When I talk with my Republican friends about Obama, the conversation almost certainly turns to the notion of “experience.” And my standard answer has been this: If you were to line up the 1860 resumes of Edward Bates, Salmon Chase, William Seward and Abraham Lincoln and make a decision based strictly upon that, you wouldn’t have chosen Lincoln. And when you compare the Obama and Lincoln resumes, there is some similarity. Lincoln had served two years in Congress and eight years in the Illinois legislature. Obama is in his fourth year in Congress, served eight years in the Illinois Senate and had endured a defeat in his first run for Congress.Howey's decision to limit the experience to their legislative service is quite self-serving. A presidential candidate brings not only his political experience to the office, but his entire life experience. On the broader score, Obama can't hold a candle to Lincoln's experience.
Lincoln grew up poor, the son of of uneducated farmers. His mother died when he was nine years old. Unlike Obama, there were no prestigious prep schools and private colleges, to earn a good education. Lincoln educated himself. Lincoln married and lost three of his four children to sickness. His wife often suffered from irrational thoughts and was suspected of being a spy for the Confederacy because of her slave-owning Kentucky parents. Lincoln suffered severe bouts of depression which he had to learn to self-medicate.
Lincoln had to endure jokes his entire life about his gangly body and his ugly face. He captured the imaginations of his listeners with his gift for words and speeches he wrote himself without a teleprompter, not from a pretty face and fancy suits.
A God-fearing man, Lincoln never joined a church to prove his religious beliefs to anyone and certainly not one that promoted racial division and contempt for the U.S. government.
Unlike Obama, Lincoln volunteered for military service, becoming a Captain in the Illinois militia during the Black Hawk War.
Unlike Obama, Lincoln rose to the top of the legal profession without a Harvard law degree. He represented little people and big corporations alike and handled both civil and criminal cases. He earned a reputation as one of the best lawyers in America. Not a mere community organizer who never litigated a single case but who instead hung his shingle out at a law firm which exploited his connections to win millions in government housing money for its politically-connected clients who exploited impoverished residents of his own legislative district, all the while feigning complete ignorance of what was taking place.
Unlike Obama, Lincoln risked his political career by opposing a very popular war as a member of Congress, a move that forced him to take a hiatus from politics.
Unlike Obama, Lincoln took an unpopular position with many of his constituents by opposing slavery and fighting for its abolition. Remember, he lost that Senate race after those famous debates with Stephen Douglas, which captured the attention of an entire nation. When Lincoln was first asked to take a seat in the U.S. Senate representing Illinois, he deferred the seat to a Democrat-turned Republican. Can you imagine Obama waiting his turn for anything? Lincoln would help form the modern day Republican Party, founded upon the notion that all men are created equal.
Yes, Lincoln did more than talk about civil rights. He fought for civil rights and died for it. Obama talks about a single ethics bill he authored. Shame on you, Brian Howey, for even thinking about comparing the experience of Abraham Lincoln to Barack Obama.
UPDATE: Howey has company. Al Gore made the same comparison at tonight's convention. ABC New reports: "Gore also compared Obama to Abraham Lincoln, saying that "before he entered the White House, Abraham Lincoln’s experience in elective office consisted of eight years in his state legislature in Springfield, Ill., and one term in Congress –- during which he showed the courage and wisdom to oppose the invasion of another country, that was popular when it started, but later condemned by history."