On Monday, during a stop on his supposedly non-campaign bus tour of the Midwest, President Obama made an absurd claim regarding the treatment he received from his political opponents (emphasis added):
“When you listen to what the Federalists said about the Anti-Federalists, and the names that Jefferson called Hamilton and back and forth — I mean those guys were tough,” Obama said. “Lincoln — they used to talk about him almost as bad as they talk about me. So democracy has never been for the faint of heart.”
Interestingly, Governor Palin had visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum as part of her “One Nation” bus tour just the day before President Obama made this absurd claim, and she has tweeted the following response:
Obama:”Lincoln-they talked about him almost as bad as they talk about me” Mr. Pres- tour Lincoln Museum anti-Abe display;try repeating claim
Governor Palin was likely referencing an exhibit in the museum called “The Whispering Gallery”. The museum’s website describes this exhibit:
The Whispering Gallery is a twisted, nightmarish hallway where you will hear brutally unkind things said about Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln during their early months in Washington. On the walls are cruel caricatures and barbed political cartoons that attack the Lincolns.
The charges made by opponents and grotesque caricatures of President Lincoln drawn by political cartoonists during this politically heated time in our nation’s history, as displayed at this museum, would make the political rhetoric of today pale in comparison. The museum curators and planners have made this section of the museum very dim, and the lighting eerily illuminates the reproduced newspaper headlines and cartoons coupled with chilling audio give museum visitors a multi-sensory perspective of what President Lincoln faced.
The museum is just a few short blocks away from the Old State Capitol building in Springfield where then candidate Obama made his announcement for President and also announced Joe Biden as his running mate and has been open since early in then Senator Obama’s term. It would serve President Obama and all Americans well to have a better understanding of who Abraham Lincoln is and what he faced.
Governor Palin described President Lincoln in her Restoring Honor Rally speech nearly a year ago as ” the Great Emancipator who secured our union at the moment of its most perilous time and freed those whose captivity was our greatest shame.” Even in times as politically charged as now and even when Americans stand at all points across the political spectrum, it is important to have this kind of proper perspective and understanding of historical context.