Obama as Lincoln: Mask and Mirror

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Ron English, the self-styled “Robin Hood of Madison Avenue” who specializes in “liberating” commercial billboards and defacing them (albeit artistically) with his anticapitalist messages, has painted a portrait of Obama as Lincoln: The President’s thick lips, crinkled brow, and eyes sparkling with a preternatural intelligence are seamlessly merged with the high forehead, biblical beard, and absurd ears of the Great Emancipator. Obama-Lincoln looks out at us, almost but not quite grinning with the sweetness of his victory and the knowledge that so many, like Mr. English, view his election as their own personal emancipation from eight years of misery. Indeed, the Lincoln meme has gone viral, with references to the comparison ranging from the lowliest pajama-clad blogger to the esteemed editors of Newsweek. The latter declare that “It is the season to compare Barack Obama to Abraham Lincoln,” and house hacks Evan Thomas and Richard Wolffe take it from there to paint a portrait of the multi-culti messiah that has all the earmarks of a North Korean ode to the Dear Leader:

Two thin men from rude beginnings, relatively new to Washington but wise to the world, bring the nation together to face a crisis. Both are superb rhetoricians, both geniuses at stagecraft and timing. Obama, like Lincoln and unlike most modern politicians, even writes his own speeches . . .

Two thin men? What normal person would make such a comparison? To our elites, thinness is a sign of moral virtue. Here is a President who goes to the gym every day and shoots hoops with the best of them: A penumbra of health radiates from his person like the glow of sanctity. Evans and Wolffe don’t just acknowledge the cosmetic superficiality that got Obama elected: They celebrate it. According to Newsweek, Obama is the New Lincoln because both are thin, geniuses at stagecraft, and write a lot of their own material — a rationale that also makes Obama the New Michael Jackson.

The Lincolnian legacy was constantly reiterated by the Obamaites as they readied themselves for Inauguration Day, and “a new birth of freedom” is their theme song. As to what this freedom consists of, it depends on whom you ask. Obama is the perfect demagogue; his followers project their own hopes and desires onto the blankness of his expression.

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Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.

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