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Monday, November 13, 2006

Bicentennial Commission slackers?

John Ruberry, writing for Illinoize, discusses a recent article in the National Review (no link) about the fund raising status of the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. (Lincoln Bicentennial Commission playing with Lincoln Logs.)

Abraham Lincoln's actual 200th birthday is February 12, 2009. But, the "party" kicks off in February 2008, a little more than a year from now, and goes for two years thereafter.

When last I visited this issue back in March (link), the Commission was looking to raise $100 million in private donations. Ruberry quotes from the National Review:

The money isn't exactly rolling in. The commission refuses to say publicly how much cash it has raised, but as of several months ago, it had not even reached six-figure territory, let alone millions or tens of millions of dollars. "If you have an imagination deficit, a financial deficit will follow," says a source familiar with the commission's workings.

That's not even a hundred thousand dollars. And, why and how can the Commission refuse to disclose what's in its coffers? Is this not a public body? As such, aren't we entitled to know such information. I could be wrong, but I thought we would be.

The "imagination deficit" refers to certain political appointees on the Commission. Most of these people probably find it impossible to step out of the role of political fund raiser and all that entails. I'll let John Ruberry hack on them. He does it much better than I would, anyway. But first, it should be noted that there are also historians, scholars and artists on the Commission.

My thoughts on how this Bicentennial thing will play out:

Most, if not all, of what we will see here in Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky (all of which have their own state Bicentennial Commissions by now, I hope), is going to be financed by local municipalities and the states. That is, there's not going to be any influx of cash from the Commission into these various Lincoln communities. If I'm right, then those locales are going to have to step up their tourist efforts and the dollar investments that go with that. The return on their investments will be there, though. Definitely. Without a doubt.

Whatever the main Bicentennial Commission puts together with its big bucks, like fireworks at the Lincoln Monument in Washington, a Library of Congress truck, and an international conference on slavery (if at all), will be watched by the rest of us on C-Span.

Posted by Marie at November 13, 2006 11:03 PM


Good post.

More should be done.

This could be a really big celebration, and chance for people to learn about Lincoln, and the times in which he lived.

At the very least the State should be advertising the event.

Every dollar spent would be recouped in tourist dollars.

This is a once in a lifetime event.


Posted by: JeromePrpphet at November 17, 2006 4:10 PM