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Thinking about Tom Paine

Norman Podhoretz’s important new essay on “the panic” over the war opens with an evocative recollection of Tom Paine’s polemics during the Revolutionary War. Two others who have found Paine’s rhetoric appropriate to current circumstances are David Flanagan, in “A message to America’s modern day Tories,” (July 2003) and Chris C, in “Where is our Thomas Paine?” (last month).

Yesterday Flanagan wrote us:

Just wanted to say that I wholeheartedly agree regarding the relevance of Thomas Paine’s excellent work “The American Crisis.” I posted a similar response as Norman Podhoretz’s in July of 2003 saying much the same thing regarding the stance of so many Democrats towards the war in Iraq.

I decided that, since so many liberals enjoyed comparing President Bush to Hitler, I would show that, in actuality, a much better comparison would be to George Washington, especially during the early part of the American Revolution. And when you look at the history, it is amazing how well you can compare these two men and their circumstances, despite a gap of over 200 years.

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