October 28, 2012

The NYT illustrates its endorsement of Obama with a photo of Abe Lincoln.

There's something so tragically lame about this:



To be fair, it clicks through to a gallery of past endorsements that makes it glaringly clear that the Times always endorses the Democratic candidate. You have to scroll back over a half century to get a different result.

But keep scrolling. Once you get down past mid-20th century, there are plenty of Republicans mixed in, and if you'll scroll down to the bottom, you'll get to that famous face they selected to illustrate today's editorial, Abraham Lincoln. A Republican.

The Times endorsed Lincoln in 1860 and again, when he ran for reelection, in 1864. The photo used in today's Obama endorsement is the 1864 Lincoln. How much the man aged in 4 years! Here is the 1860 Lincoln:



The 1860 endorsement — PDF — is a fascinating read:
It will not be easy... for Mr. Lincoln to do much mischief, even if he should be disposed. We have great confidence in his pacific and conciliatory disposition. He seems to us much more like to be too good-natured and tolerant towards his opponents, than not enough so. Rail-splitting is not an exciting occupation. It does not tend to cultivate the angry passions of the heart...
The rail-splitting metaphor is then worked into the opinion that Lincoln will govern as a moderate pragmatist.

The 2 photos of Barack Obama, 2008 and 2012, differ much less from each other than the 2 pics of Lincoln. And the old 2008 endorsement doesn't contain any vivid writing telling us what sort of mind is produced by the the work of community organizing and how Obama will govern in the manner of a community organizer.

51 comments:

Jane said...

I noticed that on the Memeorandum thread as well. Mr. Obama, if anything, is less conciliatory and good-natured than the "we must be friends" Mr. Lincoln.

My old history prof. and author of several good books on Lincoln got so fired up he wrote this last year:

Mr. President, You're No Lincoln.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Apparently we'll be needing Obama to free the slaves.

Mogget said...

I wonder how organizations such as the NYT will deal with the loss of their power to influence elections and society's opinions. I'd say they did everything possible to prevent what is about to occur. The only excuse they might hide behind is Benghazi....

Hagar said...

MMr. Lincoln was a mainstream American Whig and would have governed as a "moderate pragmatist" if the Democrats had not started shooting.

mojavehicular said...

From Jackie Kennedy's televised tour of the White House, some photos indicating "what the White House did to President Lincoln."

EMD said...

Oh come now, Professor, you can't change horses midsewer.

Maguro said...

No one does tragic lameness like the NYT. In business-speak, it's their "core competency".

campy said...

The 2 photos of Barack Obama, 2008 and 2012, differ much less from each other than the 2 pics of Lincoln.

Lincoln worked very hard during his 1st four years.

Pogo said...

The NYT should just illustrate their endorsements with a photo of the DNC logo.

I doubt that in 100 years from now, anyone will derive much from the Obama endorsement than a chuckle or an eye roll.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Nearly 50 years after passage of the Civil Rights Act, all Americans’ rights are cheapened by the right wing’s determination to deny marriage benefits to a selected group of us.

If you were reading the NYT and you didn't know the actual facts-- but I repeat myself-- would you have guessed, from reading this, that gay marriage was not part of the Civil Rights Act?

Ann Althouse said...

"From Jackie Kennedy's televised tour of the White House, some photos indicating "what the White House did to President Lincoln.""

Thanks for that link.

Jackie seems stranger as the years wear on. I remember people loving her White House tour and finding her immensely attractive. Now, to me, she seems like a zombie. It's very obvious, I think, that her lines are completely memorized, and she's simply trying to get through them. There doesn't seem to be a shred of real feeling or thought coming from her.

ricpic said...

"With malice toward none, with charity for all..."

Do those words spell Barack Obama or what?!

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Bravo Ann Althouse! Great perspective on the NYT, despite the current fawning partisanship of the paper.

You, sir, are no Lincoln.

Erika said...

by the right wing’s determination to deny marriage benefits to a selected group of us.

I, too, am saddened and sickened by the continued denial of marriage benefits to brother/sister pairs and to polyamorous arrangements.

ricpic said...

...polyamorous arrangements...

Is that like a man a woman a python and a goat?

Hagar said...

Jackie O! made a deal with old Joe that she would stay married to Jack and not make waves, and he would see that she and her children would never want.

She kept her bargain.

wyo sis said...

Charles Collingwood isn't much less zombie like. I think a lot of is is the difference in how television is done now compared to then. It clearly says she is narrating which indicates a script.

edutcher said...

The Gray Lady was as myopic then as now.

How do you miss, "A house divided against itself cannot stand"?

PS Jackie was an Auchincloss as well as a Bouvier. They were hardly impoverished.

