In the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jackie Hogan considers how Abraham Lincoln would fit in with today’s Republican Party. The conclusion: Not a chance.
While Republican candidates today win kudos for signing Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge, it is unlikely that Lincoln would sign on, since he, in effect, invented income tax. That is to say, he was the first American president to sign federal income tax into law. And not only that, but it was a progressive income tax, with the wealthiest Americans paying a higher rate. He made no distinctions between earned income and capital gains — money made was money earned — and Lincoln’s administration needed its cut to pull the nation back from the brink of collapse. Strike One against Honest Abe.
Strike Two: He didn’t advertise his faith. The debate over Lincoln’s religious beliefs is a heated one. But there is good evidence that he questioned Christian orthodoxy, perhaps not so surprising at a time when biblical verses were routinely used in defense of slavery (See Note–ed.), an institution he found morally repugnant. While it is true that Lincoln frequently evoked the Divine in his speeches, he never took up membership in a church, and certainly never spoke publicly about his personal relationship with Christ.
Note: Sound familiar?