"Lincoln’s 'team of rivals' was hardly a success—rather than act as a template for modern administrations, it should be a cautionary tale."Again, one must ask where are the Lincoln scholars? What island are they vacationing on? Tagg is indeed the author of Lincoln: the Story of the Most Reviled President (as well as his better known Generals of Gettysburg) but his public persona is more that of singer-songwriter.
The heavy lifting is being left to others. Good heavens, I mean they're sending in graduate students to do the talking instead of the professors. Disgraceful.
Exception: Allan Guelzo weighs in with a a firm veto. "Nor did Lincoln encourage rivalry," he notes. Amen. James Oakes, a scholar who is just beginning to turn his attention to Lincoln, is also displeased. He notes, "there was nothing new in what Lincoln did," and "not much of what made him great can be discerned in his appointment of a contentious, envious and often dysfunctional collection of prima donnas to his cabinet."
Got another exception to the rule of AWOL Lincoln experts? Send it in.
Meanwhile, nearly all of the flak fired at Goodwin's Zeppelin is coming from mere political bloggers, left and right, who due to their interest in politics have bothered to look at the validity of the meme.
Below the Beltway: Not much of a team, but definitely rivals; Team of Rivals? More like a Dysfunctional Team of Enemies
Demockracy: Team of Dysfunctional Rivals
Open Left: bad analogies can be destructive
Truthdig (Joe Conason): Not a team of rivals at all. Get this:
When the journalistic pack bites into a tasty cliché, they often refuse to let go, lazily chewing and regurgitating a phrase like “team of rivals” long after the flavor is gone.Hah. Finally, let me quote myself quoting Thomas and Hyman two years ago:
"The intra-cabinet feuding was beyond Lincoln's power to prevent, but he had let it go on much too long. Further, his willingness to let cabinet officers run their departments almost without supervision, except for the war office, had permitted vexatiously contradictory and independant policies to go on at the same time."Lincoln scholars, your break's over. Get to work.
Hat tip on LT's new blog to Ted Savas.
p.s. An alert correspondent sent in this link about the time this was posted. Foner is quoted but not contra Goodwin; he makes a generic remark about hubris instead.