AWOL Lincoln Library advisors prepare to surrender

It will take a book the size of a pop history blockbuster to tell the story of the Lincoln Library and Museum.

Currently, the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has a director, Richard Norton Smith. It has a foundation, headed by ex-governor Jim Edgar. It has an advisory board of 11, one member of which has quit.

From 1,500 miles away, it seems that the parts fit together this way:

The advisory board sets goals and directions for projects ** with the foundation (Edgar) raising money for the approved goals and projects ** with the facilities director (Smith) supervising projects and facilities.

The fly in the ointment is that the advisory board was appointed entirely by the previous (Republican) governor; his (Democrat) replacement has never communicated with the board and they are unsure of their charter. They have not met. They understand that they are not wanted.

Richard Norton Smith, no doubt speaking for the governor of Illinois, says:

The advisory board was an attempt by [ex-gov] Ryan to put in place a group of people who would have some degree of oversight," Smith said. "But events have superceded the Ryan plan.

I like the confidence, the brashness even. Mr. Smith and foundation chief Edgar will not be accepting oversight at this time, thank you. Events (the hirings of Smith and Edgar) have superseded the need for oversight. Oversight is for other people.

Now, a lawsuit could settle this question with more finality than Smith's say-so, but a committee that won't meet surely won't sue either.

Advantage Smith.