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Lincoln becomes the American solar myth, the chief butt of American credulity and sentimentality…the varnishes and veneers have been busily converting Abe into a plaster saint…Worse, there is an obvious effort to pump all his human weaknesses out of him, and so leave him a mere moral apparition, a sort of amalgam of John Wesley and the Holy Ghost. What could be more absurd? Lincoln, in point of fact, was a practical politician of long experience and high talents, and by no means cursed with idealistic superstitions…his career in the State Legislature was indistinguishable from that of a Tammany Nietzsche.
~ H.L. Mencken, “Abraham Lincoln,” The Smart Set, May 1920.
Reprinted in A Mencken Chrestomathy, pp 221-23.
Ken Masugi, director of the Claremont Institute’s Center for Local Government, writes in Claremont Institute Precepts No. 267 that “Long-time fans of Rush Limbaugh’s provocative radio show experienced a shock in a recent program that focused on Abraham Lincoln.”
It turns out that Limbaugh was surprised to hear his callers criticize Abe Lincoln as responsible for the growth of federal power, a racist, and indifferent to the plight of the slaves.
The discussion, Masugi notes, grew
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