TIME OUTPosted: September 24, 2008
Today is September 24. On this day in 1864, Abraham Lincoln presided over a country at war with itself and a party split to its roots over the question of how to plan for the nation’s reconstruction—to such an extent that on this day, Lincoln reluctantly accepted the resignation of Montgomery Blair, his Postmaster General and a valued advisor, owing to disputes over plans for Reconstruction.
Yet the campaign for the presidency was “now being prosecuted with the utmost vigor,” as one could read in the New York Times.
On this day in 1932, with the nation mired in the Great Depression, you could read Will Rogers in the New York Times saying “This is a year that will bring out lots of votes, for the voter has nothing to do but vote; his 1932 employment consists entirely of voting.” Managing the economic crisis was assuredly a full time job.
Yet Herbert Hoover prepared to give a large speech in Iowa and Franklin Roosevelt had just given what became a famous address to the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco.
All these examples suggest the contest for the presidency has been an indispensable part of American democracy, enduring even in the greatest of crises. But somehow, on this day in 2008, John McCain announced the suspension of his campaign for the presidency and asked for an extension in preparing for this week’s presidential debate.
Bless you, Eric Rauchway. Bless you!