So Barack Obama thinks that the McCain camp is trying to scare folks. He states that others are saying he is risky because “doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.”.
Race card? Obama’s spokesman Robert Gibbs says no:
What Barack Obama was talking about was that he didn’t get here after spending decades in Washington,” Gibbs said. (See Jonathan Martin, Politco.com)
Interesting. So this got me to thinking about history. How many of those other faces on dollar bills (I’m assuming he means all demoninations) became president as Washington insiders?
One dollar bill: George Washington. Despite the fact that there was no Washington at the time he was president, he was the general who won the Revolutionary War. He was also a humble citizen/patriot.
Two dollar bill: Thomas Jefferson. Author of the Declaration of Independence and important advocate for liberty. A Founding Father. Because of him, our Constitution contained a Bill of Rights as he was one of its most influential advocates. Another man who was not a Washington insider. Another citizen/patriot
Five dollar bill: Abraham Lincoln. Led this country through its bleakest hours. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves. He was assassinated for his courage. And, he wasn’t a Washington insider, having served in the US House of Representatives for two years (1847-49) over a decade before being elected to the presidency.
Ten dollar bill: Alexander Hamilton. Never president. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, a member of the Continental Congress and the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention, which adopted the Constitution of 1787. He was the first Secretary of the Treasury. Perhaps an insider, but like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, he is a Founding Father.
Twenty dollar bill: Andrew Jackson. General revered for defeating the British in New Orleans during the War of 1812. He had been involved in politics in the late 18th century and served for less than one year in the US House of Representatives (1797-98 ) as Tennessee’s first elected congressman. He also served in the Senate for less than two years (1823-24). He became President in 1828, running against the Washington establishment as a champion of the common man. Definitely not a Washington insider.
Fifty dollar bill: Ulysses S. Grant. Victorious general of the Civil War. Never held public office prior to being elected President. Not a Washington insider. Not even a politician.
One hundred dollar bill: Benjamin Franklin: Never President. Founding Father, author, inventor, entrepreneur, he helped draft the Declaration of Independence with Thomas Jefferson. Many consider him to be the quintessential prototype of the self-made American man. Another citizen/patriot.
So, what do all these men have in common? Were they Washington insiders as Senator Obama’s camp wishes to paint them? I would say no. They were men who gave their all for their countries. They were men who helped shape this country’s ideas and its destiny. They were some of our best, and were thus honored. The Obama campaign should not cheapen their accomplishments by labelling them Washington insiders like they were simply sleezy political pols. It is an insult to our heritage and the men who have made our country great.
Senator Obama, you could only wish to resemble the men whose faces adorn our currency.
Update: The Obama camp admits that it really was about his race. Big surprise.