Thursday, November 10, 2011
Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich tried to evoke the famous Lincoln-Douglas debate in an attempt to put substance before politics, laying out approaches to governance, rather than simply offering soundbites. From what little I watched, it seemed a mostly self-congratulatory evening with the two candidates trading compliments more than barbs, and making every attempt to appeal to their Tea Party audience. A far cry from the debates Lincoln and Douglas staged for an Illinois Senate seat in 1858, where the two had profoundly different views on slavery, with Lincoln setting the stage for his eventual presidential run in 1860.
Sadly, it seems history is moot these days. Candidates often evoke the past without any real knowledge of the events they allude to. This is especially true of this event, which was really nothing more than a high-priced fundraiser ($200 a ticket) featuring two of the GOP presidential candidates.