Obama Campaigned He'd Administrate Like Lincoln - Has He?

I realize even the assertion in the title - that Obama said he would run a presidency like Lincoln’s - is debatable, but when asked what book he’d take to the White House, he said “Team of Rivals,” which is a book about Lincoln’s administration, and how well Lincoln’s strategy of intentionally having dissenting voices, and never being petty nor vengeful in politics, worked.

I’m not the first one to explicitly make the parallel, anyway.

So, is Obama running the presidency like Lincoln would if he were prez today?

It seems to me he is. He makes decisions absent anger, and independent of their popularity - either within his party or without. He’s a compromiser, almost to a fault. And he’s completely unflappable.

Having said that, I’m a biased Obama supporter, so I’d like to get other points of view.

I’m trying to be unbiased about this, though I look at it the other way from the start. The answer is no, but for different reasons.

First, Lincoln governed the way he did because he was politically weak. He did have broad-based support, but broad-based support is always shallow. He needed his rivals’ strength badly, and he barely kept them under control. Sometimes he didn’t, and the arguments nearly tore the White House apart. Lincoln spent a lot fo hsi time fending off sneak attacks from Salmon P. Chase, mollifying Seward until Seward realized he was outclassed (and came to think of Lincoln as a friend).

Obama did not have to do that, though the ideal might have been behind his appointment of Clinton. That was probably a mistake, however, because Clinton hasn’t been very good at diplomacy and has had some nasty arguments. But he didn’t appoint rivals because he didn’t need them, and he didnt’ have many open rivals. And his other appointments have been hit-and-miss. He’s had some utter loons in high positions. I go back and forth on Biden: the man seems effective at times, and at other times he’s basically a walking font of idiocy. Appointing Turbo Tax Tim was a mistake for several reasons, not the least of which is that he was more valuable at the New York office in 2008.

But mostly, I see one critical difference in administrative style. Obama acts a lot like a University President. He doesn’t really seem to care that much about the administration. He never seems interested in actual administrative work, and has taken an embarassing number of vacations.

I actually would have voted for Hillary for President. I dont’ expect she’d be that much better, but she is tough. Her campaign was a disaster, probably because she didn’t imagine the inexperienced, ineffective junior Senator would build such an organization in that short a time, spurred on by Progressives who didn’t like the Clintons.

In short, no, Obama is nothing like Lincoln. But there’s no reason he should be like Lincoln: he’s very different, younger, less experienced, and came from a very different background, politics, and political environment. If there were any President he reminds me of, it’s Woodrow Wilson.

As far as his style goes… I can say that we definitely don’t think of him as being particularly nonpartisan. Or rather, he’ll talk grandly of all the wonderful things he’ll do and how awesome life coudl be if we just work together, and then follow up with a vicious, ignorant diatribe aimed any anyone who isn’t supporting him now. So no, we don’t think much of his supposed bipartisanship.

We have noticed that now and then he’s just handed us something we wanted. That has not been invisible to us. We don’t particualrly see it as any kindness, because we’re not fighting for arbitrary, meaningless “victories”. We have a purpose and a platform.

I love a good diatribe. What’s a good example of one Obama has delivered?

Lincoln was, what, three years older then Obama when elected? Not really a huge difference in age. Or experience, both men had pretty similar careers, going from lawyering to State legislators (in the same state, even) to lawyering to brief stints in the federal legislator (4 years in the Senate for Obama, 2 years in the House of Reps for Lincoln).

Plus it seems silly to hold up Lincoln as some icon of bipartisanship, his election caused half the country into open revolt. When Obama has to use the military to reconquer Virginia, then we can examine which of the two Presidents was more derisive.

Who, exactly, is embarrassed by the more or less average amount of time he spends on vacation?

I was just going to post that. Strange how people are able to believe what they want. You can look things up nowadays.

He was asked what book he’d take to the White House, not what book he’d read.
He said Lincoln because Lincoln was the most beloved President, not because he had any plan to administer like him. Obama, like every one of our presidents, was a politician.
A case can be made for every President, even the ones before Lincoln, governing like Lincoln. I wouldn’t read too much into it.

Best wishes,

There is a strong argument that Lincoln’s character was the perfect one to manage the United States in the Civil War. Many historians wrangle with the issue of “Great Men”, some look at history as threads in which even the greatest men are just strands who cannot truly influence history’s march.

In Lincoln’s case, I think that there was some idea as to the sort of man he was when he was elected. I think that is why the South seceded, despite all his words to the contrary I think people knew Lincoln wasn’t going to be a Buchanan or Pierce, he wasn’t going to kow tow to Southern sensibilities and his Presidency was going to start a long period in which the North became more aggressive at eroding Southern power in the country (an entirely appropriate thing–the South had been disproportionately powerful for many years, and by tirelessly blocking the creation of new Free States kept its power in the Senate at even greater levels of disproportion than is normal in that chamber.)

