Lincoln’s second inaugural had the lines many Americans still know by heart: “judge not, that we be not judged,” and “fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray,” and, “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
Inviting comparison to that moment inevitably makes Obama’s second-term program, as he outlined it last week — “making modest adjustments to programs like Medicare” and “closing loopholes in our tax code” — seem little.
…But let me really depress Milbank: the next four years will be a political Grind where the weak are crushed by the System. Now is not the time to be an untested politician. Or to rely on one. And of all weaknesses, hidden rot is the worst: it typically picks the worst possible times to manifest itself.