Curtis Dahlgren
From Wahoo News: "A FEW WORDS NOW TO REPUBLICANS," by Honest Abe himself
By Curtis Dahlgren
February 13, 2014

"Both parties waste money on focus-group polling, but why? The truth is the Truth whether the tide is going out or coming in (no matter how people 'feel' about it)." – C. Dahlgren (Dec. 20, 2013)

NOTHING IS FUNNIER, said Mark Steyn in a National Review column five or six years ago, than listening to "friendly advice" to the GOP from the DNC, from liberals in Congress, or from the President himself (basically "play dead"). What's really sad is that Republican leaders themselves have never or seldom read the advice from their first President, Abraham Lincoln. I keep getting fund-raising letters from them asking me for my "opinions" on the GOP platform, but they keep ignoring my opinion: I tell them that all they have to do is read Lincoln's Cooper Institute Address.

I think I'll repost the column below for Abe's birthday annually! It was the first column I wrote after the very first one. That was over 10 years ago and I've lost count of the number now, but it's well over 500 columns. I don't even want to know how many direct hits they've gotten, but I do hope a lot of people have passed my column on to other people. THE COLUMN:

IT IS NOT a closely-held secret, but when they are speaking among themselves, many Country Club Republicans consider cultural conservatives to be back-woodsy "one-issue voters." They have forgotten that their party was born and bred out of the fact that the Country Club Whigs considered the Railsplitters to be "one-issue voters." One of the most famous but unread speeches of Abraham Lincoln is his speech in February 1860 in New York City at the Cooper Institute – the speech that "made" the Republican party, but what is not well-known is that it contains a little Jeremiad aimed at his fellow Republicans.

So often these days we are told that this or that issue is so "difficult" and so "complex," that – in the minds of the elite speakers – the rest of us will just have to agree with them and forego all attempts to rectify the situation! We are also "informed" that in order to win, the GOP must try to keep the great Center happy and even give the Left some of the things it wants. Abraham Lincoln never heard the term "triangulation," but he had been there, seen that, in the Whig party.

According to the Encyclopædia Britannica (11th edition), the Whig party was "a coalition of opposition parties which influenced deeply and permanently the character, policy, and fortunes of the Whig party. . . . Moreover as a means of strengthening the bond with their new allies, the Whigs learned to practice a tolerance towards the opinions and even the principles of their associates which is exceptional in the history of American political parties."

[Slavery was the "social issue" of the times, and while the Whigs occasionally threw a bone to the Free Soilers, they simply dropped it as a campaign topic at the very time sentiment was rising against the expansion of slavery and the use of Federal marshalls to return runaway slaves. In 1852, the Whig party nominated a former P.O.W. who seemed "electable," but it was their last convention. What killed the party was "immigration" – illegal immigration of slavery into the potential state of Kansas.]

Whigs had supported the Gag Rules of 1835-44 which had outlawed the mailing of "anti-slavery propaganda" and most politicians in those days hoped that the slavery issue would just "go away" or, in lieu of that, hoped for any distraction to take the people's attention off of it (the Mormon Rebellion and Indian uprisings served just that purpose). By reading between the lines, we can surmise the following facts about the Whigs:

They wanted to be inclusive; they wanted to reach out, to be A BIG TENT ("can't we all just get along?"). And so, on a Tuesday evening, February 27, 1860, the back-woodsman told a large crowd of New Yorkers that the U.S. Supreme Court was simply full of baloney on Dred Scott, and he answered the question, "What would it take to SATISFY the pro-slavery parts of the country?"

"A few words now to Republicans. . . . [L]et us determine, if we can, what will satisfy them. Will they be satisfied if the Territories be unconditionally surrendered to them? We know they will not. . . . The question recurs, what will satisfy them? Simply this: We must not only let them alone, but we must, somehow, convince them that we do let them alone. . . . What will convince them? This, and this only: cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly – done in acts as well as in words.


The so-called "Party of Lincoln" could do worse than to dig out those words and read them again. Lincoln's words, like the Law buried under trash in the old temple in Jerusalem, have been long forgotten. This is not your father's Republican party anymore! And it's time for BOTH parties to get back to their roots!

Thomas Jefferson, the republican, is the saint of the Democrat party. In his second inaugural address, he said: "I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our fathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessaries and comforts of life; who has covered our infancy with His providence and our riper years with His wisdom and power, and to whose goodness I ask you to join in supplications with me that He will so enlighten the minds of your servants, guide their councils, and prosper their measures that whatsoever they do shall result in your good, and shall secure to you peace, friendship, and approbation of all nations."

Or, in the words of Lincoln, "Let us be diverted by none of these sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored – contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man – such as a policy of 'don't care' on a question about which all true men do care – such as Union appeals beseeching true Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the divine rule, and calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance. . . .


Some of our "hipper" Republican contemporaries will say, "That was then and now is now. Whatever works!" WELL, as Reagan would say, and once did (in his fare-well address to the United Nations):

"The deliberations of great leaders and great bodies are but overture. . . . The truly majestic music, the music of freedom, of justice, and peace is the music made in forgetting self and seeking in silence the will of Him who made us."


© Curtis Dahlgren


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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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