THE BLOG

Barack's Not Honest Abe -- But Neither Was Abraham Lincoln

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The assessment of Barack Obama one year after his historic election has been pretty harsh, whether you're on the right or left. Most pundits seem to believe he's already let US down. His teacher would give little Barack a C with a "needs to apply himself more. Much room for improvement."

I've expressed my own ambivalence and even disappointment in my last post, "Barack Obama, The Token President?" But I made a point then -- and I make it now -- the fat lady not only not sung yet, she's barely got her ample posterior on stage.

We like to look back on past Presidents and precedents to compare to current leaders. But when you actually know something about the real history, it seldom compares with our pop version.

For instance, most of us buy the "Honest Abe" myth and the idea that Lincoln was a loved American icon from the start. But remember, within the first year of his election, the whole country was at war. And even though we like to think all Northerners were on his side, many, if not most, did not care about slaves, let alone want to fight to free them. That's why Lincoln had to start the draft.

The New York Draft Riots (which, quiet as it's kept, may have been the deadliest in our history) happened because Irish longshoreman didn't want to help free slaves that would become competition for their jobs.

So, please, please, please, stay calm. Obama still has 3 years to either become a legend or a loser.