Darrell said...

The Obama portrait doesn't tell the whole story. If you could see the palms of his hands, all those golf calluses would bring tears to your eyes.

jd said...

It seems tragically lame bc they are endorsing Obama, not Romney. If it were the other way round, you'd be applauding the nyt endorsement tradition, to be sure.

You're tragically lame, althouse

Alex said...

LOL... yeah let's compare Obama to Lincoln's first term.

Hagar said...

The Bouvier's notions of poverty is on a different level from yours or mine, edutcher.

mojavehicular said...

"Jackie seems stranger as the years wear on"

Indeed she does. Stranger, and stewing with hidden malice. The first time I saw this I thought she seemed like a lovely person, cultured and soft-spoken. Now I can't help imagining that after the taping, she retreated to her diary to record what a dipshit Collingwood had been.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

There's something so "tragically lame" about the pride one takes in one's very longstanding credibility and reputation. So tragically lame.

Almost as lame as bashing it on the alternative basis of nothing.

But I see your point. The Times should instead strive for the credibility and notorious reputation for incisive journalistic investigation that Althouse has achieved with Jessica Valenti-gate, salt truck honker-gate and Madison public protest-gate. How can one deny the massive, groundbreaking social impact that resulted from those exposes?

O Ritmo Segundo said...

You have to scroll back over a half century to get a different result.

Duh. Republicans had nothing noble to stand for after their conclusive Southern Strategy to offset the anticipated electoral losses caused by Civil Rights. Which was passed by a Democratic president after all, anyway.

McTriumph said...

The New York Times endorsed Castro in the 60s, assuring us he was a democrat, but by todays standards he is.
They assured us in the first half of the 20th century that the Soviet Union was a workers paradise. They are apologist for everything Anti-American. I quit reading the NYT in college for that reason.

I do think the election of Romney as President will be good for the NYT's business. They will be busy covering all the Special Prosecutors looking for the truth concerning political payoffs, Benghazi, green energy, Wall St., Fast & Furious, etc.. We will make the failed Obama administration the most transparent in history.

McTriumph said...

Ritmo
Would that be the same Civil Rights Bill introduced by Republicans for decades that the democrats block for decades prior to passage?

MadisonMan said...

It's very obvious, I think, that her lines are completely memorized, and she's simply trying to get through them. There doesn't seem to be a shred of real feeling or thought coming from her.

I just hear a very nervous young woman.

McTriumph said...

Jacky was just jonesing, are there any Kennedys that weren't alcoholics or junkies besides Rose?

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Would that be the same Civil Rights Bill introduced by Republicans for decades that the democrats block for decades prior to passage?

Signed into law by a Democrat, the same party that first hired blacks in the White House (FDR's administration).

The fact that they were willing to lose their Southern wing over it while the Republicans regained those voters through "coded" appeals to racial issues (The government is being NICER to blacks than they should be) is to the Republicans' disgrace. Read Lee Atwater.

Or just plain go bother to learn any history, period.

Thanks.

dc said...

I suppose comparing Obama to Lincoln is better than comparing him to Carter.

Mamie said...

There's something so tragically lame about this

I’m with you on the lame, but “tragically”? More like uproariously lame.

McTriumph said...

Gitmo
Southern strategy? You might learn some history, check out the Electoral College maps from the 60s and 70s. Nixon's racist southern strategy?, that argument might work if we pretend the Vietnam War never happened and Nixon's opponents weren't Humphrey and Mcgovern and the Democrats weren't wearing the war like a cheap suit.

Amexpat said...

Jackie seems stranger as the years wear on. I remember people loving her White House tour and finding her immensely attractive. Now, to me, she seems like a zombie

I think part of it is her style of speech which is pretty much the same as her relatives in the documentary Grey Gardens. Perhaps growing up in a sheltered existence gives that dreamy, out of touch cadence to her speech.

McTriumph said...

"Perhaps growing up in a sheltered existence gives that dreamy, out of touch cadence to her speech."

or syringe cocktails from the famous Dr. Feelgood

O Ritmo Segundo said...

You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

Lee Atwater. Key GOP strategist of the 1970s and 80s.

McTriumph said...

In 1954 it wasn't republicans saying "nigger, nigger......", but it was President Eisenhower integrating schools.

"States' Rights" is just another term for Federalism, you know, the Constitution. Only fools believe the New South is anything like the Old South. To explain Nixon's and Reagan's landslides on racism doesn't explain non southern states participating.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Lincoln in 1860 looks like Freddie Mercury.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

"States' Rights" is just another term for Federalism, you know, the Constitution. Only fools believe the New South is anything like the Old South. To explain Nixon's and Reagan's landslides on racism doesn't explain non southern states participating.

