The Lincoln Movie and Confessions of a RINO

This Post combines two unrelated topics as implied by the title.  Why?  Because I want to.   Since writing my last post I ran across a piece titled:  What’s True and False About the Lincoln Movie, by Harold Holzer, a Lincoln authority who served as an adviser to the film.   Holzer gives a much fuller picture of the extent to which the film reflects historical reality than I did.

Also, he makes a point worth noting about the relationship between history and fiction.    As producer/director Steven Spielberg has stated:   While…  “it’s a betrayal of the job of the historian,……One of the jobs of art is to go to the impossible places that history must avoid.”  Harold Holzer adds:  “There is no doubt that Spielberg has traveled toward an understanding of Abraham Lincoln more boldly than any other filmmaker before him.”

NOTE:  I would not read Holzer’s piece until after I had seen the movie as some of the factual inconsistencies, though minor,  might interfere with the viewing experience.

By the way, I have a confession to make.  That last post drew an additional 93 readers who apparently were Googling for information about the Lincoln movie, so besides wanting to point out Holzer’s article, I want to see if the Lincoln movie attracts more attention.  Let me repeat, the Lincoln movie, the Lincoln movie, the Lincoln movie.


English: Crude drawing of the "No RINO&qu...

English: Crude drawing of the “No RINO” buttons used by American Republicans. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In case you haven’t run across the term, RINO stands for Republican in Name Only.   The term is applied by the right to those whom they see as liberals in Republican clothing, a growing number in recent years as the Republican Party has moved further to the right.  Bruce Bartlett is a great example as he has been a Republican lifer as revealed in this piece he recently wrote for the The American Conservative.  In fact, he has so many Republican bona fides the list makes up about one-third of the article.

He goes to such great lengths because he wants to convince readers that he is not a liberal or a Democrat.   He is a Republican who thinks his party has gone crazy, not exactly his description, but close.   Bartlett does a great job of describing his own intellectual journey as well as the rightward movement of his party, which has left him feeling “center-left”.

I obviously like him as that’s where I see myself and much of what he says I have already inferred from other sources.  Though he wouldn’t go this far,  I would say like me he has become a Democrat by default.

David Frum and Andrew Sullivan (links to their blogs in Blogroll to the upper left) also tend to look RINOish from a right perspective, especially Frum, while David Brooks seems to fit there along with Kathleen Sullivan, two other well known columnists.

The others would not likely describe themselves as center-left, but they certainly must look that way as viewed by the far right.  At some point I will do at least one post on them as they are all essentially centrist in nature, a center I would like to help develop through this blog.  In case you haven’t inferred that as yet.

For now,  go read Bartlett’s article.  I think you’ll enjoy it.

“Obama may be the luckiest politician who ever lived.”

….in terms of the opponents he has drawn.   That’s how  Matt Miller, whom I regard as a centrist, ends a recent Washington Post editorial about Mitt Romney’s latest gaff, the one about the “47% who don’t pay income taxes” who will vote for Obama because they do not take responsibility for their own lives.

Mitt Romney Steve Pearce event 057

Mitt Romney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are several problems with the Romney statement, besides the fact it insults 47% of American voters.  A majority of that 47% either do pay quite a bit in taxes, most notably payroll taxes which makes up about 36% of federal income compared with about 47% from income tax (the two “47s” are just a coincidence).

The Republicans never mention that 36% figure, or that most Americans pay more in payroll taxes than income taxes, or a number of other inconvenient details about those who do not pay income taxes, such as around one-fifth of them are elderly.   That would detract from the Republican fantasy of being the makers victimized by all of those takers out there.  Miller provides some of these details in his editorial.

Now my more conservative readers are probably thinking, “you really are an Obama lover and take every opportunity to bash Romney and the Republicans.”  Well, if you look around you can find a number of Republican/conservative voices criticizing Romney’s “47 %”  statement.

One example, is columnist Andrew Sullivan of the The Daily Beast (linked at bottom), who considers himself a political conservative.   He shows a chart of the 47%, and concludes:  “Make of this what you will, but in terms of partisan politics it seems very likely that a large share of these elderly freeloaders are actually Romney voters.”   Sullivan’s statements are followed by several responses, mostly critical of Romney.

However, reader Jamelle Bouie provided a kind of defense, but not really, when stating:  ” To be fair, there’s no way to know if this is what Romney “really” thinks. Remarks to donors and fundraisers are just as crafted and audience-targeted as any speech to the public. This isn’t an excuse, but it’s context worth considering.”    This goes along with thoughts I’ve often had about writing a post after the election titled:  “Who was Mitt Romney?”

Another Romney critic  is Henry Olsen, a vice president at the conservative American Enterprise Institute,   Despite sharp criticisms of Romney, Olsen ends his editorial, also in the Washington Post, by stating:

“I will vote for Romney despite his flaws. The alternative is unacceptable: In this matter, I really have no choice.”

Those of us who will vote for Barack Obama will most likely have the same feeling about the alternative.   But I would bet more of us feel better about our candidate than the opposition does, even those who have grown very skeptical about “hope and change.”