Obama Skips Gettysburg

Over in my Forbes.com column for this week (just posted this morning), I muse about the reasons Obama has decided to skip the observances of the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg address tomorrow, and conclude at the end that we should be grateful that he decided to skip out, despite how appalling a decision it is:

Can it be that Obama has sensed a limit to his own megalomania?  While Obama has compared himself to Lincoln and FDR, and wasn’t bashful about assuming the mantle of Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of the “I Have A Dream” speech, perhaps he knows that nothing he can say would measure up to Lincoln’s extraordinary 272-word achievement.  For one thing, it is impossible for Obama to be succinct about anything.  His natural tendency to turn every occasion into a meditation about himself would vindicate—this time—the editorial reaction applied to Lincoln’s short panegyric at the time.  (The Gettysburg Patriot and Union in 1863 said that a “veil of oblivion shall be dropped over” Lincoln’s “silly remarks.”  The paper’s successor, the Patriot News, formally retracted that infamous editorial this week.)

Truly the world would little note nor long remember whatever Obama might try to say at Gettysburg.

But the real problem, I argue, is that Obama (like most contemporary liberals) fundamentally disagrees with Lincoln about the basis of our individual rights.  As such he really doesn’t like the Gettysburg address.  More on this in the full column.