“The Toil And Sacrifice Of Ordinary Men And Women”



President Barack Obama

Happy Presidents Day, everyone! Last week, I traveled back to Springfield, Illinois – where I got a chance to reflect a little bit on my favorite president and fellow Illinoisan – Abraham Lincoln.

As I said there, Lincoln wasn’t always the giant of history that we think of today. He didn’t have formal schooling. His businesses and his law practice often struggled. He left Congress after just one term because his opposition to the Mexican-American War damaged his reputation. But then, something happened that shook his conscience. Congress effectively overturned the Missouri Compromise, that flawed law that had prohibited slavery in the North and legalized it in the South.




Over the next six years, his arguments with Stephen Douglas and others helped shape the national debate around slavery. And it was on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield where he uttered those brilliant words, that “A house divided against itself cannot stand;” and that “this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free.”

Lincoln went on to become the first Republican President, and I believe our greatest president. Through his will, his words, and most of all, his character, he held a nation together and helped free a people.




Late at night, I sometimes walk down the hall to a room Lincoln used as his office that contains an original copy of the Gettysburg address. I linger on a few words that have helped define our American experiment: “A new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Lincoln grasped, maybe more than anyone, the burdens required to give those words meaning. And he understood that it is through the toil and sacrifice of ordinary men and women that our country is built and freedom is preserved.

119 Responses to ““The Toil And Sacrifice Of Ordinary Men And Women””

  1. 1 Nena20409
    February 15, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Just entered with a Leave a Message Greetings 😉 Thanks, NW!
    Good Afternoon.
    Off I Go, back later 😉

  2. 6 GGail
    February 15, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    “A house divided against itself cannot stand;” and that “this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free.”
    And the fight continues…

    Thanks NW for posting this!

    Congrats Nena on First 🙂

  3. 8 jacquelineoboomer
    February 15, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    Good afternoon, TOD – and Happy President’s Day, President Barack Obama!

  4. 9 Dudette
    February 15, 2016 at 3:51 pm

  5. February 15, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Powerful wonderful moving. Lovely combination of our great President’s reflections on Lincoln and these images of PBO taking care of our Nation’s Business in a room where Dr. King and Honest Abe have his back. And we have his back! Happy President’s Day, with the Greatest President in our history leading us from the White House.

  6. February 15, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    This freak is going after Bernie voters and they just might fall for it if Bernie doesn’t win.

  7. 20 desertflower
    February 15, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Bernie’s late with that “revolution” bullshit. Already happening…it’s called the GOP!!

    • February 15, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      The writer felt compelled to speculate that a dem congress would do the same. That is not true. A dem congress brought us SS,medicare, Medicaid, ACA, Wall Street reform. This is what dems do

  8. February 15, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Good Afternoon Everyone 🙂

  9. 23 Dudette
    February 15, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    Excellent post, Nerdy!
    Thank you just doesn’t seem enough! You totally ROCK! 😘

  10. 26 Allison
    February 15, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    • 27 COS
      February 15, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      What about the wall and deportation?????

    • February 15, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      I have to wonder what is going into this calculation.

    • 30 Linda
      February 15, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      He just claimed he never said that or did not hear the question…..

    • 31 jackiegrumbacher
      February 15, 2016 at 4:50 pm

      Allison, I don’t believe Trump thinks clearly and has no principles or beliefs to rely on. He says whatever comes to his mind at the moment to get a rise out of people or because he doesn’t really understand the question. Whatever “success” he’s had in his life is because he’s brash and a bully who pretty much bulldozes over people the way he bulldozes over property to put up one of his monstrous buildings. It’s beyond sad that this failed human being is pushing his way to the Republican nomination. His approach to the presidency would be to act as a human wrecking ball, destroying everything in sight, including any chance that this country would remain a democracy. Should he become the R nominee, the only hope for the US rests with Democratic voters.

    • 32 vcprezofan2
      February 15, 2016 at 4:57 pm

      Trumps says whatever he believes the audience of the moment needs to hear This approach works *well* for him because he doesn’t stand for people questioning him or challenging him. He throws a similar kind of tantrum to the ones of other Republicans in office who pout, obstruct and grandstand when they don’t get their own way. What a Republican leader! :/

      • 33 Obama Grandmama
        February 16, 2016 at 12:03 am

        MSNBC had an hour show put together featuring Trump and his history last year. They presented negatives as well as positives in his life though I felt they skipped over much of the negative business scams. I do remember thinking how Trump explained getting financial backers for his Atlantic City property deal pretty much represented his way of dealing with life in general. He said he got together all the construction equipment he could, telling the operators to just look busy moving dirt etc. Then when the potential backers saw what a big operation it was they were in instantly. Seems like a giant con man to me. And proud of it. No moral compass! We do not need that kind of person for the leader of the free world.

    • February 15, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      He is a SICK DRIFTER shape-shifter.

