to connect himself to TR:

  • TR’s domestic policies laid the philosophical foundation for modern “big-government” in his cousin’s New Deal two generations later — not very Reaganesque in my opinion. 
  • TR was a “conservationist” not a “preservationist”, meaning that TR would have been OK with drilling in ANWAR since the footprint is so small (preservationists, on the other hand, want humans completely out of undeveloped areas).  McCain’s still being difficult on that issue.
  • TR was described as a “maverick” for bucking the era’s MSM by not fitting their typical Republican stereotype.  Yet, TR understood politics, alienated some, but still had most of his party enthusiastic about him and mostly adhered to the party’s platform.  No conservative is enthusiastic about McCain and McCain doesn’t seem to care — he’s more interested in growing the party 1970s-style by making it resemble the Democrats.  Plus, TR’s being a “maverick” eventually led to a party split in 1912 which gave Wilson the presidency.  Why should any self-respecting Republican embrace a maverick like that today?  McCain’s obviously being selective here.
  • Instead of trying to get along with fractious immigrant groups, TR firmly believed and articulated that “hyphenated Americanism” is un-American and unpatriotic.  McCain wants to coddle 12-15 million illegals and still hasn’t proposed making English the official language of government, a highly popular position with the general public.

However, TR had an unabashed pro-American foreign policy like Reagan.  Maybe that’s an area where McCain’s rhetoric can get away with the comparison.  But don’t be fooled!  McCain does not have the clear vision of a Ronald Reagan, nor the vigor or political climate that made TR such an influential politician.  We have a Ford, not a Lincoln; we have a McCain, not a Reagan.

AP photo.  National Photo Collection, Library of Congress.

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Posted in Anything Else, Election 2008, Media Bias, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Mr. Patriotic, Barack Obama

Posted by Ryan on June 30, 2008

Democrats are always uptight about that whole “patriotism” thing, knee-jerking into a frenzy every time the word is uttered.  Even when they see unabashed patriots like John McCain, some Dems (like former Presidential candidate and undistinguished General Wesley Clark) aren’t sure how to react, so they pick on them in ways that don’t make sense.  It’s not like Clark said McCain’s unpatriotic, but any patriotism street cred he may have accumulated at the Hanoi Hilton won’t necessarily make him a better commander-in-chief than, say, Barack Obama, who’s mentor was a terrorist.  

After Obama threw Clark under the bus for his remarks today, Obama had to give a speech on patriotism today.  One of the most peculiar quotes was this:

“Of course, precisely because America isn’t perfect, precisely because our ideals constantly demand more from us, patriotism can never be defined as loyalty to any particular leader or government or policy.”

Not even leaders like Lincoln?  Not even a government that got rid of slavery, promotes civil rights at home and around the world from before the Cold War through today?  Not even a policy that once sought to end fascism, communism, and now terrorism?   I know support may not equal patriotism, but does it exclude one from being a patriot?  It sounds strange and awkward, especially when he delivered those lines.  He’s such an insecure post-9/11 Democrat.

If patriotism is so ethereal, then why give a speech about it to calm critics?  Why do we have to be told what patriotism is to believe that Obama is patriotic?  I have no doubt he loves this country, but I am piqued by his overt insecurity on this issue.

Posted in Election 2008, Media Bias, Politics, tyranny, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Imus Controversy Over Pacman Jones Comments

Posted by Ryan on June 24, 2008

Obama can throw his “typical white” racist grandma under the bus and the LA Times calls it his Abraham Lincoln moment.  That’s OK.  It’s being frank about race, but the microscope surrounding Don Imus has unearthed another controversial racial comment that is resulting in a new round of haranguing against the popular radio shock-jock.

Here’s the radio excerpt in question:

Imus says that this was taken out of context and that he was defending the NFL’s Pacman Jones, inferring that Pacman was being picked on the police for being black.  Either way one looks at it, this isn’t as flagrant as his comments on the Rutgers Women’s Basketball team back in April 2007, which cost him his job. 

However, Imus has to know that there are some out there looking for any gaffe of slip-up so they can take Imus down for good and keep racial issues in the headlines during this election year. 
 

Posted in Anything Else, Culture, Election 2008, Media Bias, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Memorial Day

Posted by Ryan on May 26, 2008

To most, Memorial Day is the official kickoff to the summer season — pools, barbecue, the beach, movie marathons. 

Lately, to more and more Americans its more solemn roots are revived.  It was a day first commemorated as “Decoration Day” to put flags and other items at the graves of friends or relatives who died in the Civil War.  Then, by World War I, it’s name had changed to Memorial Day and was honored on May 30.  It wasn’t until 1971 that Memorial Day became the fourth Monday in May.

So, today we honor those who have died defending this country and her interests. Lincoln once said on an old battlefield during the dark days of the Civil War that “it is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.” 

Such is our charge as we enjoy the sales, the sun and the hot dogs, that we take a minute to remember who have died so that we might live the way we do.

Posted in Blogroll, Culture, The Iraq Front, War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

Posted by Ryan on April 4, 2008

Forty years ago today, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed on a balcony outside the Lorraine Motel by James Earl Ray just after 6pm. 

The Civil Rights Movement lost its most powerful Twentieth Century figure that day, and the movement was never the same.  However, the successful civic action by millions of individuals over the previous fifteen years, legislative achievements through grassroot movements, and the changing of hearts and minds through non-violent protest were all important parts of Dr. King’s legacy.  As far as the Movement was concerned, there was no heir-apparent to Dr. King, being such a unique and special individual living at the right place and right time.  In Washington DC, on August 28, 1963, America saw him at his finest and got a glipse of King’s rhetorical power in his historic “I Have a Dream Speech.”

Of all the speeches Dr. King made, his last public speech on April 3, 1968, while as inspiring as most of his speeches, is quite eerie.  Keep in mind he was shot and killed the next day:

Rhetorical questions like, “Has Dr. King’s ‘dream’ been realized?” are discussed every year on his birthday and today as we use those dates to contemplate the legacy of America’s Gandhi.  As a white man born nine years after King’s assassination, I only know what I’ve seen with my own eyes and learned about the Civil Rights Movement in books, through talking to people who remember it, and on documentary film. 

For instance, I’d like to think that Dr. King would be proud that so many Americans can seriouly accept or reject Barack Obama as potentially our next President truly on the merits of his positions on the important issues while not even mentioning his race as a factor.  Not everyone feels that way, but many Americans are there.  I won’t vote for Obama because he’s a socialist with very little experience governing anything, not because of his looks.

I’d like to think that we are living in a post-racial era.  My students are shocked at the footage they see in class about the Movement and don’t fully understand Affirmative Action, even though they accept it as part of the landscape.  They tend to like Obama but detest Al Sharpton.  They call each other the “n-” word in the hall and deem it OK as long as the word ends in an “a” and not an “er”.  To this Generation Xer, that’s a little strange.  My school is mostly white, but with significant East Asian, Indian, Arab, and African populations so no class is fully white, nor completely full of minorities.  So in the community where I teach, they tend not to see race as too big a deal: not quite colorblind, but blurrier than high school back in the 1990s. 

To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln: what one generation embraces, the next one accepts.  Perhaps this is the legacy of Dr. King that we see all around us — slow but true progress towards race meaning less and less to us in America.

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