Barack Obama is perhaps the only modern president who has had the burden of swatting away comparisons between his own soaring rhetoric and that of our 16th president. You may recall that, in the wake of the Newtown massacre, Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter David Maraniss gushed over the president’s remarks, writing, “People will long remember what Barack Obama said in Newtown,” and calling the speech “[Obama's] Gettysburg address.”
Today, thanks to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, it took less than five minutes for the comparison to be drawn between President Obama’s second inaugural address and, well, all manner of things Lincoln. “It reminds me of another second inaugural, Lincoln’s, so much of Lincoln in that speech, from the Gettysburg Address to the second inaugural itself,” Matthews said. “He talked about the government that we want, which is infrastructure, education, regulation, all the good things, and then recognizing that government can’t solve all the problems.”
Hey, credit where credit’s due. The president did refer to “blood drawn by the lash and blood drawn by the sword”; his remarks were concise, much like the Gettysburg Address; and this was a second inaugural . . . just like Lincoln’s second inaugural. Lincolnian, indeed.