(Via Politico’s Jonathan Martin)
According to the Washington Times’ Ralph Z. Hallow and Stephen Dinan, presidential candidate Rudy Guiliani was on a roll at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) convention, until he screwed up and started praising…Abraham Lincoln!
In interviews afterward, some attendees said Mr. Giuliani lost momentum when he heaped lavish praise on Abraham Lincoln.
While many conservatives regard the Civil War president as the spiritual founder of the Republican Party, others deeply resent him as a man who ruthlessly suspended constitutional rights and freedoms in order to militarily challenge the South’s belief in its right to secede. Some saw similar disdain for individuals’ rights in Mr. Giuliani’s successful war on crime in New York City.
Mr. Giuliani took the side of the Bush administration on an issue that troubles civil libertarian conservatives, saying that “you need the tools like the Patriot Act and legal intelligence surveillance.”
“Rudy thought he was addressing a Republican audience,” said Mike Long, chairman of the New York State Conservative Party. “Mitt understood this is an audience of people who are conservatives first.”
Implying, of course, that Mitt Romney wouldn’t be dumb enough to go around saying nice things about the Great Emancipator at a convention of conservatives.
This is the flip side, I suppose, of Bush defenders invoking Lincoln’s and FDR’s wartime transgressions against the Constitution to justify what’s going on today. To some, this doesn’t elevate Bush. To the extent that the comparison is seen as apt, it degrades Lincoln and FDR.
Nonetheless…I am astonished that Lincoln could possibly be controversial at an allegedly mainstream political gathering in the United States in 2007. The Washington Times is a friend to the right-wing, God knows. Did the reporters get this story right?