Countless political observers, including me, have opined in recent years that Abraham Lincoln wouldn’t like what’s become of his Republican Party a century and a half after his presidency.
Not surprisingly, the Pulitzer Prize-winning screenwriter of Steven Spielberg’s new movie about Lincoln, has JOINED the chorus:
As his Whig Party crumbled in the middle of the fight over slavery and free territories, Abraham Lincoln had a major hand in founding the Republican Party, a northern faction that was the chief rival to the Southern-based Democrats.
Clearly, times have changed. And now, says “Lincoln” screenwriter Tony Kushner, the GOP would not be recognizable to the 16th president, or a party to which he would belong.
“The Republican Party today has turned into a group of people who don’t actually believe that government is a good thing,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter this week. “You can’t have any connection to Abraham Lincoln if you think that. Lincoln was a lawyer who had a profound belief in the conviction that government was a great blessing for humanity, and he certainly wouldn’t have read Ayn Rand. He wouldn’t have had any interest.”
Instead, Kushner surmises, the man often called the Father of the Republican Party would be a Democrat.
“Oh, there’s no question,” Kushner asserts. “He was a progressive, centrist candidate who believed in government, taxation, created the federal income tax, created the federal bank, created the draft, believed in a strong federal government and believed in equality, believed that the government had a role to play in protecting in minorities from the majority and tyranny.”