Response to the Response to the Rant on the Lincoln Obsession
Ok, Dad, I promised I'd get back to your comments. I did look up the Gallup Poll where people ranked the "Greatest Presidents" in U.S. History. In the most recent one, it is true, Reagan came in first, Clinton in second, Lincoln third. In previous polls I think Lincoln has sometimes come out ahead, but yep, the Gipper did win it for this year. Frightening, yes.
One hit to Lincoln's rating may have come from African-Americans in the poll. Honestly, I don't know how I would feel about giving my vote to someone who thought that people of my race were inherently inferior, even after considering this fact in its historical context. That and past experience has shown me that blacks sometimes get tired of being expected to repeatedly praise Lincoln when the black heroes of the Civil War period are relatively neglected (where's the multi-million dollar Frederick Douglass museum, and why aren't Dubya and Illinois Governor "God-I-Wanna-Be-President-So-Bad-It's-Embarrassing" Blagojevich speaking at its opening?)
So, that's a vote I think you have to at least sympathize with. But that's the only motivation that seems reasonable to me; otherwise, why pick one of those other two guys over Lincoln, or perhaps Roosevelt? I mean, I miss Clinton too but, come on people. So, yes, that poll result was surprising and disheartening. On the other hand, even Reagan only came out with 13% of the vote. So part of the phenomenon we're seeing is the spread in people's choices; Reagan may have won because there is that small contingent of people out there who really do believe that he was the Great One. Probably the rest of the people polled have rarely thought about the question, didn't really want to put a lot of thought into it just for the sake of Mr. Gallup Man on the phone, and therefore reported the first name they could think of. Lincoln is a natural response, and given the wistfulness of Democrats this day and age, Clinton may have been an unfortunate but perhaps reflexive response.