The Selling Out of Abraham Lincoln - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Selling Out of Abraham Lincoln

So. There is Donald Trump, now the GOP nominee in waiting, making the obvious point. The point? That the judge in the Trump University trial is biased against him — he, The Donald, of famously controversial positions on illegal immigration and building a wall with Mexico — because the judge is a “Mexican.” Which is to say, the Indiana-born judge is of Mexican parentage. And, as Trump well knew, a judge who self-identifies as some sort of Latino activist through his association with the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association. A group which, per its own website, says:

Our purpose is to advance the cause of equality, empowerment and justice for Latino attorneys and the Latino community in San Diego County through service and advocacy.

Got that? Not “Our purpose is to advance the cause of equality, empowerment and justice for all San Diego attorneys” — only for “Latino attorneys.” As events have unfolded, the Judge’s questionnaire that he filled out for the U.S. Senate Judiciary committee reveals that he is, in his own words, a “lifetime member” of the Hispanic National Bar Association. On July 2nd of 2015 the HBNA released a statement that said, in part, this:

The HNBA calls for a boycott of all of Trump business ventures, including golf courses, hotels, and restaurants.

In other words, the judge presiding over Trump’s case is an active, self-described “lifetime member” of a group that is actively seeking to do serious financial and public relations damage to a defendant who has a case before the judge. And there is no conflict here? Of course there is.

There is no surprise that liberals would defend racism. This space isn’t long enough to do the chapter and verse of the Democratic Party’s rise to power through its alliance with slave owners, segregationists, racial provocateurs from the Klan to Al Sharpton to this or that “La Raza” group to MoveOn.Org and Black Lives Matter and oh so much more.

What disturbs in all this is the rush of various Republican elites to embrace “identity politics” — the descendant of slavery and segregation — in which all Americans are to be divided up into various racial groupings to advance the liberal agenda of the moment, whatever that might be.

Appallingly, one GOP congressional leader after another has stepped to the plate to embrace absolutely the worst idea in all of American history — the ugliness of racial division. Let’s name names here. From — utterly bafflingly — Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — to non-leadership members including Illinois Senator Mark Kirk, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, and Wisconsin Congressman Reid Ribble. Kirk — who represents Abraham Lincoln’s Illinois — has refused to endorse Trump so great is his support for identity politics, making him effectively the political heir to Lincoln’s famous Democratic opponent and Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas. It was Douglas, recall, who was the sponsor of the Kansas-Nebraska Act that would have allowed slavery into the new states, causing such a backlash that opponents formed the Republican Party. Indeed, Douglas and his bill were assailed by two prominent colleagues and staunch slavery opponents, Ohio’s Congressman Joshua Giddings and Senator Salmon Chase, as follows:

We arraign this bill as a gross violation of a sacred pledge; as a criminal betrayal of precious rights; as part and parcel of an atrocious plot to exclude from a vast unoccupied region immigrants from the Old World and free laborers from our own States, and convert it into a dreary region of despotism, inhabited by masters and slaves.

For whatever reason — Kirk is a candidate for re-election — Kirk has taken the modern-day argument of Douglas and is supporting identity politics. With Kirk signing on to the identity politics agenda so effectively described by those Douglas opponents of yore, identity politics advocates wishing to turn all of America into “a dreary region of despotism, inhabited by masters and slaves.”

As I noted seven years ago in this piece on Sonia Sotomayor and her belief that a “wise Latina” could judge better than a white male, Abraham Lincoln, as quoted by Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote in her book Team of Rivals, said he hoped to “‘penetrate the human soul’ until… ‘all this quibbling about this man and the other man — this race and that race and the other race being inferior’” was gone from America.

Unfortunately, just as the GOP Establishment has long since fled from Reagan — refusing to stand up to the Obama agenda — they have now fled from Lincoln as well. The Republican Party was famously founded in Wisconsin — but now here is Wisconsin’s Congressman Ribble saying this of Trump as reported here:

“His comments over the weekend are authenticating what I believe is the man’s character,” Ribble said. “Something that walks like a duck, talks like a duck, is likely to be a duck. If you continue to say what I believe are racist statements, you’re likely to be a racist.”

In other words, Ribble has bought in to both political correctness and identity politics, the latter, as mentioned, the modern descendant of slavery and segregation. Ribble is staring at a federal judge who has made it plain from his actions that he is putting his ethnicity above the Constitution, Trump calls attention to this, and Ribble sides with the identity politics-playing Judge.

Or, to put it another way: Good bye Abe! Thanks for the memories! I’m off to take the Lincoln legacy to the theater!

As appalling as this sellout of Abraham Lincoln is, it is part and parcel of the sellout by some congressional and Establishment GOPers across the board. Pick an issue — from the repeal of Obamacare to that infamous amnesty-funding Boehner/Obama “Cromnibus” bill to the Jeb Bushian devotion to Common Core — the abandonment of the GOP’s founding and historic opposition to racism — this one done in the name of opposition to racism! — is just one more reason that explains exactly why the base of the GOP is so furious. Not to mention why they rejected 16 other seriously credentialed Republicans that included senators and governors past and present to nominate Donald Trump.

Recall that ever since the libertarian-minded Barry Goldwater voted against the Civil Rights bill of 1964 the go-to position of the Left is that not only was Goldwater a racist (a flat lie — Goldwater was an integrationist, and as acknowledged decades later by the editor of the Afro-American weekly had a “deep feeling about racial equality”) so too has the GOP been unfairly and repeatedly attacked as “racist.” As despicable as that is, it is doubtless this relentless Big Lie from the Left that has caused so many Republican elites to, in the political irony of all ironies, abandon Lincoln for the race card playing of identity politics. A trait that has now suddenly surfaced with their attacks on Trump — the latter who is in fact calling attention to the identity politics of a sitting federal judge.

And make no mistake. This particular assault of identity politics on Trump would have played out, albeit with a different issue than Trump University, on any GOP nominee other than Trump. Here, by way of a zillion examples, is a piece calling Ted Cruz a racist and another here saying Marco Rubio is guilty of “coded racism.” Over here you find Mitt Romney stuck in a “racist sewer.” And so it goes for any Republican not to mention any conservative, especially those in talk radio or on Fox. Pick a name and attach the word “racist” and up pop accusations that your favorite GOPer, talk radio host, or other conservative is a racist. Which doubtless explains the haste with which so many congressional GOPers will run to any microphone to proclaim in one fashion or another: “Like me! Like me! I’m not a racist!”

Not only is this politically useless, I would suggest ever so gently that it is morally wrong.

Lesson One for conservatives and the GOP? Never sell out Abraham Lincoln. He was right.

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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