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OPINION

Obama aims to associate himself with Abe, but can he live up to Lincoln’s words?

  • AP

  • Jan. 14, 2013: President Barack Obama speaks during the final news conference of his first term in the East Room of the White House.AP

When he is sworn in for a second term on January 21, President Obama will use the Bible from Abraham Lincoln’s 1861 inauguration. President Obama has purposely scheduled his State of the Union Address on February 12—Lincoln’s birthday. Clearly, President Obama likes to associate himself with Lincoln, but what does that mean unless he comports himself like Lincoln?

Deeds mean more than words, but a good first step would be if President Obama, in his Inaugural and State of the Union Addresses, responds to two quotes from President Lincoln.

The first Lincoln quote is: “I have faith in the people. They will not consent to disunion. The danger is, that they are misled. Let them know the truth and the country is safe.”

Now, let me address the president directly: Mr. Obama, there are many reasons for the disunion—the discord and division—in our country today. But let us focus on two areas of great debate: our economic security and our national security. Mr. President, in your addresses to the nation, can you lead, with the truth, so that we, the people, can gauge whether our country is truly safe?

Regarding economic security, House Speaker John Boehner claims that you told him several weeks ago that “We don’t have a spending problem” because annual federal deficits exceeding a trillion dollars are caused by what Speaker Boehner says you called “a health care problem.”

Mr. President, we need you to affirm or deny whether Mr. Boehner accurately quoted you. And please explain how your health care reforms (which you readily call “ObamaCare”) will truthfully reduce massive annual deficits (and health care costs) rather than multiply them.

Mr. President, two weeks before your re-election, you released a 20-page agenda for your second term entitled “A New Economic Patriotism: A Plan for Jobs and Middle Class Security.”

In it, you wrote, “Small businesses create two out of every three new jobs in America.” But according to an October survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “76 percent of small businesses say the health care bill makes it harder to hire more employees” and “79 percent of small businesses surveyed feel that the Administration is not doing enough to keep energy prices low, and 76 percent say that higher energy prices threaten their business.”

As far as “middle class security,” with our gross domestic product growing a paltry two percent a year, The Wall Street Journal writes, “Without 3%-4% growth, Mr. Obama will never get middle-class incomes back to what they were even in 2007.”

So, President Obama, what will you tell us about four threats to our economic security: high government spending, high unemployment, high government regulation (including of energy) and low growth?

Concerning national security, we also need the truth—and leadership. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says that automatic cuts in defense funding planned in March “if left unresolved by the Congress, will seriously harm our military readiness.”

We support trimming waste in government—including any involving the military.

Nevertheless, Mr. President, how will you respond to Secretary Panetta and how will you answer this question raised by Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey: “If we’re required to do these cuts, suddenly we’ve got to achieve these levels of savings, how do you protect the war-fighters, those involved in Afghanistan, those areas that are critical to our national defense?”

Also, President Obama, it is more than four months since four Americans were murdered in a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. In October, you said, “"I am ultimately responsible for what's taking place there because these are my folks, and I'm the one who has to greet those coffins when they come home.” You added that the United States was "going to find out who did this and hunt them down."

This assault on the security of our diplomats and first responders overseas remains unavenged. War hero and Senator John McCain has accused you, Mr. President, of “either a cover-up or incompetence.” What will you say about these national security matters?

All of this brings us to the second Lincoln quote: “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”

President Obama, regarding economic security and national security, you have repeatedly avowed your responsibility.

Please think of this, when your hand is on Lincoln’s Bible; when you deliver your Inaugural, and during your State of the Union Address on Lincoln’s birthday.

Mr. President, we will hold you to your words and refer you to those of the president you so admire, Abraham Lincoln.

Jon Kraushar, a communications consultant to corporate and political leaders, is at www.jonkraushar.net.