Sunday, April 25, 2010

Carville's "Reptiles" Smear Is a Perfect Illustration of Lincoln Describing the 19th-Century Demonization of Republicans

Plus ça change… James Taranto points out (thanks to Instapundit) that
former Clinton aide James Carville, raising money for the Democratic National Campaign Committee, put his name to an email titled "reptiles," which insults Republicans in a way some see as invidious:
First there was Sarah Palin. Now we can add another Republican reptile from the past trying to help the GOP win House races this year--former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.
How could anybody better illustrate my contention (a mere observation, really) — discernible in my upcoming graphic novel with Dan Greenberg, The Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln — that not much has changed from a century and a half ago, specifically when Honest Abe spoke at the Cooper Union in February 1860 (150 years ago), addressing the Republicans' castigators:
…when you speak of us Republicans, you do so only to denounce us as reptiles, or, at the best, as no better than outlaws. You will grant a hearing to pirates or murderers, but nothing like it to [Republicans]. In all your contentions with one another, each of you deems an unconditional condemnation of [Republicanism] as the first thing to be attended to. Indeed, such condemnation of us seems to be an indispensable prerequisite — license, so to speak — among you to be admitted or permitted to speak at all. Now, can you, or not, be prevailed upon to pause and to consider whether this is quite just to us, or even to yourselves? Bring forward your charges and specifications, and then be patient long enough to hear us deny or justify.

Update: Lincoln Reloaded: The House Divided Speech, Updated for 2010