Saturday, October 22, 2016

Lincoln's Imperfect Perfection

Editors Note: With Trump at Gettysburg, I was reminded of this, posted on the 150th Anniversary of Lincoln's Assassination.

In the Bushido code, the samurai were said to have identified with the cherry blossom particularly because it fell at the moment of its greatest beauty, an ideal death.

It is one of the remarkable coincidences of history that the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination often comes at the very peak of the cherry blossom season.  In many respects, he, too, died at the moment of greatest beauty—right after he had delivered his “with malice towards none” Second Inaugural Address, right after he had seen Richmond and was mobbed by grateful freedmen, right after Lee had surrendered to Grant, right after there were no more battles he could win. 

The historian Richard Hofstadter once wrote, in his essay Abraham Lincoln And The Self-Made Myth that “The Lincoln legend has come to have a hold on the American imagination that defies comparison with anything else in political mythology.” 

That legend, which Hofstadter likens to a Christ-like assumption of the sins of mortals, followed by their redemption through his martyrdom, is one half of the consensus historian’s construct about how we think about the Civil War.  The other half is best embodied in Robert E. Lee, graying, aristocratic scion of a famous family, kind as a master, brave and brilliant as a reluctant warrior. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Stomping on Reagan's Grave on 3Quarks


by Michael Liss

Sixteen. That was the percentage of respondents in a snap CNN post-second debate poll who said that they had heard about Donald Trump's "sex tape" and that it made them more likely to vote for him. 16 Percent. One in six voters surveyed, likely one in three (or more) of Trump supporters. Here's another number--Eighty-Three. In a WSJ/NBC News Poll, again, taken after the release of the tape, 83 percent of Republicans believe that the party should back Trump through the election.

Perhaps that is just circling the wagons--a later Washington Post/ABC News Poll showed the number of "mores" evaporating, but still had 83% of Trump voters saying it made no difference to them--and they were backed by a number of Evangelical leaders. A reasonable person might ask, why? Why would anyone with a girlfriend or a wife or a daughter or a mother (everyone has a mother) ignore the coarseness, to say nothing of any of the other controversial and even inflammatory things he's said and done? Their answer is that are with Trump, come hell or high water, and they aren't going to let any pointy-headed, liberal MSM pollster (or sanctimonious Establishment Republican) tell them otherwise. Trump is their guy, and there is nothing further to discuss.