Saturday, March 24, 2007

Fact Checking the Fake News

The blog (which, frankly, seems to be a smorgasboard of Comedy Central clips and crazy left wing ranting) brings us a clip from the Daily Show in which "Jon [Stewart] exposes John [Bolton] for the ignorant f**k he is." (Gotta love the ad hominem. Classic moonbat-ery.)

In the clip, Stewart (admittedly comically) attempts to take Bolton to task for supposedly getting his history wrong on President Lincoln's cabinet appointments.

The clip begins with a review of an interview between Stewart and Bolton:

Stewart: Let's go with Lincoln. He chose people with varying points of view. People that truly disagreed with him. And empowered them.

Bolton: I think you are historically wrong on Lincoln.

Then the clip progresses to another previous interview, this time between Stewart and historian/author (and plagiarist?) Doris Kearns Goodwin:

Stewart:[Lincoln's] approach is perhaps the antithesis of politics today which was to place people in his cabinet from different political parties. People that were even enemies of his.

Kearns Goodwin:Absolutely. I mean, he put into his cabinet all the people who thought they should have been president.

Kearns Goodwin's latest book is even titled "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln." It would certainly seem Lincoln's cabinet surely did consist of "people with varying points of view;" "people that truly disagreed with him;" perhaps even people "from different political parties."

Well, I decided to stop by Wikipedia to see what all this "true disagreement" would have been about. After all, Lincoln wasn't too crazy about divided houses.

Looking through Lincoln's initial cabinet, I couldn't find a whole lot of disagreement. There were people who were political rivals, although they were rivals like John Kerry and John Edwards are political rivals, and just like Edwards jumped onto the Kerry boat, these cabinet members ended up jumping on the Lincoln boat.

Lincoln met with his Cabinet for the first reading of the Emancipation Proclamation draftTaking a look:

  • William H. Seward - Secretary of State
    Anti-slavery. Republican.
    "When Abraham Lincoln won the nomination Seward loyally supported him and made a long speaking tour of the West in the autumn of 1860."

  • Salmon P. Chase - Secretary of the Treasury
    Anti-slavery. Republican.
    "Chase sought the Republican nomination for president in 1860; at the Party convention, he got 49 votes on the first ballot and afterwards threw his support to Abraham Lincoln."

  • Simon Cameron - Secretary of War
    Republican. (Position on slavery not given on Wikipedia.)
    "[He] was nominated for President, but gave his support to Abraham Lincoln at the 1860 Republican National Convention"

  • Edward Bates - Attorney General
    Anti-slavery [but wanted freed blacks to go back to Africa]. Republican.
    "[Bates] was one of the three main candidates for the [Republican] party's 1860 presidential nomination, which was won by Abraham Lincoln. The next year, after winning the election, Lincoln appointed Bates as his Attorney General."

  • Montgomery Blair - Postmaster General
    Anti-slavery. Republican.
    "In 1860 he took an active part in the presidential campaign in behalf of Abraham Lincoln."

  • Gideon Welles - Secretary of the Navy
    Anti-slavery. Republican.
    "Welles strong support of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 made him the logical candidate from New England for Lincoln's cabinet, and in March 1861 Lincoln named Welles his Secretary of the Navy."

  • Caleb Blood Smith - Secretary of the Interior
    Lukewarm-but-Anti-slavery. Republican.
    "He was influential in securing the nomination of Abraham Lincoln for the presidency at the Chicago Republican National Convention in 1860."

That's correct: All Republicans at the time they were in Lincoln's cabinet. All in apparent agreement on the slavery issue. All supporters of Lincoln. All but Cameron (who was no longer in the Cabinet at the time) are even in that picture working together on the Emancipation Proclamation.

Kearns Goodwin is correct in saying Lincoln "put into his cabinet all the people who thought they should have been president" but she absolutely should not have given an "absolutely" response to Stewart's conjecture the cabinet was made up of different political parties and enemies of Lincoln.

Stewart zero.
Bolton +1.