Barack, you may be from Illinois, but you are no Abraham Lincoln. You may be tall and you may be a great speaker, but you lack President Lincoln’s magnanimity and vision. Lincoln, in the waning days of the Civil War, ignored his supporters who wanted revenge on the South and sought reconciliation. His words from his second inaugural address still resonate:
With malice toward none, with charity for all, …let us strive on to finish the work we are in, …to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Barack had his opportunity tonight to start healing the rifts in the Democratic party and, to put it bluntly, he flopped. (CNN is giving the Barack spin, but don’t believe it.) I am told from people who attended the fundraising soiree at the Mayflower Hotel that the One was a dud.
Hillary, ever the good trooper and team player, gave Barack an intro to her big dollar donors and an opportunity to start the healing. But Barack continues to play the role of petulant bore. He gave an uninspired, mechanical speech. The charm exhibited on the campaign trail that left women swooning, was missing in action. Folks from the Hillary camp described the speech as snobbish, arrogant, and boring. But it was Barack’s response to questions from Hillary’s supporters that produced sour bile.
1. What about the Vice President slot? The questioner told Barack that if he named Hillary as the Vice President that the Democrats would be in a position to own the White House for the next 16 years. Barack said nothing to give Clinton supporters hope that he would consider the Senator from New York.
2. Will you help Hillary retire her debt? On this one Barack said he had written a check for $2300 (
note, no check from Michelle UPDATE: according to the AP, Michelle gave a check as well. A good first step.), but that his real interest was getting access to the phone lists of Hillary’s donors and contacts. Hillary supporters at the gathering sat on their hands, their checkbooks, and their lists.
3. What will you do to stop the sexist smear of Hillary? The questioner noted that Barack did nothing to quell the rampant sexist attacks on Hillary during the campaign and that she continues to be brutalized. Barack said, “Yes, I know. But there is another woman who has been brutalized as well. The healing will take a long time to fix.”
So there you have it. No vision. No magnanimous gesture. It is still all about Barack and Michelle. Most of the Hillary supporters left unassuaged. Instead of a promise from Barack to tell his supporters to stop the attacks on Hillary and her supporters, he essentially put his hands in his pockets and shrugged his shoulders.
Let’s be clear. The recently concluded Democratic party primary season does not even begin to compare to the death and horror that convulsed America during the Civil War. But the hurt feelings and anger among Hillary supporters are real. And Barack’s refusal to tackle this issue head on is but one other reminder that he is not ready to unite a nation fractured by political strife. We know Mr. Lincoln, and you sir are no Abraham.