If you clicked the first Rachel Maddow link before I fixed it at around 11:30 yesterday morning (Eastern time), you got the wrong link. Sorry! Here‘s what it should have been.


Abe would have been 201 today. I came across some quotes:

‘Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?’

‘Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.’

‘America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.’

To the question of whether Obama has been attacking DA/DT repeal the right way:

‘Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.’

To the question of whether it’s enough just to be angry:

‘He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.’

And so many more!

(‘Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. As a peacemaker the lawyer has superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.’)

(Oh! And . . . ‘How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.’)


Five years ago, in mid-January, 2005, I gave a bunch of money to attend a small fundraiser with then Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. Most such dinners are much larger, but – having just lost to Bush again (if you pretend we lost to him the first time) – there was not a lot of enthusiasm among Democratic donors.

As dessert was being served, I screwed up my courage, seized a lull in the conversation – we were all at one table – and asked (more or less), ‘Senator, I’m sure this is naïve, but couldn’t you go to the President and say, in effect, ‘Look, Mr. President, you won half the votes this time, and you have my congratulations.  But I represent the other half of the country whose votes you didn’t get, and here’s the deal:  I’m simply not going to allow you to get anything of substance through Congress that you and I haven’t worked out together.  You’ll still be President, of course; but we’re really going to have to do this jointly.’  We only need 41 votes to block most things, and we have more than that.”

I may have thrown in something about Swiftboating John Kerry and all the other frustrations a lot of us felt, that – against all reason – George Bush had been rehired.

But whatever the specifics, that was the gist, and I concluded by asking . . . “Could we do that?”

“No,” said the Senator.

And now the Republicans are doing it instead.  Much more, really – they are not even trying to work together, but rather, as the three Rachel Maddow clips made so clear yesterday, simply shutting everything down.

I’m not saying Senator Reid was wrong.  What the Republicans are doing is, in my view, deeply unpatriotic, and I would hope that we would never have gone that far.  But I wish, during the Bush years, we had gone further than we did.  And that the current Senate Minority Leader had the same sense of public service as Harry Reid.

You know one person who would be appalled by what the Republican Party has become?  Abe Lincoln.


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