    • 35 nospin
      February 15, 2016 at 5:23 pm


  11. 36 JER
    February 15, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    • 37 jackiegrumbacher
      February 15, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      The energy of our President is almost beyond human. The number of people who could golf for five hours and then function at top form during an international conference is probably close to nil. He never ceases to amaze me.

  12. February 15, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    Congrats Nena 🙂

    Anyone surprised ….

    BTW, yet again today, Trump attacks the GOP in ways no “establishment” Republican (elected or otherwise) ever would dare.

    As noted late last night in a previous thread, I’m beginning to wonder just what his ‘agenda’ is.

    If it’s to nuke the party of Nixon/Reagan/GWB, he’s doing a rather spectacular job.

    • February 15, 2016 at 4:55 pm

      Couldn’t resist ….

    • 42 jackiegrumbacher
      February 15, 2016 at 4:55 pm

      If nuking the R party is his goal, I congratulate him. If he’s actually trying to become president, I will do everything in my limited power to stop him.

      • February 15, 2016 at 5:01 pm

        No way any sane person is going to enable the kook to become President, JackieG!!

        I’m just beginning to wonder how far this guy is willing to go in his ‘march to the sea,’ ‘take no prisoners’ approach to the GOP. At this point, I see zero indication he intends to stop and I also see no Republican even beginning to have the fortitude or credibility to stop him.

        We are witnessing US Political History, in real time, the likes of which haven’t been seen since Senator Jeff Davis decided to destroy the United States of America.

        • 44 jackiegrumbacher
          February 15, 2016 at 5:10 pm

          And let us all hope he has the same fate as Jeff Davis and takes the whole Republican Party down with him.

        • 45 nospin
          February 15, 2016 at 5:26 pm

          “No way any sane person is going to enable the kook to become President, JackieG!!”

          worth repeating

          • 46 jackiegrumbacher
            February 15, 2016 at 5:29 pm

            Yes, nospin, but we’ve got to hope that the number of ‘sane’ outnumbers the insane come November.

      • February 15, 2016 at 5:23 pm

        He’s manipulating the hell out of EVERYBODY.

  13. 49 MadameSoph
    February 15, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Thanks for making this into a post Nerdy Wonka.

    Happy President’s Day TOD!

    Still visualizing peace among the dogies for Chips.

  14. 50 MadameSoph
    February 15, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    HRC was sooooo not my first choice, but she is definitely growing on me lately. I really think her time with PBO, working with him and watching him, and maybe also the experience of losing in 2008, has made her a better-qualified candidate.

    Gotta tend to my To-do list, but ran across this article this morning and wanted to share the last paragraph:

    Hillary Captures Flint Endorsements

    “In announcing the endorsements, the campaign also said Clinton is asking campaign volunteers to join the Red Cross and United Way to distribute water to residents of Flint, rather than canvass for votes. Clinton is also calling on President Barack Obama to issue a Medicaid waiver to Michigan so that Flint residents under the age of 21 will receive universal Medicaid coverage.”


    • 51 jackiegrumbacher
      February 15, 2016 at 5:17 pm

      MS, Hillary Clinton is very pragmatic and figures out how to get things done, instead of just talking about them. I like that about her and I know that PBO did as well when she was working with him as SOS. If she becomes president, she will work long and hard to “get things done’ that will help people in a practical way. She will build on PBO’s legacy and not destroy it as any of the other candidates, including Bernie, will do.

      • 52 Obama Grandmama
        February 16, 2016 at 12:20 am

        I know Bernie seems to be more inspirational than Hillary, but she is a worker bee. She has practical plans that have been thought out not impossible dreams that excite the crowd. The problem is Barack was both the inspirational speaker that could excite the crowd plus a pragmatic practical hard worker that could get things done. It is hard to replace him. Now we have to choose which we want instead of getting both in one person.
        In retrospect I am thinking of my Orthopedic surgeon who has operated on replacing one of my knees and one of my hips. I stay with him as a surgeon due to his technical excellence even though his bedside manner sucks. He will be replacing my other knee in May.

  15. February 15, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      February 15, 2016 at 5:29 pm


  16. 55 JER
    February 15, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    BEGINNING SHORTLY – President Obama Holds a Meeting with ASEAN Leaders

  17. February 15, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    This guy has NO idea – ZIP, ZERO – who he’s talking about:

    • February 15, 2016 at 6:19 pm

      • 59 jackiegrumbacher
        February 15, 2016 at 10:16 pm

        Trump is a grown man in his late sixties who has the audacity to run for president and DOES NOT KNOW what the term, “Dreamers” means. He has the ignorance you would expect of a young adolescent who never follows the news and has no Latino friends. That this would be an acceptable level of ignorance to a large swath of Republican voters is beyond tragic. You have to truly hate your country to think a political illiterate is qualified to run it.

      • 60 Obama Grandmama
        February 16, 2016 at 12:24 am

        That is what I thought too when he said dreamers that come from the United States. I think Trump is into changing the subject and BSing his way through what he does not know. Not Presidential material!

