Sunday, November 23, 2008

Which Lincoln?

As everyone knows by now, President-elect Barack Obama is an admirer of America's 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. One can hardly watch a political show post-election, or read an article about the transition, without Doris Kearns Goodwin's book, Team of Rivals, being mentioned, sometimes by Mr. Obama himself.

Craig Gilbert, of the nation's most underrated daily big city newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has a great piece on the complexity of Lincoln. Was he calm, mature, and wise or was he coldly calculating and Machiavellian? Was the cabinet of former opponents he assembled really a success or was it pandemonium? Scholarly opinion is divided on the topic; however, Mr. Obama's offer to Senator Hillary Clinton to head his State Department, his benevolent stance toward Senator Joe Lieberman's future in the Democratic caucus, and his intention to populate his administration with a number of Republicans makes it clear that the "Team of Rivals" concept will be put into action in short order.


Heidi said...

"calm, mature, and wise or was he coldly calculating and Machiavellian"

DC - I don't think these sets of traits are mutually exclusive. No reason he can't be all of them :)

DC said...

Heidi--great point. In fact, what a politically successful combination those traits would be all in 1 person...

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