Monday, August 14, 2006

Lincoln Blogs

Whole books have been written about the genius of Abraham Lincoln. They usually miss it.

The genius of Lincoln was that he knew men can more easily change their ideologies than their circumstances.

He had the patience of a god when it came to drawing them out, giving them time to grapple with the mental shift, then letting them come over, then allowing them to think they had been in the right all along.

Sometimes, as with McClellan, it didn't work. More often, as with the Blairs, it did.

Most of the South despised him as a radical. They were wrong. The Northern abolitionists who despised him got a lot closer to the truth. He wasn't nearly radical enough for them.

That is exactly the kind of leader one or the other party could use today.

Not to pick on Democrats exclusively, even though I usually do, but that thought came to mind while reading this story.

After being outmaneuvered in the politics of national security in the last two elections, Democrats say they are determined not to cede the issue this year and are working aggressively to cast President Bush as having diminished the nation's safety.

Great idea! We need two parties who are genuinely robust in their desire to defend America and defeat our enemies. We need a contest and a competition over exactly this.

But Nancy Pelosi leads off by tripping over her rhetorical shoes: "They are not Swift boating us on security."

Ugh. An appeal to the base, not an open door to invite anyone over. Who uses "swift-boat" as a generic verb outside DKos? Why show off a thorn from the last election when you're trying to convince people who didn't vote for you then to vote for you now? Why make it seem like the same old message when you need to offer a fresh-minted one?

A video Monday on the Web site of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee showed footage of Osama bin Laden, referred to an increase in terror attacks, highlighted illegal immigration and pointed out the nuclear aspirations of Iran and North Korea.

"Feel safer?" it concludes. "Vote for change."

Ummm, "change" does not = "security." It can, but first you have to make a case for that, and in the language of plain common sense, not in DKos codewords.

Then finally, we get Harry Reid, proclaiming that ... well, see for yourself:

"During the 2002 and 2004 elections, Republicans tried to sow fear in the American public by claiming that they were the only ones who could keep America safe," Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, said in an e-mail message to supporters. "This, from the same crowd that has driven Iraq to the brink of disaster, left Osama Bin Laden on the loose to attack again, and continues to ignore our security needs at home."

In other words, "now it's our turn to steal elections by sowing fear!"