President Obama has wrapped himself in the Lincoln legacy ever since his train ride to the inauguration. Yet he is using Lincoln for his own political purposes.
For instance, on Lincoln’s birthday, he spoke in Springfield, Illinois, Lincoln’s home. He used the occasion to say that Lincoln would have supported his [Obama’s] policies. He challenged his audience to embrace his vision of a collective union and reject a “knee-jerk disdain for government.” He continued,
He [Lincoln] recognized that while each of us must do our part, work as hard as we can and be as responsible as we can–in the end, there are certain things we cannot do on our own. . . . There are certain things we can only do together. There are certain things only a union can do.
Lincoln certainly did value the union of the states, but that’s not the same as Obama’s concept. Obama is using Lincoln to attack the idea of federalism, and to promote government involvement in the economy. What we are witnessing is a redefinition of the meaning of “union.” What we are witnessing is a twisting, for partisan political reasons, of Lincoln’s true legacy.