Soaking in the Big 150

By Steve Carr

Idaho Territory celebrated its 150th birthday this year. That’s not that long when you figure I’ve been here for most of a third of it.

Still, any excuse to celebrate, so the Idaho Legislature renamed the Senate Auditorium after the U.S. President who signed our territorial papers, Abraham Lincoln.

Lately I’ve been hearing Lincoln this and Lincoln that, so, I decided to get me some education about the man. Last month I spent some time in the Idaho Falls Public Library with the President, sans stovepipe hat. I have to say, he throws a pretty darn inspiring fireside chat. Frankly, he didn’t look much like the Abraham Lincoln portrayed on my nickel, and he sported a distinct Idaho inflection to his voice. But surely no one other than Honest Abe himself could have known as much about our 16th President, so I concluded that Dr. David Adler, a scholar of the American presidency, must have been channeling Mr. Lincoln from Presidents’ Paradise for the distinct and distinctly Idaho crowd.

It wasn’t his abundant knowledge of intimate details that really sold it for me, but the manner in which he interacted with the anxious audience. Regardless of the edge or angle of several soapbox statements disguised as questions, our “greatest” President graciously and tactfully responded, seguing from Tea Party to balanced repast without upsetting a single teacup. Who else but the man who saved the Union could have been so adept at negotiating such a varied and opinionated crowd?

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