"State's rights" might mean different things to different people, but it meant the same thing to Jefferson Davis, Abraham Lincoln, George Wallace and Strom Thurmond. As for Reagan and Nixon, you are proposing that a coalition of policies and constituents (some racist, some not) is the same thing as saying that everyone voting for them had the exact same, non-racist goal. To propose such a thing in a two-party system is to be utterly ignorant of politics. It's like saying that the religious right, blue collar workers or libertarians don't exist just because they were two crucial parts of the Republican party in 1980.

Whatever you think, the "New South" is still certainly much more racist than the "New North". History has lingering consequences and doesn't get erased everywhere, at the same rate, overnight. Progress has its upside.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

In 1954 it wasn't republicans saying "nigger, nigger......", but it was President Eisenhower integrating schools.

I know. It was the 1970s and 1980s that they had the decency of waiting until before doing that. How nice of those non-welfare "queens".

Lyle said...

John A. Cohen,

Lincoln wasn't gay though.

David-2 said...

ORS: President Wilson segregated federal employees and kept blacks in black-only units in the military and kept them out of combat. Not very surprising, really, as his father owned slaves.

Damn those Republicans! Oh, wait."

O Ritmo Segundo said...

David, just because Republicans can only do one thing at a time, doesn't mean that Democrats have that problem. Harry Truman issued the order to desegregate the military. If Republicans are so eternally awesome and infallible in your book, why didn't they do so before that? A bunch of Republicans could have issued that order, but didn't. But then, they never do anything wrong so there must have been a good reason. Only Democrats ever fall short in anything.

McTriumph said...

Ritmo
I've lived in the old south and new south, a large portion of the new south have migrated there from the north and west to escape the blue model, even blacks. It would also be interesting to compare the numbers of black elected officials in the south to the so called non-racist north. Interestingly, I never heard a middle class person use the N word till I was in the north, that word was reserved usage for lowest of the low white trash in the south.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

It would also be interesting to compare the numbers of black elected officials in the south to the so called non-racist north.

I'm not sure of how interesting it would be. There simply are and always were more blacks in the South per capita - it would make sense that as political conditions improve, their representation would reflect that.

Interestingly, I never heard a middle class person use the N word till I was in the north, that word was reserved usage for lowest of the low white trash in the south.

Race-relations are more subtle than that. In the northeast I find that people of any race are comfortable talking about and poking fun at certain cultural behaviors/traits - there seems to be less of a fear that they are done to reinforce hierarchical stereotypes. Of course, there is always a line too far against which it can be pushed - as Don Imus, for example, crossed. Howard Stern and the other shock jocks and even regular radio jockeys are comfortable going there, there seems to be less fear that it would be one-sided or intentionally demeaning.

In the South I have heard lots of subtle talk however that reflects racial animosities in general. In the northeast we seem to mix it up here without fear of aggravating some sort of underlying tension. A Southern girl I was dating noticed with some sense of surprise that inter-racial dating was much more openly pursued (not only "tolerated") here in the north. To me I didn't see what the big deal or statement was. She also spoke with her friends of "A-A's" and so forth as some acknowledgement of a cultural divide that seems to matter less to us here in the north.

Just my personal observations (although mixed with some acknowledgment of history) so I could be wrong.

McGehee said...

When I told my wife the last Republican the NYT endorsed was Eisenhower -- before either of us were born -- she expressed ... absolutely no amazement.

Kelly said...

I'm waiting to see if my podunk newspaper, The Fort Wayne Journel Gazette, endorses Obama again. Much hinges on their selection. If they go with Romney, I might just start taking their rag once more. I miss the inserts and restaurant reviews.

What drove me away wasn't their fawning over Obama, that was to be expected. It was their snarky editorial to prolifers when the last abortion doctor was murdered. They said since they weren't inundated with letters against the shooting, they assumed prolifers approved of the shooting. I canceled.

Endorsing Romney would show me that they aren't totally suicidal.

chickelit said...

Obama is like Lincoln. Right.

McTriumph said...

Ritmo
I'm Irish Catlick white trash, I grew up in Greenville Miss, San Antone Tx and was born in Panama City Fla. The Col. taught me to respect human beings , even if you had to kill them. In three wars, mostly yellow people for YOU. In 1960,in Greenville,Miss. the three Musketeers were me, the son of a fighter pilot, Johnny B. the son of a rich manufacturer and a piece of shit black kid, son of a sharecropper (does that reinforce your stereotype). That POS black kid's mother was our maid, I never understood why we six kids had a nannie while my mother was out doing charity work. I just had a thought, you don't deserve the education about race I was going to deliver, One should always treat another human being with dignity and hope they treat himself with dignity.

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