Obama’s Lost ‘Lincoln Moment’

It was the end of June, 1863, and southern general Robert E. Lee continued his relentless march northward. President Lincoln knew that Lee had to be stopped if there was any hope of actually winning the Civil War. But there were options — Lincoln could have acquiesced — basically “suing” for an end to the carnage and in doing so satisfied both the South and the growing peace movement in the North. But that acquiescence would have come at a terrible cost — slavery would stand, and the entire balance of states’ rights vs. the right of the entire country to remain a ‘house undivided’ would have been called into question. Historically speaking, Lincoln made the right choice… the unpopular choice… the ghastly choice. He would use his General Meade to stop the unstoppable Lee in a small town in Pennsylvania named Gettysburg. (That must have been a tortuous decision given the slaughter of  Antietam less than a year earlier.) But that is what Lincoln and Meade did — in three days of hellish combat (some hand-to-hand) they halted Lee, suffering a total of roughly 8,000 Yank and Rebel dead, and 50,000 wounded, lost, or captured. To say that America was appalled is a massive understatement. But Lincoln had turned the tide and in doing so, laid the groundwork for our country as we know it today.

Fast forward to February 10, 2007… Barack Obama announced his presidential candidacy in Springfield, Illinois, the same place where Abraham Lincoln had made his historic challenge to slavery in June 1858. (It’s no great secret that Obama likes to think of himself as being on the same plane as Lincoln. Remember, it was Barack who was going to herald the moment when the “oceans recede“.) Back in the 19th century, Lincoln said very plainly, “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” and he meant it. And therein lies the difference between the two men… Look at the numbers below…

Forget about the $14 trillion debt. That is a skirmish. Look at the $115 trillion in unfunded liabilities. That’s the Gettysburg. Ever since President Obama took office, he has had the rare and very unenviable opportunity to use his bully pulpit to spread the word and act upon the coming fiscal catastrophe. (Have you noticed that words like ‘catastrophe‘, ‘disaster‘, and ‘dire‘ are finally beginning to slip into the political and media lexicons?)

Using tools that vary from Executive Orders to Twitter, Obama could have issued everything from Executive Orders to tweets calling for the elimination of sacred cows like the EPA, NASA, and the Department of Education. (John Stossel et al have compiled an interesting list of possible targets.) The POTUS could have gone on TV, taken off his tie, looked the citizenry right in the eye, and said something to the effect of…

“Look folks, economically speaking, we’re in deep fertilizer. Unfunded entitlement ‘spending’ is going to drown the U.S.A. Currently, for every dollar the federal government spends, we have we have to borrow forty cents. Now, look at the chart below…

What that boils down to is that over 50% of our entire federal budget goes to unfunded entitlement spending including Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and pensions. That’s over twice what we pay for our military. This has to change. In the days and weeks ahead, you will see sweeping changes, and quite frankly, most of you will be appalled. But I will not let this country fall. This house will stand.”

That could have been Obama’s ‘Lincoln Moment’. Instead, he sat on the sidelines and waited to sign into law a bill that jacks our debt limit up by yet another $900 billion, and ‘promises’ to ‘cut’ (depending on yet another unannounced committee) a useless $1 to $4 trillion over ten years.

Barack, you blew it. By way of analogy, you just ordered General Meade to turn tail and run. You could have rallied this country and your troops to face this national, pecuniary mortal enemy. You had the oratory skills and the sheer ruinous fiscal numbers… You could have made the right choice… the unpopular choice… the ghastly choice… You could have done it.  Instead, you led from behind like the cheap, hack, inexperienced, agenda-blind Chicago politician that you are… Your ‘Lincoln Moment’ has been squandered, and that has made all of the difference.

Depressed and frightened by the racks…

Two cats blogging…

Wine Glossaries

* Nat Decants: A thorough glossary from Natalie MacLean, noted wine writer, speaker, and judge.
* eRobertParker.com: “The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Fine Wines”
* GLOSSARY of Wine-Tasting Terminology (Version 1.4 – Jan. 1995): A thorough collection of definitions from Anthony Hawkins.

Beer Glossaries

* ratebeer: Now that’s a straightforward name!
* beer-pages: Roger Protz and Tom Cannavan say that “it’s all about beer”.
* alphaDictionary.com: A fine collection of Beer dictionaries.

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