America's Love for Republican Lincoln Stronger Than Ever

Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 01:55 PM

By Martin Gould

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America's Love for Abraham Lincoln — the iconic leader of the Republican Party — is stronger than ever.

The 16th president is popping up everywhere — he's on the front cover of magazines, he tops popularity polls, and he's even the hero of a new blockbuster movie.

Americans just can't get enough of him.

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And that's bad news for Barack Obama — it’s not him the country is talking about on the eve of a major election. Instead, it’s Honest Abe, the Rail Splitter, the Great Emancipator — and if you take one totally unscientific poll — the Best Babysitter.

Lincoln has already been the subject of two movies this year. And while “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” did not exactly set the box office alight, and "Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies" disappeared without trace, Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” with two-time Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role and Sally Field as his first lady is expected to fare much better when it hits theaters next month.

Such is Lincoln’s hold over the American psyche that Spielberg allegedly insisted the movie had to come out after the election so as not to allow either side to score political points in the campaign.

And Lincoln-mania continues as the 150th anniversary of his assassination nears. The History Channel found that most Americans want him in the White House rather than Obama or Mitt Romney.

The History Channel poll, done for its series, "Mankind: The Story of Us All," gave Lincoln 67 percent of the vote of historical figures, way ahead of two people who wouldn’t even have qualified as they weren’t Americans — Winston Churchill with 15 percent and Alexander the Great on 8 percent.

Both Time and Newsweek have featured Lincoln in recent weeks, with Time asking “What Would Lincoln Do?” if he were in the 2012 election on its cover.

Writing in Newsweek, Sidney Blumenthal, clearly referencing the politics of today, said, “Lincoln’s presidency demonstrates that partisanship and political ruthlessness can be used to advance the highest ideals.”

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In New York, artist Krzysztof Wodiczko is even bringing Lincoln to life with a video projection on to the president’s statue in Union Square.

And what was that about babysitting? National Public Radio asked five historians which president would have been best to stay home with the kids. Lincoln won out with two votes — ahead of George Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, and Bill Clinton who received one vote each.

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