Friday, May 20, 2016

Trump and Lincoln: A Debating Style Comparisson

During a discussion about his new book, A Self-Made Man: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln Vol. I, 1809 - 1849, Hillary Clinton insider Sidney Blumenthal had the following exchange with  Boston TV host, Jim Braude :
Jim Braude: So the legendary figure virtually everybody in America reveres, bears not that much resemblance to much of what we see as Lincoln in the 1830s and 40s, the slasher he's called a lot. Why the slasher? What did that mean?

Sidney Blumenthal: Well he wouldn't become a legendary figure unless he had been the slasher. That was a phrase used to the sort of up and coming rough and tumble politicians of the early period of party politics on the frontier you know and it was a frontier.

JB: How was he a rough and tumble?

SB: He would be sarcastic. He would take down his opponents. The phrase takedown comes from that period.

JB: Is that really true?

SB: Yeah it comes from it. They would talk about taking people down. They did and they did. Politics was a form of popular entertainment and they would stand before crowds and they would debate and shout and sometimes those events would turn into wrestling matches. Lincoln was also the virtual coeditor of the local newspaper in Springfield and he wrote hundreds of anonymous, vicious editorials. Stephen A Douglas his great rival was the owner of the other paper and they were like rival gangs and at one point they fought in the streets of the dusty streets of Springfield.

JB: It's pretty obvious you're obsessed, I think in a wonderful way, with Lincoln. Lincoln was obsessed with Douglas, was he not?

SB: Lincoln regarded the Little Giant. He's always making a disparaging clever remark about how little Douglas is. It's his great rival. Lincoln is not the only self-made man in Illinois in this period his rival is Stephen A Douglas who comes from Vermont. He's a New Englander and he makes himself into a Westerner. He's a self-made man too but Douglas rises farther and faster than Lincoln. It's a Democratic state not a Whig state.

JB: He never referred to him as Little Stevie did he in these debates?

SB: They're the equivalent. He said he's such a little thing.

JB: Did he really?

SB: Yeah. Lincoln would say things like that and you know "I can't bother myself with such a small matter." He would he would disparage him.

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