Newspapers and magazines characterized him a buffoon. Said he couldn't handle a war, let alone choose men to lead that war.
His own generals second-guessed him. One even ignored him. His economy was in shambles. And his electorate was enraged.
Folks were sharply divided. How did we get into this war? Just how badly are we handling this war?
There was a point when he looked like a doomed one-termer, and despite being re-elected, looked like he'd be, at best, a problem-plagued second-termer.
Foreign nations didn't know what to make of him. His own party often seemed to have its fill him.
His speeches were ignored at the time. His rambling, private musings the stuff of press fodder at the time. He was a dolt, a charlatan, a country bumpkin, ridiculed for telling stories on the stump, but leaving reporters, well, just stumped.
A different world then. Abraham Lincoln then.
Different view now. Abraham Lincoln now.
I'm not smart enough to suggest a present day president can hope for the same historical turnaround.
I am smart enough to say the headlines, and cartoons, of the moment, can look kind of silly themselves.
Funny thing, history.
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