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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

WASHINGTON — Can President Obama take advantage of the egalitarian sentiment let loose in the country by the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations? Would doing so be consistent with the moderate, conciliatory persona he has cultivated?

The best response comes not from polls but from history. Eric Foner’s magnificent book on Abraham Lincoln’s evolving views on the slavery question, “The Fiery Trial,” offers some surprisingly relevant lessons.

  • Ben The Pen

    Wow, it really gets much more into perspective when addressed from an historic perspective. Nice job, EJ! We can only hope that Mr. Obama will forget about trying to be Mr. Nice Guy and appease the unappeasible Republicans whose sole agenda is to ensure his one-term presidency. He must come to realize that the juncture at which America now is, is no less critical than was the case in 1860s America. The destruction of the middle class and the concentration of wealth in the 1%-ers and the corporations cannot continue with the abetting and encouragement of the GOP. Shame on them for calling themselves public servants and (in the main) Christians: what would Jesus do? Sure as hell not what they’re doing!

  • Diane H

    Succinct and to the point. I hope President Obama takes this to heart.

  • Mother Outlaw

    I took part in the Occupy Santa Rosa, California demonstration. There were about 2,700 of us and most were just average people, young, old middle aged. We didn’t cause any fuss, listened to some pretty impressive speechifying,marched around downtown and, I thought, made a pretty impressive statement being there. Many people had sad stories to tell. The middle class, the young and the old are being crushed in today’s America. Obama is going to have to step up and keep the Republican’s feet to the fire. They hate him anyway and they are not going to give him anything. They have said as much. He has to ask for what we need and make it undeniable who the obstructionists are who are destroying our country. The American Dream has become the American nightmare.

  • MarkG

    A good column. But in case Mr. Dionne missed it, the President has already made the switch from conciliator to hardliner…it happened when he presented his jobs bill to the joint Congressional session. Remember, President Obama is a great student of Lincoln, and he knew he needed his own “Fort Sumter” before he could follow Lincoln’s example; conveniently, the Republican’s provided it with the debt ceiling debate.