"Team of Mascots"

Vanity Fair is running a piece about President Obama's cabinet called "Team of Mascots." The basis of comparison is with Goodwin's Team of Rivals and the underlying assumption is that Goodwin's trope reflects some approximation of historical reality.

Details on the Obama team will emerge over time but in the meantime the Lincoln cabinet, if not mascots, were window dressing, Seward excepted.

In ACW circles, the Goodwin "team" idea is interpreted two ways. The easy, generous idea has it that the cabinet members did good work in their own spheres and thus constituted a virtual team. The other view, reiterated by Vanity Fair, is that Lincoln and the cabinet cooperated on issues and worked harmoniously. This is absurd.

Even if you appreciate its knock on Obama, "Macots" further embeds Goodwin's nonsense in the popular culture and that's a bad thing.