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Tammy Bruce: Lincoln vs. Obama — The incredible tale of two libraries

This is a story of priorities and hypocrisy, brought to us by a president who saved the Union and was murdered for it, and a president whose policies and malevolence damaged both the nation and the world, and who is being rewarded for it.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation is in trouble. It is auctioning off non-Lincoln related artifacts in an effort to pay back a loan that is coming due. You see, the Lincoln Library doesn’t make a lot of money or attract enough major donors to operate. This is odd, considering President Lincoln is a “favorite” president for so many of today’s modern politicians.

Lincoln wasn’t just a regular touchstone, as an example, for the now super wealthy Barack Obama, he was used to help get Mr. Obama elected as president. Mr. Obama’s affinity for, and similarity to, Mr. Lincoln was made clear to us by his sycophantic legacy media.

“In the last couple of years, several best-selling books have focused on the life and political skills of the nation’s 16th president. And one man in particular has taken a particular interest in not just reading about the Illinois politician, but also modeling himself politically after him. That man: Barack Obama, who will be sworn in as the nation’s 44th — and first African-American — president Tuesday …,” gushed CNN on Jan. 19, 2009.

The New York Times told us, “Not since Lincoln has there been a president as fundamentally shaped — in his life, convictions and outlook on the world — by reading and writing as Barack Obama.” Obama the bookworm. And even better than Lincoln.

Mr. Obama not writing the Gettysburg Address could be fixed, don’t you worry. The Obama White House archive highlights your access to “President Obama’s Handwritten Essay Marking the 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.” Get it? Because Lincoln hand-wrote the Gettysburg address, Mr. Obama would hand-write his homage to the Gettysburg address. Lincoln’s address: 272 words. Obama’s is 273 words.

Isn’t that amazing? Just like Lincoln. There is one significant difference, however, between the men and perfectly illustrated by the two statements — Mr. Obama refers to himself several times. Mr. Lincoln not at all.

Now, the story of their presidential libraries is bringing home issues of priorities, hypocrisy and the fraud of today’s political class.

The Los Angeles Times reported, “The foundation that supports the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum says that prestigious memorabilia tied to the home-state 16th president could be sold to help pay back a loan taken out to buy a trove of items more than a decade ago. … Officials sounded the alarm bell publicly after meeting with aides to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner this month but are ‘receiving no financial commitments.’ The Lincoln officials noted that they’ve asked state lawmakers for money three times, to no avail.”

That’s odd, because Illinois did find money for a presidential library. In September of last year, WTTW reported, “Sources tell Chicago Tonight there have been bipartisan talks among lawmakers for $100 million in capital funding to assist with the Obama Presidential Center.”

While the Lincoln Library languishes, the Obamas are not. With book deals worth a reported $65 million, speaking engagements, a television deal with Netflix, among other financial blockbuster arrangements, both Mr. And Mrs. Obama’s personal wealth is presumed to be north of $50 million each.

And now there is familiar trouble with the Obama Center. The president who promised so much and delivered the opposite has been accused in a federal lawsuit with misrepresenting what the library would offer the community.

In a story headlined “Federal lawsuit accuses Obama center organizers of pulling an ‘institutional bait and switch,’ ” the Chicago Tribune reported, “A federal lawsuit filed by a Chicago nonprofit in an attempt to block the Obama Presidential Center from being built in Jackson Park accuses organizers of pulling an ‘institutional bait and switch’ by shifting the center’s purpose away from being a true presidential library. … The plaintiffs accuse the Obamas of committing an about-face on original plans for the Jackson Park site to be home to a national presidential library that would hold historic documents and archives from Barack Obama’s presidency under the National Archives and Records Administration’s supervision.”

Oh, there will be a library, maybe, sort of. The website Curbed explained what the “center” will offer: “The buildings cover a diverse program: the Forum, a two-story event space for gatherings, like the Obama Summit, held last fall, with a winter garden and a restaurant; the Library, which, sans archives, may house a branch of the Chicago Public Library; the Athletic Center, a public gym with classes; and the Museum, which will house exhibitions about the Obamas in the context of civil rights, African-American, local, and national history.”

In other words, it will be a community organizing mecca with summits, “classes” for young people and exhibitions about the Obamas. For researchers and anyone else interested in the facts and details about what Mr. Obama did during his presidency, you’ll need to go to the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

The struggling Lincoln Library can’t get a straight answer from Illinois’ politicians about financial assistance, yet the state government seriously considers throwing $100 million at the Obama community organizing center.

Imagine what would be accomplished if politicians like the Obamas and Clintons were actually serious about their admiration for Lincoln. Instead, we’re faced with politicians that remain in love with their own image and their own pocketbook.

This column originally appeared in The Washington Times.

Tammy Bruce, president of Independent Women’s Voice, is a radio talk-show host, New York Times best-selling author and Fox News political contributor.

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