May 30, 2004

Eerie Similarities

On this thirtieth of May, the United States is nearly halfway through an election year pursued while in the midst of a great war. Support for the president has reached an all-time low. He has been compared to a baboon, and called a "syphilitic drunkard." His military experience before gaining the presidency consisted of a short term in the state militia, where he displayed little prowess, and he's now responsible for a war that shows every sign of being bogged down into a bloody stalemate, with little to show besides increasing casualty lists.

As one observer has said "The Republicans harp on cowardice, defeatism, lack of patriotism, disloyalty, and even treason among the Democrats. The also hold up [the challenger]'s record military record to ridicule. For their part, the Democrats emphasize the 'ignorance, incompetence, and corruption of [the current] administration' and counted on war-weariness to get them votes. [The president] has been subjected to almost unprecedented abuse in the opposition press ever since becoming president. During his campaign for re-election, however, [the] vituperation reached new heights."

We are speaking, of course, about President Abraham Lincoln, a man who is dedicated to reversing a major Supreme Court decision (Dred Scott vs. Sanford), and has impinged on citizens basic civil rights by suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus. His proclamation of September, 1862 'gave full power to close down "hostile, anti war newspapers," and to arrest individuals for protesting the war.' According to Chief Justice Taney, such action violates the Constitutional separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches.

Additionally, he has yet -despite repeated requests- to provide a plan to bring the South back into the Union. In fact, the president (in typical simplistic fashion) calls such a plan "a merely pernicious abstraction."

President Lincoln served less than three months in the Illinois militia, thirty years ago. In fact, not only did he never face combat, he mustered out early from his last enlistment. In contrast to this we have the Democratic candidate, former general George McClellan, who graduated second in his class from West Point in 1846, and won three brevets for gallant conduct during the Mexican War. McClellan further distinguished himself as an observer of the Crimean War.

The Democratic Party platform is understandably critical of Lincoln's reliance on military measures, and states in part "that after four years of failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war .. immediate efforts be made for the cessation of hostilities ... and peace be restored on the basis of a Federal Union of the states." In other words, to seek a diplomatic solution that addresses the root causes of the current conflict.

Former Ohio congressman Clement Vallandigham, banished from the United States by Lincoln and currently living in Canada, had this to say about his persecutor: "You have not conquered the South; you never will. Money you have expended without limit, blood poured out like water ... Defeat, death, taxation, and sepulchres ... these are your only trophies."

President Lincoln also faces criticism with his conduct of the war, once thought to be one of his strongest issues with voters. The euphoria induced by the great victories at Vicksburg and Gettysburg nearly a year ago has dissipated into a more-realistic realization that the Army has made little progress since then.

General Sherman's attempt to bring Confederate General Johnston to battle have been nearly fruitless, until last week's attack at New Hope Church. This battle lasted three days, until Sherman -in a de facto admission of failure- decided to try to avoid Johnston by maneuvering around his right flank, instead of defeating the rebel in battle.

General Grant has met similar obstacles in the East. Despite the high hopes created by his promotion to Lieutenant General two months ago, Grant is currently mired in a part of Virginia appropriately called the Wilderness. The Union General in chief has spent the last three weeks doggedly attacking Robert E. Lee with little to show for it except increased casualties. In fact, in only three battles (Wilderness, 5/5-5/7; Spotsylvania, 5/10-5/12; Drewry's Bluff, 5/12-5/16) Federal forces have suffered over thirty-two thousand casualties in less than two weeks.

If events continue in this manner, Mr. Lincoln can expect to be soundly defeated this fall, as a rebuke for his terrible conduct of the war.

Hat tip to Dean's World

Posted by Ted at May 30, 2004 3:15 PM