March 18, 2010

The conservative blogosphere is abuzz over the Bret Baier's contentious interview Wednesday with President Obama. Of course, Baier's repeated interruptions and confrontational tone should come as no surprise. After all, the Fox News hatchet man established his partisan bona fides two years ago in an exclusive interview with President Bush titled, "George W. Bush: Fighting to the Finish." And in that lovefest which Fox News deemed a "historic documentary" (and which is available from for $19.95), Baier compared Bush to Abraham Lincoln.

Mercifully, you don't waste your money or your time listening to a fawning Bret Baier toss George W. Bush softball questions or lay rhetorical rose pedals as his feet during that 2008 hagiography. After his "unflinching, fair and balanced interview with the 43rd president," Baier explained how Bush "was inspired by the writings and deeds of Abraham Lincoln":

"We talked a lot about President Lincoln. And there's going to be a lot of people out there who watch this hour and say, is he trying to equate himself with Lincoln?

I tell you what - he thinks about Lincoln and the tough times that he had during the Civil War. 600,000 dead. The country essentially hated him when he was leaving office.

"And the President reflects on that. This is a President who is really reflecting on his place in history."

That Lincoln didn't "leave office" but was instead assassinated just one month after his second inaugural is one of the more humorous errors produced by Fox News in its ongoing efforts to rewrite history on behalf of President Bush and the Republican Party.

As I documented previously, throughout his second term Dubya sought to equate himself with the Great Emancipator. As ThinkProgress noted in January 2008, "the list of conservatives who have sought to frame Bush as Lincoln is long; it includes Newt Gingrich, John Gibson, David Brooks, and Rudy Giuliani." In February of that year, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales during an address at Washington University "repeatedly made references comparing himself and the Bush administration to the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, suggesting that Lincoln was highly criticized during his presidency and is now highly revered."

Meanwhile, over at the National Review, Seth Liebsohn was ecstatic, crowing that "Bret Baier just concluded the single best interview of President Obama in a year, by any reporter." And no doubt, it was the best interview of any president since Bret Baier described George W. Bush as the second coming of Abraham Lincoln.

(This piece also appears at Perrspectives.)

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