Obama At Cooper Union: Learning From Lincoln?

An eternal optimist, this announcement gives me hope:

President Obama [will] be at Cooper Union on Thursday to "remind Americans what is at stake if we do not move forward with changing the rules of the road as part of a strong Wall Street reform package,"

The most famous speech ever delivered at Cooper Union was Abraham Lincoln's speech in 1860. I have written about that speech often, including my first post at TalkLeft. Could it be that Obama is learning from Lincoln. Will he say to Republicans "[y]ou will rule or ruin in all events." Will he say to Democrats:

Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH, LET US, TO THE END, DARE TO DO OUR DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT.

Hope springs eternal.

Speaking for me only

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    Candidate Obama announced his (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 12:35:23 PM EST
    candidacy from the steps of the old state capitol in Springfield.  And referenced Lincoln.  And appointed Republican to Sec'y of Commerce and retained one as Sec'y of Defense.  His Team of Rivals, although he did appoint Hillary Clinton as Sec'y of State.  Pick and choose re Lincoln.

    Bingo (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by ruffian on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 01:40:32 PM EST
    Yesterday one of the This Week bloviators was wondering why there was not such 'hand wringing' about the Code Pink demonstrations during the Bush years.

    "Because they weren't armed" I screamed at my TV.

    I sincerely hope so. (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Kimberley on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 02:32:02 PM EST
    But, as a practical matter, I would prefer for him to refrain from juxtaposing himself with that kind of courageous honor and dignity if he doesn't mean to fight like hell to fulfill it.

    The last thing we need right now is more cynical posturing. Obama is not Lincoln; he's not supposed to be. Lincoln was Lincoln. Obama needs to Obama.

    Besides, Obama seems better positioned and more inclined to re-enact Grant's presidency than Lincoln's.

    To be fair, at this (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by brodie on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 04:30:01 PM EST
    point in his presidency, Lincoln wasn't quite yet Lincoln.  No major battlefield victories and in fact the Union cause looked to be in peril.  And he was losing the confidence of enough Repubs in Congress to cause them, a little later, to visit the WH to make certain major personnel and other demands of Abe.  

    But, no, I don't expect Obama to match or exceed Abe in greatness either after 4 or 8 yrs.  Not unless he picks up the pace a bit and cracks the whip on some domestic matters.

    Meanwhile, if you don't consider a few of the corrupt people surrounding the clean Grant, USG actually was a pretty good president.


    I fully trust (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:57:39 PM EST
    that Obama will unleash some devasting rhetoric-- that he won't follow up with actual action.

    I'm confused, here (none / 0) (#36)
    by lambert on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:34:25 PM EST
    1. The last thing we need right now is more cynical posturing.

    2.  Obama needs to Obama.

    Why do you feel those two statements are contradictory?

    Because unlike you (none / 0) (#45)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 11:08:51 PM EST
    he/she isn't an unthinking hater.

    Obama loves his symbolism. (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by masslib on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:39:00 PM EST
    He's really hung up on connecting himself with great presidents from the past.

    I don't think he's going to do anymore than try to get Dodd's reforms passed, which I think are nice to haves but nothing that fundamentally changes the financial system, like breaking up the TBTFs into smaller, more transparent pieces.

    An aside (none / 0) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 12:29:32 PM EST
    For those who will argue for the "need for 60," let me be clear that I believe there will be no finreg legislation at all, there will be no immigration legislation,there will be no major legislation at all passed.

    In terms of the economy, the regular budget process provides the on;y hope for action.

    In that scenario, negotiating with the GOP is pointless, and pre-conceding is incredibly ridiculous.

    Isn't it funny (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 01:43:22 PM EST
    that there is so much optimism about this now?

    The Republicans have already fallen in line.


    Not clear about Corker (none / 0) (#41)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:46:36 PM EST
    at least. Heard him interviewed tonight, and he was very clear he wasn't closing any doors on financial reform.  We'll see.

