Thursday, June 05, 2008

Team of Rivals

I suppose it''s a cliche, but I'm not hearing it ballyhooed much in pundit-land. "Team of Rivals" (Doris Kearns Goodwin) is pretty apt here. It's about Lincoln's cabinet, comprised of his rivals for the Republican nomination in 1860, and especially his deep and respectful relationship with William Seward (from Auburn, NY!) as it developed over time. Seward was considered a lock for the nomination, and Lincoln came out of nowhere and won it. Lincoln then reached out to Seward and two other rivals and leveraged their different skills into a powerful administration that endured and prevailed. See NY Times review here.

Hillary could improve on this model for intellectual and political teamwork, which ultimately became a great friendship, as both a partner and adviser to Obama, either as VP or in some key cabinet role.

As a woman, she could make is less about power, and more about doing the right thing within and beyond current constructs. He has the rhetoric, she has the skills and the smarts, and probably most important, both empathy and thick skin.

Taking the long view, this is the avenue for Hillary to make the real difference.

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