Unfortunately for the Confederacy, Lincoln’s character was also one of grim determination, in which he would never waver from the final objective. While Lincoln was a good politician in terms of keeping his opponents within his party and administration in line enough that the war effort did not fall apart, Lincoln never let politics push him away from his core goal of keeping the Union together.

Based on what I’ve seen of Obama so far, I think he’d be meeting with Jefferson Davis about right now to draw up a peace treaty and formal extension of diplomatic recognition to the Confederate States of America. The difference I see between Obama and Lincoln is Lincoln acquiesced and negotiated as long as it enabled him to continue towards his ultimate goal; Obama has acquiesced and negotiated to the point that he seems to not care about what his original goal even was and has no problem more or less letting his opponents completely derail his attempts at achieving it.

Did you really just equate Obama acquiescing and negotiating with the Republicans with Obama acquiescing and negotiating with Jefferson Davis?

Because, I mean, I don’t really like Republicans, but that’s kind of extreme.

While I appreciate the counter POV, I think both sides of the aisle would agree that Obama is smart enough not to mention a book he hadn’t read, as the one he’d be sure to take to the White House.

I think I’ve figured out why the Republicans find Obama’s vacation stats embarrassing:

The pattern seems consistent: modern Republicans take more vacation than Democrats do.

If by “meeting” you mean “sending a team of Secret Service to assassinate him”, then I think you’re right.

I think he’s saying that Obama doesn’t seem to stand for anything and he isn’t really sure if Obama ever stood for anything.

If the OP is suggesting that this president doesn’t generally demonize his opponents (the ‘inviting dissenting voices’ meme), that’s sort of true, unless you view the actions of his staff/attack dogs. For example, just today, Sebelius made some outrageous death-panel claims of her own, spewing lies to advance the administration’s agenda. She has since backtracked on her bullshit.

That seems par for the course for most presidents, by the way. Let their buddies do the attacking, and stay above the fray.

Whether reducing Medicare payouts would cause people with cancer to die sooner is a debatable opinion. Whether Obamacare includes a panel of government bureaucrats that make decisions about the end-of-life care everyone receives is a demonstrable untruth. The two are not the same. [/hijack]

While I’m reluctant to engage in your hijack, I’ll point out that that’s a lefty, who writes for a lefty paper, and his conclusion was that she was throwing bombs (it wasn’t stated as an opinion).

The relevance to the OP is that Obama (like most presidents) has his henchmen (and in this case, henchbroads) do his dirty work.

Quite the contrary, I bet.
He is smart enough to know that when he is asked a question like that, it was either a planted (by his people) question or there would not be a follow up question.
Dunno, tho. Never met the lad.

Best wishes,

Did you read your citation?

Just couldn’t let this slide. Even if the Washington Post is considered “lefty” by the writers at The Corner and RedState it is in fact nothing of the kind. In the years I’ve been following it (since the start of Iraqi Freedom) I would say it has been the big newspaper consistently most prone to run negative pieces on the administration currently in office, true for both Bush admin and Obama admin.

Maybe that should not be a big surprise, since washington post is the washington newspaper and reports on washington, i guess.

On the subject of Mr Glenn Kessler then, disregarding whatever party he publicly voices fealty to (I’m not privy), his “fact-checking” usually reads as opinion pieces of a mainstream conservative bent. Case in point, he had to defer to Steve King (R-Ny) in order to decide if the president deserves any part of the credit for killing Osama Bin Laden. His resume is solid though, but I can’t for the life of me understand how they got to the point where they publish run-of-the-mill bloviating and market it as fact checking.

As a side note, I am amazed at the extent to which conservatives have conned not only the country, but themselves, into buying the “liberal media” narrative and making it some kind of conventional knowledge.

I’m not sure if you recall 2003, but I can vouch that you could not find a single week back then when you saw as many negative, critical, pessimistic headlines, as in any given week ater the honeymoon of the first few months of the Obama administration.

Granted, before Obama was inaugurated the deficit for his first year was already projected at one trillion dollars, the public had lost confidence in the war against Al Qaeda and patience with our two ongoing wars, and his first month the economy lost 900k jobs. Coming on top of the scandals and misdeeds of the Bush years it was no great surprise that the country, and therefore the press, was gonna be in a grumpy mood.

So if you think that Obama has been getting a free ride by the press, you’ve been drinking way to much kool aid.

And to even get the idea that the Washington Post is self-evidently a “lefty” newspaper is, frankly, ludicrous.