...the inevitable corollary to this Lincoln love-fest in the capital is a good bit of self-aggrandizement served up by those who see themselves as the rightful political heirs to his legacy. Praising oneself while appearing to praise someone else, especially someone beloved and dead, is an invaluable political skill...Take care that your Lincoln love does not become a public display of self love.
...a slew of recent Lincoln “scholarship” seems less concerned with historical study than with self-justification. A clinically depressed biographer concluded that Lincoln was clinically depressed; a gay rights proponent discovered that Lincoln was gay; former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo ... assert[ed] that Lincoln was at heart a Northeastern Democrat in the late 20th/early 21st century mold. In 1992, former President Ronald Reagan misquoted Lincoln to show that he was a staunch fiscal conservative. In 2007, former Vice President Al Gore misquoted Lincoln to show that he was a staunch fiscal progressive.
... Given Lincoln’s postmortem celebrity, understanding the extent of his unpopularity while governing and breathing is all the more important, and can’t help in the end but deepen our appreciation for him.
... Memorializing Lincoln, and especially rededicating a monument that has served as a backdrop for so many different political movements, requires us to walk a fine line. We pay tribute to him by distilling the lessons of his life, but risk being manipulative if we claim his legacy for ourselves.
A Bicentennial essay worth reading
It takes an Air Force captain to look at the Lincoln loving and ask What exactly is going on here?