Jabbing his right hand at the people with thumb and index finger pinched at the tip, Barack Obama said, “In the words of the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln,” emphasizing the word “Republican” while raising his eyebrows and batting his tired eyes from side to side.
Then, raising his nose to look down at the audience and complete his arrogant expression, never reciting anything by Lincoln but suddenly talking about himself, Obama said, “I also believe that government should do for the people what they cannot do better for themselves.” 1
What Obama failed to say about individuals in American society is the following:
The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves – in their separate, and individual capacities.
In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere.
In the words of a great American composer, “That is what he said. That is what Abraham Lincoln said.” 2
1. Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President on the Economy in Parma, Ohio,” The White House, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/09/08/remarks-president-economy-parma-ohio.
2. Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, 9 vols. (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1953-1955), 2:220. Fred Child, “Copland’s ‘Lincoln Portrait’,” NPR Music, November 10, 2004, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4165357.