Monday, January 2


Interesting column by Ron Brownstein comparing Bush to former president James K. Polk.

The war also profoundly divided the country. The opposition Whigs, who would mostly dissolve into the Republican Party in the 1850s, accused the president of "deliberately provoking a war and then lying about Mexico's responsibility for starting the conflict," wrote historian Joel H. Silbey in his recent book "Storm Over Texas."

Among the Whigs most outraged by Polk's conduct was a freshman U.S. House member from Illinois named Abraham Lincoln. Doris Kearns Goodwin picks up the story in her panoramic new book "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln." Shortly after taking office, Goodwin writes, Lincoln voted for a Whig resolution that charged the president with "unnecessarily and unconstitutionally" initiating the war.

Here're the money quotes:

To accept Polk's justifications, Lincoln later complained, would be to "allow the president to invade a neighboring nation … whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary."
Polk failed to understand the cost to his presidency, and to the nation, of governing in a manner that was increasingly seen as championing the priorities of one interest...

A student of history, he's not. Bush is an aged spoiled brat whose only familiarity with history is his own personal one. No matter how he's fouled up things in his past, there's always been someone to blame and someone else to bail him out. Why should he think things will turn out any differently now?

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