Lincoln's point was plain: McClellan had so bound himself to the promise to declare defeat by negotiating an end to the war that Lincoln had to make sure that between the election and the inauguration the war was won so there would be nothing for his successor to negotiate.
Furthermore, it is an obvious historical fact, supported by evidence from the South, that because McClellan was running with the pledge to let the South have its victory in the Civil War after all, the Confederacy based all its hopes on prolonging the war long enough for McClellan to become president.
Campaigns that subvert an ongoing war effort -- campaigns like the ones both the current Democrats are running -- offer hope to and stiffen the resolve of a nearly-defeated enemy, leading to the deaths of more American soldiers than would otherwise have occurred. That these candidates are free to run such a campaign is undisputed. That it is contemptible for them to do so is my heartfelt opinion.
(read it all at WorldWatch)
The surge strategy as Bush's version of unleashing General Grant to strike repeatedly against the Confederacy only strengthens the parallel.
We may regard it as fortunate that Bush had time to allow General Petraeus to successfully press the counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq.
During the leadup to the election Union forces lost by the month the number of soldiers lost by the U.S. in the entire Iraq War. How would the modern liberal justify the Civil War?