    If anything is going to pass (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by lilburro on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 01:50:50 PM EST
    it's going to require a lot of work on Obama's part.  I don't think the "let Congress work on it" strategy is going to work again.  He's going to have to be out in public, doing rallies, and defining himself.

    They're probably not looking to pass something, (none / 0) (#18)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 02:04:45 PM EST
    they're looking to run on what the Republicans "blocked."

    They're still counting on people to understand the 60 votes requirement.


    See, (none / 0) (#19)
    by jbindc on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 02:13:25 PM EST
    That's the myth - for most bills, there really is no 60 vote "requirement".  Voters actually DO understand that.  The 60 vote thing is a Senate procedure that isn't used properly, and is instead used for every bill so the minority can obstruct.  

    What voters need to be educated on is when and why the filibuster is used, and then those that want to use it should be forced to actually do it.  Then voters would see what is going on.


    You are never going to educate voters (none / 0) (#22)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 02:15:14 PM EST
    on this point. At least, not the ones who will be discouraged and not turn out.

    You have to get rid of it.


    You are probably right (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by jbindc on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 02:32:17 PM EST
    But instead of going on TV and repeating the talking points of saying "We need 60," or "We're close to 60," they need to be saying things like "We don't need 60 votes to pass this legislation.  The Republicans are threatening to filibuster, do when we bring this to a vote, then they will have to get up there and actually do it, and we'll see how long support for their position lasts when they can't support it and instead have to resort to having Tom Coburn read the phone book. Republicans love to talk snout spending the taxpayers' money- well it will cost the taxpayers X amount of dollars for every hour a fibuster goes on.  To quote that great philosopher, George W. Bush - Bring. It. On."

    If the Ds are totally Versailles creatures... (none / 0) (#37)
    by lambert on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:35:42 PM EST
    ... they'll imagine that people outside Versailles think like they do.

    So (none / 0) (#21)
    by lilburro on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 02:15:05 PM EST
    at what point are we going to pass legislation ever again?  God I hope that's not the strategy.

    If the Dems have about 54 seats (none / 0) (#23)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 02:16:39 PM EST
    next January, I believe they will amend Rule 22 as a first matter of business. And precedent says that they don't need 67 votes for that. (NB: they could do it with a majority now, but that would be taken as the "nuclear option.")

    IIRC current projections are (none / 0) (#26)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 02:34:48 PM EST
    51 seats and Lieberman in the Senate next year.

    At this point... (none / 0) (#27)
    by kdog on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 02:46:43 PM EST
    I'd take no legislation ever again...beats the littany of bad legislation.

    Seems like only yesterday Obama (none / 0) (#3)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 12:55:08 PM EST
    was "reminding" us what was at stake if we didn't HURRY UP and pass comprehensive health insurance reform, doesn't it?

    Imagine the speech on financial regulation will be more along those same lines, with not a lot of Lincoln to be found, except in Obama's own mind.

    Hmm (none / 0) (#5)
    by lilburro on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 01:10:00 PM EST
    John Cole's suicide cult quote was basically said by Lincoln in 1860:

    But you will not abide the election of a Republican president! In that supposed event, you say, you will destroy the Union; and then, you say, the great crime of having destroyed it will be upon us! That is cool. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, "Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!"

    The Lincoln speech is extremely poignant.  What worries me is that you wrote that post in 2006.

    I say send Tancredo back to Hawaii (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by observed on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 01:34:51 PM EST
    .. and make it happen on Kill Haole day.

    hmm... plenty of Hawaiians (none / 0) (#17)
    by observed on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 02:00:15 PM EST
    talk about it. Anyway, Tancredo can find out for himself.

    I had a firend of mine (none / 0) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 04:01:05 PM EST
    who live in Hawaii talk about it. He seemed to sincerely believe it happens.

    I remain skeptical nonetheless.


    Who still managed to elect (none / 0) (#42)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:49:54 PM EST
    a pretty silly Republican governor, no?