  18. February 15, 2016 at 6:28 pm

  19. February 15, 2016 at 6:31 pm


  20. February 15, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    WOW…is this really happening

  21. 65 Nerdy Wonka
    February 15, 2016 at 6:38 pm

  22. February 15, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    PA: The Republican incumbent Patrick Toomey wants to stay in the Senate, but he is not a very popular politician in this state. The two leading Democrats are Katie McGinty (former chief of staff to Governor Tom Wolf) and former Representative Joe Sestak, whom Toomey narrowly defeated six years ago as part of the GOP wave. Pennsylvania will also see a highly competitive race for president, even though a GOP presidential candidate hasn’t won Pennsylvania since 1988. A strong Democratic turnout could doom Toomey’s re-election bid and help the Democratss take back the Senate. Possible Democratic pickup.

    • 70 JER
      February 15, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    • 71 JER
      February 15, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    • 72 jackiegrumbacher
      February 15, 2016 at 10:09 pm

      Pf, we would have been in a better position for the Senate race if Ed Rendell had not pushed McGinty into the race out of his resentment for Sestak. Once again, Sestak will have to spend a lot of money in the primary and be in a weakened position financially for the general if he wins. If McGinty wins, I truly question her ability to go up against Toomey, as she’s never really won an elected office. Rendell always manages to put his thumb on the scale when it comes to high stakes elections in this state. He does a disservice to all Democrats in the state.

  23. 74 GGail
    February 15, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    I just saw this on NW’s tweeter feed & I love It!
    “That moment you realize that for 7 years, we’ve had a POTUS who doesn’t speak gibberish”

  24. February 15, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    Beautiful – thanks a million Nerdy!!

  25. February 15, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    I really don’t get these people.

    • February 15, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    • 80 Don
      February 15, 2016 at 7:11 pm

      Is it enough to take him down? Motherfucker please, oh you mean like you and every other fucker out there that tried to take down President Obama just because he did it his way? The balls on these guys, now that they see that the bullshit that Bernie has been feeding them don’t smell of rosy, they want everybody to take it easy on Bernie. No motherfucker it doesn’t work like that, because when you come for the king you best not miss.

  26. 83 susanne
    February 15, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    Aloha Todville!
    Have you read this article from WaPo? Lots in here is news to me.

    ‘ Few have even heard of Mosteller, but if you look closely at photographs taken inside the White House, you can often glimpse him at the edge of the frame, omnipresent. From his chair, he is the only person in the White House with a direct view of the president at his desk. No one gets in the Oval Office without going past him. ‘


    • February 15, 2016 at 7:17 pm

      Oh my gosh. What a wonderful MUST READ piece. I’ve always admired Brian and his devotion to President Obama. And now we get to read more about him and his work. A wonderful man with incredible memories of his life in the White House serving the President. Thank you, susanne!

    • February 15, 2016 at 7:28 pm

      great story….thanks for bringing it here

    • 86 Ladyhawke
      February 15, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      This is a terrific read. Thanks so much for sharing. I loved this ……..


      Then he met Obama.

      It wasn’t the young politician’s oratory skills that drew Mosteller in, though he was as impressed with those as most of America was back then. It was something intangible that Mosteller now has trouble describing. There was a kindness, an authenticity, he said, that made him want to give up everything to join the shoestring campaign.


    • 87 Wilson Michael
      February 15, 2016 at 11:28 pm

      What a wonderful and well written article.

  27. 88 Don
    February 15, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    My dream would be for President Obama to make his announcement for the vacant SCOTUS spot while he and Rev. All are playing a round of golf.

  28. 89 Dudette
    February 15, 2016 at 7:19 pm

  29. 90 Dudette
    February 15, 2016 at 7:20 pm

  30. 91 Dudette
    February 15, 2016 at 7:21 pm

  31. 93 Dudette
    February 15, 2016 at 7:29 pm

  32. February 15, 2016 at 7:32 pm

  33. 98 Dudette
    February 15, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    • 99 Sandy1110
      February 16, 2016 at 1:08 am

      …so his followers flock to defend Saint Bernard from any wrongdoing or misleading statements rather than dealing with reality, and they’re oblivious to the fact that the GOP can’t wait to use this kind of oppo in the GE.

      Hillary needs to lock down these primaries to make sure that Sanders can’t get away with riding to the nomination after hitching a ride on the Democratic party and blowing the GE.

  34. 100 Dudette
    February 15, 2016 at 7:43 pm

  35. February 15, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Video of Ramona Brant’s release from prison

  36. 111 MadameSoph
    February 15, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    I just read that Vanity passed away! So sad.

  37. February 15, 2016 at 8:16 pm

  38. 116 GGail
    February 15, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    My local news just showed massive snowing in the Washington DC area now and an expected large amount of accumulation tonight. WOW!

      February 15, 2016 at 8:57 pm


  39. February 15, 2016 at 8:34 pm


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