Obama and Lincoln

Garry Wills has a fascinating essay in The New York Review of Books comparing Barack Obama's race speech to Abraham Lincoln's Cooper Union address. Wills makes the case that though the situation today is of lesser magnitude than the occurrences of 1860, that Obama and Lincoln faced structurally similar challenges of needing to stay true to their promise of change while offering reassurance that they weren't closet radicals.

Of course it should be said that for all Lincoln's greatness, he only got 40 percent of the vote in the 1860 general election, so arguably wasn't all that successful in reassuring people about his views.