“Doris Kearns Goodwin's book ‘Team of Rivals. It was a biography of Lincoln. And she talks about Lincoln's capacity to bring opponents of his and people who have run against him in his cabinet. And he was confident enough to be willing to have these dissenting voices and confident enough to listen to the American people and push them outside of their comfort zone. And I think that part of what I want to do as president is push Americans a little bit outside of their comfort zone. It's a remarkable study in leadership.”It caught fire when it appeared that he had reached out to primary foe Hillary Clinton with an offer to consider her as a serious candidate for Secretary of State.
Excuse me, but didn’t Hillary—as well as, near the end of the campaign, Bill for that matter—Clinton jump wholeheartedly into the Obama campaign and go all out for his election? Before that, hadn’t Senator Clinton shown herself to be a consummate team player who could work effectively with her colleagues across the aisle to their surprise? These are grownups we are talking about. Compared to her and the other non-Obama team nominations so far, the Lincoln cabinet members were a virtual madhouse of huge egos, some contemptuous of President Lincoln and/or unable to stand each other. Obama is not going to bring in a Rudy Giuliani or a Mike Huckabee. (Although in the unlikely event that they were asked and agreed to serve, I’m sure they would at least be far more civil than Lincoln’s contentious appointees, who were only a few decades removed from the times when public figures routinely had settled their differences by duel and were destined to fight a most uncivil war to determine the fate of the nation.)
Not to deny that these are momentous times, but, like the comparisons with FDR, the media are overplaying the historical import of the Obama administration. Does the press think the public to be so dumb that it can only understand politics as some kind of a soap opera?
One more thing: If Bill Clinton speaks out of turn, I’m sure a President Obama will drop a load on him, to make sure there’s no repeat performance. Obama has spent his whole life getting here—the media ridiculed what they saw as the Clinton campaign’s attempt to ridicule Obama’s pre-school presidential ambitions by way of his kindergarten essay, but the Clinton website had shown with Obama’s own words that the flames of his ambition had continued to burn through grade school, high school and college—and he is not going to let anyone undermine his authority if he can help it. A man who is willing to leave his church of twenty-some years—after the offending pastor had retired—to further his political agenda is not going to wilt in the face of disobedience.