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by
Rick Moran

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June 30, 2013 - 6:38 am

Before everyone has a heart attack, President Obama made a very narrow comparison between the two men, pointing out that Mandela stepped down voluntarily after one term just as George Washington did after two terms.

ABC News:

“The outpouring of love that we’ve seen in recent days shows that the triumph of Mandela and this nation speaks to something very deep in the human spirit,” Obama said. “That’s what Mandela represents, that’s what South Africa can represent to the world and what brought me back here.”

Later, when asked about his policy toward Africa, Obama again returned to Mandela.

“Mandela shows what was possible when a priority is placed on human dignity, respect for law, that all people are treated equally,” Obama said.

“And what Nelson Mandela also stood for is that the well-being of the country is more important than the interests of any one person,” Obama continued. “George Washington is admired because after two terms he said enough, I’m going back to being a citizen. There were no term limits, but he said I’m a citizen. I served my time. And it’s time for the next person, because that’s what democracy is about. And Mandela similarly was able to recognize that, despite how revered he was, that part of this transition process was greater than one person.”

At the joint press conference, President Zuma offered an update on Mandela’s health — saying there has been no change in his health but that he hopes he will be able to leave the hospital soon.

“The position of former president Mandela, he remains critical but stable,” Zuma said. “Nothing has changed so far. We are hoping that he is going to improve. With all the prayers and good wishes that have been made, everyone is wishing Mandela well. The doctors who are tending to him are doing everything — these are excellent doctors. We hope that very soon, he will be out of hospital.”

The comparison to Washington is not entirely accurate. Mandela was eased out of the presidency of the African National Congress in 1997. His handpicked successor failed to gain the leadership position, and by that time, Deputy President Thabo Mbeki was ascendant. Mandela never planned to run for a second term — one aspect of Obama’s comparison to Washington that holds true. But if Washington had run again in 1796, he almost certainly would have been chosen unanimously by the electoral college for the third time. Federalists were begging him to run, but Washington, showing a self-abnegation rarely seen in politics, retired and went back to Mount Vernon.

Could Mandela have won a second term if he had run? Almost certainly, yes. But he would have received far fewer votes than the election of 1994 due to the withdrawal of De Klerk and most of the whites from the unity government, and a general unhappiness with the economy.

There is no doubt that Mandela was a great man. Like all great men, the complexities of his life tend to be glossed over when eulogizing him. His association with Communists and terrorists in the ANC is never mentioned, nor is his relative ineffectiveness in managing the South African economy. But as a symbol of hope, he had no equal in Africa and was much admired around the world for his courageous work from prison where he spent 27 years of his life.

It may be overblown to compare Mandela to Washington but politicians can be excused their hyperbole when a great man lies at death’s door and the eulogies begin.

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.

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All Comments   (7)
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Of course, I'm impressed that Obama even knows who George Washington is!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I know of Martha Washington being surrounded by slaves. You wont know of mother killing people because your like minded swept it under the carpet and continued to portray themselves as Messiahs.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Rick MORON I can tell that all this morons supporting your obscured views about Mandela are the disgruntled white idiots from the ruaral farms who were forced out of SA and migrated to other countries because they found it difficult to leave with blacks. They cant even go back to Holland because they were regarded as low class by their own. Sick to the core.

Washington cannot be compared to Mandela because he had millions of slaves wiping off his crooked ass whilst Mandela fought for equality in his native land something he should not have done in the first place were it not for the narrow minded and heartless idiots like you thinking that they are entitled to own African soil.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
By our national embarrassment's reasoning, Polk, Buchanan and Hayes were twice the presidents that Washington and Mandela ever were. They only served one term and walked away.
Facts are dangerous things in the hands of the clueless
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It is a long-standing point of disgust for me that the media refers to Mandela as a mere "activist for social justice" or similar nonsense while utterly ignoring his own willing participation in terrorism. Don't take my word for it, his own words at the Rivonia Trial,as reported on the ANC's own website make this clear: http://www.anc.org.za/show.php?id=3430. I'll leave it to you to decide if you think he suitably justifies the violence and sabotage to which he freely admits.

The media should be PROFOUNDLY ASHAMED for NEVER going into these matters and merely treating Mandela as some gentle peace protester who never hurt anyone or wished anyone harm.

They should also be ashamed for forgetting that Mandela was offered his freedom several years before it was finally granted. There was only a single condition: that he not support or speak in favor of violence. Aside from that, he would have been free to be as politically active as he liked. He chose NOT to have his freedom on those terms and stayed in jail for several more years as a result. The option of using violence was clearly so vital to him that it was worth the price of imprisonment.

When he inevitably dies, all of this will, inevitably, be ignored and he will be treated as the same gentle, harmless soul that he has been for many years, as if he were just the South African version of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Nothing could be further from the truth. King spoke constantly against violence. Mandela helped found the armed wing of the ANC and defended its right to use violence in the furtherance of its aims. Since that wouldn't sit well with the public and interferes with the Leftist narrative, that part of history is simply omitted.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Oh look, what's this Nelson Mandela is singing about with his comrades? Seems to be a cause he can really get behind!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtCA-9o5ux4
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, I don't recall Martha Washington being involved with anything remotely close to necklacing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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