Rubio: You must act.

Major General Rubio.

My dear Sir.

Your dispatches complaining that you are not properly sustained, while they do not offend me, do pain me very much.

After you left, I ascertained that only a handful of your advertisements will be against Gen. Trump, as you continue your focus on combating Gen. Cruz. My explicit order that Trump should be destroyed had been neglected. It was precisely this that drove me to write.

I do not forget that I was satisfied with your arrangement to ignore Trump while dealing with General Bush’s loyalists–and his indefatigable cavalry units led by Col. Murphy–in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. But now that Murphy and Bush have been beaten, of course I am not satisfied. And now allow me to ask “Do you really think I should permit the road to Cleveland to be entirely open to Trump’s volunteers, except what resistance could be presented by a few poorly-funded Super PACs?” This is a question which the country will not allow me to evade.

Indeed, there is a curious mystery about the number of opponents now facing you. When I telegraphed you in December. saying that you had some critical endorsements from senators, including Mr. Gardner and Mr. Daines, you noted that you had a dozen rivals and were facing attacks from all sides, such that attacking Trump was not feasible. Yet now, you are facing three fringe candidates and have the entire party establishment behind you. Why do you hesitate?

Field Marshal Romney is not going to provide aide. He is saving his powder for his third party turn. I suppose the whole force which has gone forward for you, is with you by this time; and if so, I think it is the precise time for you to strike a blow. By delay the enemy will relatively gain upon you — that is, he will gain faster, by winning states, than you can by proportional strong-showings alone.

And once more let me tell you, it is indispensable to you that you strike a blow. I am powerless to help this. You will do me the justice to remember I always insisted, that arguing about electability was only shifting, and not surmounting, a difficulty — that we would find the same enemy, and the same, or equal, public support, at either place. Electability will not change the minds of people who contemplate the destruction of our movement. Nor will a focus on decorum. Only a concerted effort to focus on his personal deficiencies–his business failures, his destruction of lives–can turn the tide. Conservatives will not fail to note — are now noting — that the present hesitation to move beyond stale talking points, is but the story of New Hampshire repeated.

I beg to assure you that I have never written you, or spoken to you, in greater kindness of feeling than now, nor with a fuller purpose to sustain you, so far as in my most anxious judgment, I consistently can. But you must act. Yours very truly

A. Lincoln

(Note from the author: I’m working on a weekly podcast about Abraham Lincoln with an old friend from high school. When you’re doing a podcast that requires a lot of research, everything you run into everywhere seems to remind you of it. So, I thought about a famous letter from Lincoln to General George B. McClellan, and I figured it was due for a bit of an update.)

Image from the Library of Congress 


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Dan Scotto lives and works in New Jersey. He has a master's degree in history, with a focus on the history of disease and the history of technology.

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14 thoughts on “Rubio: You must act.

  1. In this vein..

    A. Lincoln
    My dear sir-

    Whither the commanding heights?
    Gen. Trump has entrenched his forces in the fever swamps of Nativism and Racism, and has seized the valley of Populism and Class Rage.

    Our forces draw their strength from the fields of Bootstrappery and Self-Reliance, and the sunny midlands of Reagan optimism.

    We find ourselves caught between the Scylla of the Trump base, and the Charybdis of the remaining American populace.

    Would you have me seize the fever swamps and dispatch Trump, at the Pyrrhic cost of losing the war? Or attack the fever swamps, at the cost of leaving our right flank exposed to a guerilla campaign of disaffected Trump supporters?

    The dark truth, Sir, which must be reckoned with, is that our natural base has been diminished; the march into the fever swamps has left us divided and exhausted and cut the supply lines from the American public from which we drew sustenance.

    My advice, offered in most urgent tones, is to prepare ourselves for a period of banishment and exile.

    banishment and exile, bannnnnn…bbb..bbaaaa

    [system error]

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  2. In the spirit of the piece, and in the spirit of a lot of other discussion, what I’d love to see, but do not expect to see, is for Rubio and Cruz both to withdraw, definitively, from the “pledge to support,” on principled grounds of Trump not authentically being a Republican and having himself violated the spirit of the pledge repeatedly, and promising instead to do all in their power – if necessary by forming a 3rd Party together – to ensure his defeat if he somehow does manage to win the formal nomination. They would either announce the decision in a joint press conference, or at the debate tomorrow, perhaps engaging in a walkout. They would further pledge to work for the unity of the real party, not to spend one moment or one dime attacking each other, and, if neither wins a 1st ballot majority, to let the convention choose between them or any other real Republican candidate.

    That would be real republican Republicanism, in my view – and great reality TV, too. So what could be better?

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  3. “Campaigns are about conflict,” Stevens said. One accident of this election is that the conflict has been only sporadic. Stevens hopes that Rubio wins the nomination, but that hope has been fading. The young Senator has been moving from “cool rally to cool rally” without really taking on Trump, whose successive victories across the country are quickly changing the shape of the race. “Donald Trump has not tapped into something mystical,” Stevens said, before he got off the phone. “He’s just running against campaigns that aren’t running against him. Bet on the guy who’s in the race.”

    http://www.newyorker.com/news/benjamin-wallace-wells/bet-on-donald-trump

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  4. Rubio made a great point the other day that (and I’m paraphrasing) 70% of Republicans are voting against Trump and that the longer that vote is split the better it is for Trump. What I don’t understand is why the establishment doesn’t see and embrace the anger out there that seems to be pushing both Trump and Sanders to the forefront.

    I don’t think the majority of Democrat voters truly support Sanders, but see him as an anti-establishment person. I feel the same about Trump. They want change from the status quo and a left leaning agenda that has been in place for 25 years (yes, including the Bush era of bigger government). Trump is feeding these people what they want to hear (a right leaning version of Obama’s Hope and Change) and if Rubio or Cruz want to defeat him they need to figure out something other than attacking Trump and what MANY see as his positive message to the electorate.

    Failure to embrace the angry Americans out there, empathize with their fears and frustrations and discuss the change they want to see will lead to a Trump/Hillary election.

    Dan, another excellent piece. I admire your ability and creativity from the other side of this great country.

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