(Of course Scott Johnson, like the rest of us, gets to see Lincoln in retrospect.)
Scott Johnson is one of the proprietors of Power Line. It is one of the most influential conservative Blogs and deservedly so. But Johnson, and his longtime writing partner, John Hinderaker, have been serving America against Progressive lies for years before the birth of Power Line in 2002. For example, they wrote, The Truth About Income Inequality, in 1995 in which they powerfully refuted the constant litany from the Progressives of how unfair our American system is.
My admiration for Scott Johnson goes back nearly 2 decades. He, like me, is a student of Abraham Lincoln. Beginning in 2004, every July 4th, Johnson posts THE ETERNAL MEANING OF INDEPENDENCE DAY. It is the conclusion of Lincoln’s Great speech of July 10, 1858, Johnson writes, “It concludes with an explanation of the meaning of this day [July 4] to Americans with matchless eloquence and insight in words that remain as relevant now as then.”
I agree so wholeheartedly, I will reprint Scott’s post each year in honor of America, Lincoln and Scott Johnson.
That said to explain the sadness that comes with the necessity to write the rest of this post—to call Scott on his astonishing smallness and bitterness over the campaign events in Iowa last week. It was unleashed in a post Friday, August 12, in which he besmirched and belittled every candidate save his favorite, Governor Pawlenty. He flicked every candidate, except Congresswoman Bachmann, away like a piece of lint. Congresswoman Bachmann got more serious treatment. She was the sole reason, in Mr. Johnson’s mind, why he feared Pawlenty would not be President.
Michele Bachmann: Michele Bachmann was a backbencher advocating conservative causes in the Minnesota Senate, where Republicans were a decided minority during her years in office. She continued the role in Congress, where she has yet to achieve a position of political responsibility. To the extent that she has become a lightning rod as a national figure, she has drawn on her native gifts to turn herself into a fundraising machine. With her Iowa roots and appeal to a conservative base, her moment has come around as a presidential candidate in the Iowa straw poll and caucuses. What Howard Dean was to Iowa Democrats in the 2004 cycle and Obama was to Iowa Democrats in the 2008 cycle, Bachmann is to Iowa Republicans in this cycle: the Ivory soap candidate, 99 and 44/100 percent pure.
What can you say? These are the thoughts of a bitter and vindictive person. These are the thoughts that roll out of a person of the left, like Algore. Thoughts I would have believed completely out of character for Mr. Johnson. While the casual observer might draw different conclusions from the first couple sentences, as someone on the scene in Minnesota during the referenced period, I must sadly testify the story was purposely misstated and misleading. To compare Congresswoman Bachmann to Howard Dean is another indication of an adolescent reaction to not having his way—in other words, Obamian.
But, of course it didn’t end Friday. Sunday, August 14, In Pawlenty Pulls Out, Scott repeats his otherworldly assertion that, “Pawlenty is the generic Republican candidate at a time when the generic Republican seems to be what is called for to match up against Obama.” That is exactly what Governor Pawlenty projected, “I will be a cleaner, more efficient mechanic.” And obviously that is exactly 180 degrees from what We the People know we need. Mr. Johnson repeated his mischaracterization of Congresswoman Bachmann’s public service and then ranted:
Bachmann’s attacks on Pawlenty during the Republican presidential candidates’ debate this week were almost entirely false and demagogic. Those of us who admire her can’t help but think less of her as a result.
Out of respect, I’ll simply say, amazing. Anyone who saw the debate knows Mr. Johnson completely miscast and misrepresented the events. It was Governor Pawlenty who, like a hockey defenseman, high-sticked Congresswoman Bachmann and slammed her to the ice. In fact the green policies Governor Pawlenty pursued were never called “cap and trade” but they sought the same ends.
Governor Pawlenty’s remarks, about Congresswoman Bachmann, Sunday morning were generous and complimentary and stand in stark contrast to Mr. Johnson’s.
Here is the larger point, if Mr. Johnson had been on hand in 1859 and 1860, how would he have viewed the man he correctly so deeply admires, Abraham Lincoln? Presumably, Lincoln would have just been a “backbencher” in the Illinois Senate and a failure in Congress. Had Mr. Johnson heard that speech of July, 10, 1858 and the one before on June 16, 1858, would he have labeled them, 99 and 44/100 per cent Pure? Lincoln—the Howard Dean of his time? Eeeeyyyaaaooouu!