    And yet racism has little to nothing to do... (3.50 / 2) (#11)
    by Dadler on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 01:37:57 PM EST
    ...with Obama's capitulations, his doublespeak, his pathological inability to alienate himself from the power clique he worked so long and hard to get into -- the same clique serving only the interests of their own fat wallets and tiny dicks.

    Until he can flip THEM the bird (which is the infinitely harder flip for him than at the racists), sadly, I think his presidency will largely be a waste.  


    Great history lesson (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:55:39 PM EST
    Thank you.

    But if only Obama were an FDR. He ain't.


    Oh, great (none / 0) (#38)
    by lambert on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:36:57 PM EST
    Let's cement Obama's D corporatism into place for a generation or two. Some FDR.

    I write a post about Lincoln's Cooper speech (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 01:17:14 PM EST
    It is a fascinating read (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by lilburro on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 01:46:35 PM EST
    and considering that Obama could probably give the same speech almost word for word today, and it would still be relevant, concerns me.  But Obama's not going to give that speech.  He'll be shooting for Olympia Snowe.

    My typos (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 01:37:32 PM EST
    are legendary.

    Shorter Donald (none / 0) (#40)
    by lambert on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:44:39 PM EST
    Tea Party. Tea Party. Tea Party. Tea Party. Tea Party. Tea Party. Tea Party. Tea Party. Tea Party. Tea Party. Tea Party. Tea Party. Tea Party. Tea Party. Tea Party. Tea Party. Tea Party.

    Don't even rinse. Just repeat.


    I guess I'm confused again! (none / 0) (#39)
    by lambert on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:43:25 PM EST
    What the heck does racism have to do with a speech from Obama on what is laughingly called financial reform at Cooper Union?

    This isn't the primaries now, Donald. In case that escaped your notice. Or is racism all that's coming off the blast fax, seeing as how Obama really has nothing to say on financial reform at all (until the next greatest speech EVAH, of course, two years into the crisis and with unemployment at 10% as far as the eye can see).


    Look! Over there! (none / 0) (#33)
    by lambert on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:11:20 PM EST
    A tea partier just walked into Denny's!

    (Let me get my little hammer and hit myself on the knee with it.)

    Can somebody help me understand what this comment has to do with a speech from Obama on financial reform at Cooper Union?

    remind Americans what is at stake (none / 0) (#34)
    by diogenes on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:15:26 PM EST
    Just because we need some sort of reform doesn't mean that Obama can wrap the American flag around himself and say that HIS reform is the one that's needed.  Or are you saying that anyone who opposes Obama is slandering him?
    If Obama tells all of you that Right makes Might and what is right is to have no single payor, would you then drop the subject?

    So, another greatest speech EVAH? (none / 0) (#35)
    by lambert on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:33:06 PM EST
    What's the policy baseline? I'm with Ed Harrison at Naked Capitalism: Criminal charges against CEOs and jail time are the baseline. So, at Cooper Union, I expect kabuki.

    Are the prosecutions finally starting?  Is the dam finally breaking?  Has Goldman really been sacked?


    But Tyler Durden thinks it's all bread and circuses.


    And as Mish points out (edited slightly for readability):

    Here is a list of some of the things the SEC has ignored.

    We need a complete ethics overhaul but we will not see it until people are thrown into prison and corporations have to choose which business they want to be in as opposed to the current state of affairs where anything for a profit is acceptable.

    • Firms give advice based on how much profit the firms will make on it
    • Firms trade their own books to the detriment of clients
    • Firms make upgrades and downgrades after they take positions themselves
    • Firms front-run trades
    • Firms engage in dark pools
    • Firms deemed too big to fail take advantage by upping leverage
    • Firms like Goldman Sachs (which is nothing more than a giant hedge fund with no ethics) have access to Fed funds at low interest rates to do whatever the hell they please

    Is someone finally standing up to the vampire squids of the world?

    Simple answers to simple questions?