With President Barack Obama having been a resident of Illinois along with representing it as a state legislator and later U.S. Senator, as well as being an African American, it is understandable that he would feel a deep and abiding identification to Abraham Lincoln.
While the sentiment expressed by Lincoln in working with his rivals and seeking bipartisan support was laudable, Obama's historical parallel is much closer to that of popular twentieth century President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a member of Obama's own party.
While Lincoln was the nation's chief executive during America's bloodiest, most costly human conflict, the Civil War, it was Roosevelt who assumed power when America was caught in the biting grip of the Great Depression and a horrific economic reality when one in every four Americans was unemployed.
Like Roosevelt, Obama possesses superior communicative talents. Roosevelt was America's first president to master the national medium of radio through indulging in a folksy manner and being considered the nation's good neighbor as well as leader when he was invited into its homes during his informative pep talks to the nation through his historic fireside chats.
Obama has a similar golden opportunity through television. He has another opportunity as well that was availed to Roosevelt. As a skilled politician, a trait Obama possesses as well based on his incredible rise to the nation's highest office after only having been elected to his first federal office little more than four short years ago, to benefit from an unpopular opposition.
The recent Republican response to the olive branch provided by Obama to become constructive partners in forging a bipartisan stimulus package is comparable to the self-destructiveness engaged in by a myopic opposition during the earlier governance by America's only president ever to be elected to the office four times.
In a Washington fresh out of any semblance of an accepted olive branch, FDR, while summoning Americans to face Depression head on and forge a more promising future, railed against the "economic royalists"- who sought to frustrate his New Deal efforts at virtually every turn.
His popularity increased so demonstrably during his first term that when Roosevelt ran for reelection in 1936 against Republican nominee Governor Alf M. Landon of Kansas, he swept every state save the then diehard GOP Eastern bastions of Maine and Vermont.
Now Obama stands in a comparable position as radio talk show demagogue Rush Limbaugh, representing an ever narrowing Republican base, snaps, "I hope he (Obama) fails!"- during a period when America stands at its most shattering financial calamity since the Great Depression over which Roosevelt presided.
According to latest polling, the Republican who heretofore is the preferred candidate of the party is Sarah Palin. The Alaskan governor was referred to by angry staffers of 2008 party nominee John McCain as a disaster and looms as ill-informed on national and international politics on virtually every occasion when she is questioned by the media.
Last of all there is the tragic comedy of Joe The Plumber, thought by John McCain during his losing campaign to be someone to appeal to mainstream America. At a recent Republican issues seminar the inarticulate Ohioan, who is not even a licensed plumber and owes back taxes to the federal government, was invited to speak to the group on the subject of economics.
With Obama's communicative skills he can exploit the existing picture while promoting the need of broad support for his agenda while boosting the national posture of his party.
(This article is also running on the Political Cortex site.)