Friday, June 19, 2009

The Real Civil War Analogy

Some people think that Obama is the new Lincoln. Others think he's the second term of Jimmy Carter. They're both wrong.

Barack Obama is serving the first term of George McClellan, Lincoln's do-nothing general who ran on the Democrat appeasement platform in 1864.

The similarities don't stop at their party: both were first-class politicians, both had persecution complexes, both blamed the previous administration for all their problems, both talked big but never particularly accomplished anything, and both sat on their hands when action is called for.

We don't specifically know whether McClellan would have intervened to save sailing ship manufacturers during the rise of steamboats, only to see them go bankrupt anyways. But he probably would have. Whether or not he would have also turned their management over to scurvy-ridden merchant seaman we can only guess.

And we can also only guess at whether or not McClellan would have pissed on his most ardent supporters and told them it's raining, but he did run as a pro-war candidate with an appeasement platform, on an appeasement ticket, with a peace advocate as a running mate. The will of his party, at least, seemed clear on this issue.

Whether those who wished to continue the war would have slavishly followed McClellan after he signed away half the US to the Confederate States of America is unknown, but I like to think they'd have shown a little more sand than the gays, Jews, businessmen, and peace advocates who Obama has so far spurned as he enforces the DOMA, demonizes Israel, socializes the economy, and continues Bush policies in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo.

The only real mystery is why Republican elites didn't flock to McClellan in 1864, pronouncing him a "man of great character" and "somebody we can do business with" despite obvious signs to the contrary.

They must have had some kind of commitment to principles or something back then.

How novel.