The Harrisburg Patriot and Union wrote: “We pass over the silly remarks of the President; for the credit of the nation we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them and that they shall no more be repeated or thought of.”
The Chicago Times: “The cheeks of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat, and dishwatery utterance.”
The London Times: “[T]he ceremony was rendered ludicrous by some of the sallies of that poor President… Anything more dull and commonplace it would not be easy to produce.”
The Springfield Republican was surprised at how well [the President] did, though, noting: “We had grown so accustomed to homely and imperfect phrase in his productions that we had come to think it was the law of his utterance.”
Hmm. Was the press listening to the same speech that I listened to yesterday? Well, actually. No. Those comments are all what the press had to say about Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. But it sure does sound similar to what much of the press is saying today about George W. Bush’s inaugural address, doesn’t it? I heard a man who believes in our country, who loves freedom and wishes it for all people. I don’t even want to repeat some of the dumb, stupid stuff I heard come out of reporters’ mouths today.
Lest you think I was witty enough to come up with the above myself, I wasn’t. A friend sent me a link to Rush Limbaugh’s radio transcript for today, and the above quotes were all cited in a Carl Sandburg book. Limbaugh said: “That’s not saying [President Bush’s speech] was the Gettysburg Address
yesterday, but you will get the point.”
And in case you’ve forgotten how the Gettysburg Address goes, here it is:
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
You know, the more things change, the more things stay the same.