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Why Obama wants Hillary
Will assembling a "team of rivals" like Lincoln's bring unity, or dysfunction?
 

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton attacked each other "brutally" on foreign affairs during the Democratic primaries, said Karen Tumulty and Massimo Calabresi in Time online. The fact that Obama "has all but offered" Clinton the prestigious job of Secretary of State, which would make her his top diplomat, is the clearest evidence to date that Obama is determined to depart from recent tradition and form a "team of rivals" to run his government, the way Abraham Lincoln did.

It's time to "throw some cold water on this Obama-as-Lincoln" stuff, said Jonah Goldberg in National Review Online. So what if Obama loved Doris Kearns Goodwin's book, "Team of Rivals," which described how Lincoln was a genius for putting adversaries in his cabinet? Obama hasn't really done anything yet, so comparing him to Lincoln because they shared personnel policy "is like saying George Bush is Thomas Jefferson because they both liked chicken soup."

If Obama does follow Lincoln's model, said Joseph Williams in The Boston Globe, he should be careful. Some historians think Goodwin's book sugarcoats how tough it was for Lincoln to handle the "rancor" inside his cabinet. Obama could find that this risky strategy will "alienate his allies and sow dysfunction inside the White House."

 

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