Once upon a time, in a land called "Illinois," a prize-winning pop history author named Richard Norton Smith was offered the leadership of the Lincoln Library by the governor of that great state, a Republican. He declined the offer, saying he was concerned about the institution becoming a holding pen for politicans who had lost their magic. For you see, this governor had appointed a special crony to a major post within the library before offering Dr. Smith the top job.

Later, a new governor took the reins in Illinois. When offered the same post again by Illinois's newly elected Democratic governor, Smith quickly accepted. The Democrats would never stuff the library with political deadwood.

Sadly, an Illinois political hack (doubling as a heritage tourism official), was quickly made his number two, although she was a working politician, at least.

Now we learn that a former governor is in line to be the next president of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Foundation, "the fund-raising arm of [Smith's] new Lincoln facility in Springfield." It's a bipartisan pick: this fellow is a Republican. But can he raise money? Does he have any magic left? Or is his nomination one of those "thank you" gestures politicians make ... in this case for starting the library project back when he was governor.

"[S]tate officials said they do not expect any opposition..." to this appointment.

And so, Richard Norton Smith became the respectable face of a political log rolling operation called The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. And scholarship was served happily ever after.