WaPo Highlights Dem Donors Gushing Over Obama's Railroad Route to Inauguration

According to the Washington Post's Michael Ruane and Nikita Stewart, President-elect Barack Obama's gimmick of tracing part of Abraham Lincoln's route to his 1861 inauguration is merely a sign of how much he esteems the 16th president:

Barack Obama has evoked Abraham Lincoln ever since launching his campaign at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Ill.

Now he plans to arrive in Washington the same way that Lincoln did in 1861, with a train trip that will include stops, speeches and crowds along the way.


"He's replicating the last leg of Lincoln's inaugural journey to Washington," said historian Harold Holzer, author of "Lincoln President Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861." "This guy's reverence for Lincoln has no bounds."

At no point did the notion that Obama's ego, not his selfless admiration of Lincoln, might be the real motive for Obama's riding the rails through Baltimore to the nation's capital.

But wait, it gets better.

Stewart and Ruane closed their December 16 Metro section front-pager with an enthusiastic note about a triumphal Obama entry into Washington from Yale historian David Blight. Blight's $1,800 in Obama donations since March 2007 were left unmentioned:

Yale historian David Blight, who suggested last month that Obama retrace Lincoln's inaugural train trip, said: "I think it's a great idea. . . . I'm amazed they're going to do it."

He noted that American history is filled with images of whistle-stop presidential candidates speaking from the back of train cars.

"In Lincoln's case, he had to sneak into Washington," Blight said. "In this case, Obama can come in triumph, one would assume."

The Post staffers also left out that Holzer, who serves as the senior VP of external affairs for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, is a big fan of Obama's Secretary of State-designee. According to OpenSecrets.org, Holzer gave $900 to Sen. Clinton (D-N.Y.) since September 2007.

The media's obsession with Lincoln/Obama comparisons is hardly new, but has really picked up steam since his November 4 victory.

In a November 19 CNN.com article entitled, "Can Lincoln's playbook help Obama in the years ahead," writer Ed Hornick put the question to Holzer, who essentially answered with a qualified "yes":

Harold Holzer, one of the country's leading authorities on Lincoln and the Civil War, said the state of the nation today may be a major barrier to putting in place Lincoln's playbook.

"Sen. Obama could have never contemplated a state leaving the country in reaction to his election, which was pretty rough. Lincoln could have never imagined nuclear war, the kind of foreign challenges that occur," Holzer said.

Holzer's new book, "Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861," examines the period between his election and inauguration.

But Holzer said that although the nation's challenges may be different, "leadership comes not from experience alone or sometimes not from experience at all. It comes from a gravitas and self-deprecation and understanding of other people. It's going to be a very interesting period."

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Obama transition Washington Post Obama Watch Ed Hornick David Blight Harold Holzer Nikita Stewart Michael Ruane