Time’s Laughable Lincoln Whitewash

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The current (July 4) issue of Time magazine has a laughable cover story entitled “Uncovering the Real Abe Lincoln.” The “real” Lincoln, according to Time’s editors, is even more god-like than his idolators in the history profession have made him out to be thus far!

The photo of Abe on the cover is said to display “a certain gentleness around his eyes.” And “His face was a map to his soul,” we are informed by the soul mapping authorities at Time.

The bulk of the whitewash consists of several articles by various Lincoln cultists, described as “writers on the verge of publishing some major works” that continue “delineating [Abe’s] exceptional talents.” First there’s the confessed plagiarist Doris Kearns Goodwin who informs us about “Lincoln’s political genius” that was supposedly characterized by “empathy,” “humor,”magnanimity,” “generosity,” “perspective,” self-control,” “balance,” and “a social conscience.” (Has Time ever praised Jesus Christ or Moses so lavishly)?

One Douglas Wilson swoons over Abe’s “rhetorical powers.” Most people would think that anyone suffering from severe mental depression would be unfit for the highest political office in the land, but not Joshua Shenk. Unlike virtually all other humans, Lincoln’s depression supposedly “made him stronger.” Senator Barack Obama claims to be able to “see something in Lincoln’s eyes” that was the key to his “enduring power to inspire.”

As with virtually all “Lincoln scholarship” Time’s cover story is almost entirely composed of this kind of mushy, fact-free, ahistorical, amateurish pschology and idol worshipping. You will be hard pressed to find a single fact about Lincoln’s actual behavior in office. You will learn, however, that there are at least 160 professional “Lincoln impressionists” and that Mary Todd Lincoln, who was eventually sent to an insane asylum, was Abe’s “full political partner,” Hillary Clinton style.

3:25 pm on June 27, 2005