Abe Lincoln’s Bum Rush

As I wrote yesterday, the fat version of Michelangelo’s David has been getting a bit of internet attention lately.

What’s been lost in the shuffle, perhaps, is that the (public service) ad campaign that launched the career of “fat David” actually featured two historical figures.

The other one?

gosflincoln1Abraham Lincoln. Old Abe himself.

I was thinking about Lincoln today. Particularly, about Lincoln’s role in the formation and growth of the Republican Party – which, in the 1850s, was a fusion between big business interests and fundamentalist Christians. (Yes, that should sound familiar.) Either one of which could have told the other, at any time, to do things my way or hit the road, Jack.

Lincoln, especially in Illinois, was the organization man. He was the one who put things together, smoothed over differences and difficulties, kept the party focused on what would allow it to grow and become competitive in what then passed for national elections. On more than one occasion, he put his own ambitions for public office aside in order to advance the party.

To be sure, Lincoln’s task was made easier by the one issue which the otherwise-mismatched elements of the party could champion without reserve: the abolition of slavery. Since slavery offended both the morals of the Christians and the avarice of the capitalists. But Lincoln played this card to near-perfection, using it to secure alliances within the party and to prevent those alliances from fracturing under the stresses of events. The Republicans held together, and, in 1860, won an election that changed the face of the United States, and arguably the world.

Fast-forward to 2009. The Republicans are beset by a narrow faction that is hell-bent on creating an American “Land of the Pure”, and its leader tells any who fail its white-glove test, Arlen, to begone, and take your filthy fellows with you. It may wind up being a small party, but, by God, it will know what its principles are, and every shelf in the freezer on which each one is kept.

It’s enough to cause any national icon to slouch in his armchair, gorge himself on tortilla chips, cheez whiz, and beer, and stare vacantly into space.

  – O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2009 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions are mine as a private citizen.


  1. You’re too kind, Q. As for the honorable gentleman from Pennsylvania (who is nearly 80), I reckon his chances of being re-elected as a Democrat are greater than those of his being re-elected as a Republican, but less than those of his being re-elected as a cadaver.

  2. That old fool needs to get out of politics totally…putting his own future ahead of his constituents disgusts me. Ooops…what am i saying…what politician doesn’t? Stuff yourself Mr. Specter with a double whopper with chese, large fry and a chocolate shake

  3. Thom, I think Lincoln would have found a way to keep Specter & Co. in the party, and as useful members.

    Lincoln had plenty of opportunity for narrow-minded spite (much of it generated through the machinations of his narrow-minded, fundamentalist Christian, Presidential-wannabe Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase), but did not usually indulge it. He typically engaged the talents of his challengers, rather than applying litmus to them and tossing them aside if the paper turned the wrong color.

    If the Republicans still dare to call themselves “the party of Lincoln”, I hope a few of them will actually choose to consider what that name implies.

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