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Le Figaro, France

Should Obama Imitate Lincoln
in Order to Tame Congress?

By Laure Mandeville

Translated By Malina McLennan

27 November 2012

Edited by Gillian Palmer

France - Le Figaro - Original Article (French)

Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” is a must-see. Not only to witness Daniel Day Lewis’s majestic interpretation that permits the viewer to peek inside the brain of the fascinating and unique powerhouse Abraham Lincoln, in the midst of civil war, a time when even the most noble of projects seems impossible. But also to remember that, although America did end up abolishing slavery, it was a long way away from proclaiming equality between races and sexes.

For those interested in American politics, this film is well worth seeing for its relevance to today’s events. For example, it reveals that Lincoln only managed to push through the 13th amendment — confirming the abolition of slavery — thanks to his aggressive and secretive lobbying of Democratic deputies, to whom he offered favors and prestige in return for their support (the vote only passed by two votes!). Simply put, “the purest of intentions was accomplished through twisted and impure means,” as was noted last Sunday on ABC during a conversation between a handful of the most revered political commentators in Washington.

Shockingly, they agreed among themselves during the program that Obama should use similar tactics to accomplish his goals in the upcoming battle with the Republican Congress with regard to the budget in order to avoid the “fiscal cliff” in the new year. Overall, they say, the president shouldn’t use a naive political strategy. The commentators were suggesting that Obama should engage in under-the-table bartering and twist arms to forcefully gain concessions.

Joe Klein, a political analyst for Time magazine, even went so far as to regret publicly, without hesitation, Senator McCain’s unfortunate idea to vote on a law ending “earmarks,” those famous subsidies added in by Congress for specific projects or states. “Earmarks were the oil in the machine that permitted the birth of bipartisan compromise,” he remarked. In other words, corruption is essential for American democracy to function? A slightly disturbing confession, to say the least…

*Editor’s Note: The quotations in this article, accurately translated, could not be verified.



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