To misinterpret a thing is to lie to yourself, albeit unintentionally.
From The New Yorker:
The movie is inspired by Doris Kearns Goodwin’s much and justly praised “Team Of Rivals.” But good books often cast strange shadows, and Goodwin’s account of Lincoln’s enormous instinctive shrewdness in managing his stroppy cabinet of prima donnas has been confused with the idea that Lincoln’s genius was for conciliation and compromise. This leads, in turn, to the notion that Lincoln was a kind of schmoozemeister, reaching out across the aisle, a sort of Tip O’Neill on the Atkins diet. It can’t be said too often, or too clearly, that the whole point of Lincoln is that he—and the Republican Party he then represented—marked the end of the policy of conciliation and compromise and cosseting that had been the general approach of Northern Presidents to the Southern slavery problem throughout the decades before. When the South seceded, Lincoln chose war—an all-out, brutal, bitter war of a kind that had never been fought until then. “Let the erring sisters go in peace!” the editor Horace Greeley recommended, and Lincoln said, “Lock the doors and make them stay.”
The implication here is that Obama, far from being a modern day Lincoln, is, in earnest, the anti-Lincoln. At best, a lukewarm president who sits around waiting for some sort of consensus to emerge.
Obama doesn’t relish making the tough calls, whereas Lincoln knew he had no other choice. That is the job of presidents, especially those who preside over crises, as did Lincoln – as does Obama.
In any case, just as Obama misunderstood Lincoln, we are misunderstanding Obama. He is not some transformative president, as he himself claims, but a meek leader, driven only by pragmatism and pressure. Obama doesn’t lead from behind, as his staffers claim. He leads from the front, and, like a stubborn mule, only moves when prodded.
Lincoln’s fate was to die at the hands of an assassin. Obama will do anything to avoid such a fate, and therein lies the crux of the divide.
It doesn’t matter what Obama tells you. He’s only taking the hard road if pushed. So the only question left to be asked is, how hard are you willing to push to get this mule to work?