The pre-inaugural MSM — more childish than partisan

One expects the mainstream media to wax poetic when a Democrat is about to become president. But the praise it is heaping on Barack Obama is surely unprecedented.

The comparisons with Abraham Lincoln represent the most ridiculous example. On “Meet the Press” today, Tom Brokaw compared Obama’s resilience after losing the New Hampshire primary (which made him 1-1 in the early contests) to Lincoln’s resilience after setbacks on the battle field during the Civil War. As I recall, President Bush also rallied after losing the New Hampshire primary in 2000. Did that make him Lincolnesque?

Another old war horse, Mario Cuomo, pushed the Lincoln comparison to an equally ridiculous extreme on Mike Huckabee’s television program. Cuomo claimed that Obama becomes president at a time of even more profound crisis than Lincoln because the problems Lincoln faced in 1861 affected only the U.S., not the whole world. The former New York governor’s investment portfolio must have taken quit a hit for him to find the present difficulties more daunting than an impending Civil War.

Cuomo also compared Obama’s way with words to Lincoln’s. But Obama’s “yes we can” orations, apparently written by a, what, 28 year-old speech writer, are 99 percent content free. The only exception I recall was Obama’s Philadelphia speech on race — hardly worthy of Lincoln, but borderline profound in places. Unfortunately, Obama walked away from the underlying message of that speech, his qualified embrace of Jeremiah Wright, a few days later. I don’t believe that Lincoln revised and extended his Cooper Union speech.

It’s not really in Obama’s interests to be compared, before he even takes office, to our greatest president. A lower bar would suit him better. Accordingly, the extra increment of MSM praise we’re witnessing this time around probably stems more from childishness than from partisanship. And to the extent that Obama has encouraged the Lincoln comparison, he probably has done so more out of egomania than political self-interest.

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