I argued yesterday in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times that Lincoln’s experience with cabinet-making (the famous “Team of Rivals”) was more of a cautionary tale than a model to follow.
Consider this inconvenient truth: Out of the four leading vote-getters for the 1860 Republican presidential nomination whom Lincoln placed on his original team, three left during his first term — one in disgrace, one in defiance and one in disgust.
The article stirred up a decent response. The New York Times Opinionator addressed the topic. Daily Kos offered a poll pitting my interpretation against the more famous one by Doris Kearns Goodwin (I’m losing, by the way). And there’s been calls and emails from various reporters.
Lincoln is the Great Example and all of us want to try to understand what his experience represents. Look at the evidence yourself, or with your students, and decide for yourself. Nothing could be more timely.