Abraham Lincoln was NOT A Third Party Candidate, Dammit!

This has always been a pet poli -sci nerd peeve of mine, even more so now that Gary Johnson supporters are using it. Let’s review some historical facts, shall we?

  1. The two major parties in America from 1833-1854 were the Democrats and the Whigs. The last Whig majority in the House was the 30th Congress (1847-1849) and their last Senate majority was the 28th Congress (1843-1845). The Whigs were annihilated in the presidential election of 1852, carrying only 4 states with a total of 42 electoral votes for Winfield Scott versus 27 states and 254 electoral votes for Franklin Pierce. Clearly, the party was already on its last legs.
  2. There were four candidates for the presidency in 1860: Lincoln for the Republicans, his longtime rival Stephen A. Douglas for the Democrats, sitting Vice President John C. Breckenridge for a breakaway faction of rabidly pro-slavery Southern Democrats, and John Bell for the hastily-assembled “Compromise party,” the Constitutional Unionists. The Whigs couldn’t even drum up a candidate. In fact, they had already been reduced to lamely endorsing the Know Nothings in 1856;
  3. The Republicans were already a major force in Congress, despite having only been formed in 1854. The 34th Congress (1855-1857) started with 9 Republican Senators and only 8 Whigs; it ended with 13 Republicans and 7 Whigs. In the House, all of the non-Democratic members united in an Opposition Party. The 35th Congress (1857-1859) ended with 20 Republican senators and no Whigs; 92 Republican House members and no Whigs. At the time of the 1860 election, Congress had a majority of 26 Republican senators and 116 Republican House members. Again, there were no Whigs left.
  4. By any reasonable measure, then, the two major political parties in America by at least 1860 were the Democrats and the Republicans. Lincoln was not by any stretch of the imagination, a third party candidate.

Rant completed.

Published in: on October 11, 2016 at 8:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Rating the Presidents

In honor of Presidents Day, my votes for the top 5 best and worst presidents (revised after some discussions):

The Best

1) George Washington:  the presidency was designed with him in mind and he gets the nod solely for the fact that every single thing he did in office established precedents that continue to this day.  The United States would be a different place today if anyone but him had been the first chief executive.

2)  Abraham Lincoln:  one of the few presidents of whom it can be said that he saved the nation.  Without Lincoln, the United States of America would not exist.

3)  Franklin Roosevelt:  the same reason.  In fact, FDR saved the country twice; once from the Depression and again from fascism.

4)  Theodore Roosevelt:  transformed the United States into a world power, reinvigorated the institution of the presidency after decades of torpor following the death of Lincoln, and established the National Park System.

5)  Harry Truman:  ended World War 2 on the best terms available, avoided World War 3 over China and integrated the Armed Forces, thus laying the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement.

The Worst

1)  Richard M. Nixon:  corrupt, venal, paranoid and vicious.  The severe damage he did to American politics and the presidency, and the brutal dividing lines he carved into American culture remain with us today.  This, plus the senseless cynical loss of life in Southeast Asia more than drown out positive accomplishments like the opening to China.

2)  James Buchanan:  feckless and incompetent.  Dithered while the Civil War erupted around him and took actions at the very beginning of the war that come close to treason.

3)  Warren Harding:  one of, if not the most corrupt administrations in American history, plus began the isolationism that nearly lost the world to fascism ten years after he died.

4)  Andrew Jackson:  set the pattern of brutal military action against Indian tribes that would determine American policy for the next 50 years

5)  Ulysses S. Grant:  not really fair, since he wasn’t personally corrupt but his weakness led to an incredibly corrupt administration that linked the Republican Party with the robber barons for decades.

Published in: on February 20, 2012 at 6:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

George Washington: America-Hating Socialist

Good article about George Washington’s Administration, it’s economic policies, and the tendency to conflate “capitalism” (meaning our current syndicalist system) and “America” or “democracy”.  Puts me in mind of an Abraham Lincoln quote a colleague recently used on Facebook:  “The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty. Plainly, the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of liberty.”

Published in: on August 16, 2010 at 2:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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As the Republican Party dwindles into obscurity as a regional party of the Deep South, they are finding it harder and harder to avoid ugly blatant displays of racism.  It is starting to look like the ignominious beginning of the end for the party of Abraham Lincoln.

Published in: on December 29, 2008 at 5:27 pm  Comments (1)  
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Today in History…

…Abraham Lincoln is born in a one-room log cabin in what is now LaRue County, Kentucky (1809)
Published in: on February 13, 2008 at 6:53 am  Comments (15)  

Racing to the Bottom

The moral and intellectual bankruptcy of conservatism continues, as they scramble to justify granting Pharaoh-like powers to the president. The smaller the Republic Party gets, the meaner they get. The Party that produced Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt is well on its way to becoming a handful of paranoids with poor personal hygiene, huddled in their mother’s basement with tinfoil on their heads whispering darkly about “conspiracies” and “traitors.”

Published in: on May 4, 2007 at 8:12 am  Leave a Comment  

Let God Sort ‘Em Out!

Orcinus has a typically thoughtful piece on how the recent imaginary Lincoln quote spewed on the House Floor by Cong. Don Young ties into his overall thesis on “eliminationist” rhetoric on the Right. And that pretty much fits in with my recent column on the ongoing degeneration of the Republic Party into an unholy combination of Peronism and the John Birch Society, only less charming.

Published in: on February 18, 2007 at 3:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Craddick Beats House Into Submission

Craven Republicans beg for mercy from their newly re-annointed Dread Overlord as he is carried into the Royal Chamber on a golden litter borne by 14 stout Democratic bootlickers. Once again, from the Dick Cheney White House, to Tom DeLay, to Tom Craddick, we see very clearly what it takes to be a Republican today: have your spine removed and become a lickspittle minion. That rumbling sound you hear? That’s Abraham Lincoln spinning in his grave at the transformation of the GOP into a gang of cowardly, toadying sycophants. Pathetic.

Authoritarians of a Feather…

Eric’s Lyceum has a typically thoughtful piece on Putin and the notion of Law vs. Order. In reading it, I noticed the similarities between Putin’s Russia and Bush’s America becoming painfully apparent: the fetishizing of authority, the Good Ole Boy Corporate corruption, the downgrading of independent media and the stiffling of dissent, the never-ending “war on terror” as an excuse to erode civil liberties. Of course, Putin is much further along (and is wildly popular in his country), putting me in mind of Lincoln’s comment, “When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”

That Rumbling You Felt Earlier Today?

That was Abraham Lincoln spinning in his grave. Special thanks to Sam Johnson, Joe Barton, Michael Conway, Mac Thornberry, and Ron Paul for showing their true commitment to the struggle for civil rights. Honorable mention goes to Pete Sessions, who couldn’t even be bothered to show up.

Published in: on July 14, 2006 at 10:29 am  Leave a Comment