Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Prediction: Obama will be re-elected

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, March 3, 2011

Does history repeat itself?

If history is any indicator, then President Obama will be re-elected.

The astute political observer will note that political events are playing out much like they did during President Clinton‘s first term. There is an angry Republican party whipped up by a vitriolic Speaker of the House, a government shutdown, allegations of a federal government that is too large, a domestic debt that is unmanageable, foreign turmoil, involvement in international armed conflict in the Middle East, anger by Republicans over health care reform, and a mid-term loss to Republicans… it’s uncanny.

Previously, I had written in an entry entitled “House Republicans move to repeal Obama health insurance reforms” that

“Renown presidential historian Michael Beschloss appeared on an episode of The Comedy Channel’s “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart,  shortly after the November 2010 General Election.

There were many Republicans seats gained in the House of Representatives, leading some pundits to question President Obama’s effectiveness after such a loss.

Mr. Beschloss remarked that “The three presidents in recent times who have had midterm loss like this have been Truman, Eisenhower, Bill Clinton. Every single one of them got reelected.

That’s modern history. Let’s examine some older history.

In an October 7, 2010 blog entry entitled “Midd Meets Hockenberry” in Middlebury Magazine – a blog of Middlebury College in Vermont’s Champlain Valley – Emmy & Peabody Award-winning commentator and journalist John Hockenberry shared some equally compelling historical observations:

“He asked the audience, “Does anyone have some change in their pocket? A penny, perhaps?

“After a few audience members pulled out their one-cent pieces, Hockenberry remarked how ironic it was that Lincoln should end up on the copper penny. Why? Because the Copperhead movement was Lincoln’s nemesis for most of his presidency, he said. Also known as the Peace Democrats, the Copperheads opposed the Civil War and advocated restoration of the Union. They controlled the 1864 Democratic national convention and inserted a plank declaring the war a failure. Particularly strong in the Midwest where many families had Southern roots, the Copperheads controlled one chamber in the Illinois Legislature, blocked a bill in Indiana state government, and even saw their candidate, Horatio Seymour, elected governor of New York. (New York’s Seymour should not be confused with our Horatio Seymour, the Middlebury resident and United States senator who lived during the same time.)

““The discourse of the Copperhead movement was very much like the Tea Party movement of today,” Hockenberry said. He cited the typical anti-Lincoln rhetoric: “The war is destroying us”; “Government is growing too fast”; “Too many taxes”; and “Go back to the way it was.” For each slogan from the 1860s, Hockenberry drew an analogy to the Tea Party’s rhetoric about the war in Afghanistan, the TARP program, the size of the federal deficit, and the desire for freedom.

“Lincoln imprisoned one Copperhead leader, Clement L. Vallandigham of Ohio, in an act that Hockenberry said would be akin to President Obama putting Glenn Beck in Sing Sing to silence him today.

“In the 1864 presidential election, the Democratic Party’s candidate was Union General George B. McClellan, whom Lincoln had removed from command of the Army of the Potomac two years earlier. From this historical event Hockenberry drew a comparison to Barack Obama’s recent removal of General Stanley McChrystal as commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

“As November neared, Lincoln’s re-election was very much in doubt. The Copperheads won some primary elections, which Hockenberry likened to the Tea Party’s recent success in Republican primaries. But then what happened? On September 2, 1864, the North won the Battle of Atlanta and the tide of war turned. A Union victory was assured and Lincoln gained credibility. He won re-election handily.

“At that point Hockenberry looked around the room and asked, “What will be the Fall of Atlanta moment that will propel Obama to office in 2012?” Capturing Osama bin Laden? Strengthening the economy? A decisive military victory in the Middle East?

““Does Barack Obama need a Fall of Atlanta moment?” Hockenberry asked. “And perhaps the Fall of Atlanta deprived us of seeing what would have happened to Lincoln. In a way, the 2012 presidential election for Barack Obama will be the conclusion to a story that Lincoln knew in 1864.

I have written about how the new healthcare reform laws benefit everyone, and significantly improves efficiency and savings, and prohibits discrimination (pre-existing conditions), how Congress is re-establishing consumer protections in fiscal markets by requiring safety and security measures in banks, insurance companies and stock brokerage houses, and more. How is any of that bad, evil, mean, nasty, wicked, immoral, unethical, illegal or fiscally irresponsible?

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