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What would Abe do?

Yeesh, I’m embarrassed on behalf of Joe Klein. Not that I have much good to say about the guy, but well…it’s like when I was quite young and I used to squirm while watching Lucille Ball get herself involved in a really stupid situation on I Love Lucy. Even though I knew it was all made up, I couldn’t help feeling embarrassed for the lady. But this is even worse. This is real.

Klein purports to channel Abraham Lincoln and tells us exactly what Lincoln would have done had he had to deal with the “fiscal cliff”. I know it’s a wild coincidence, but it turns out Lincoln would have done precisely the same thing that Klein would do, which means, I guess, that we should all conclude that we missed out on a great president when Klein decided to be a “journalist”.

What would Lincoln do about the fiscal cliff? The answer seems obvious. He would narrow the debate where necessary—on the revenue side—while expanding it to make more-creative long-term judgments about spending. He’d set a revenue figure, let’s say $2 trillion, and allow politics to run its course toward a $1.5 trillion-or-so compromise, with the actual menu of rate increases and loophole closings subject to the convenience of the pols. On the spending side, he would probably have to look at health care in a new way.

(via Balloon Juice)

Of course, Klein has zero insight into what Lincoln would do about the “fiscal cliff”, other than be unsurprised that it’s been engineered by a bunch of Southerners. But attributing his own opinions to Lincoln, at least in his own mind, gives them a validity they would lack if they had to stand unbuttressed by the asserted endorsement of our greatest president. But give Klein credit, at least he didn’t claim that he could channel God., though how can we assume anything other than that God would agree with Honest Abe?

It is sometimes possible to make a convincing case that we can guess what a certain person might have said or done in a given situation, but it’s never possible to truly know. It’s never a good idea to assume that they would share our own beliefs. There must be a psychological name for this phenomenon. I couldn’t find it, even after five minutes of googling, but I’m pretty sure that Freud and Jung would both agree (as would both Aristotle and Plato if they could read Freud first) that it’s a form of projection, and in this case it’s so blatant that it truly is embarrassing.

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