Down with 'Team of Rivals'

Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet, which was named the “Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin, is frequently cited as a model for Barack Obama, especially as he considers Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State. But what if Goodwin was wrong? “It didn't work that well for Lincoln,” writes historian Matthew Pinsker in today’s Los Angeles Times. “Out of the four leading vote-getters for the 1860 Republican presidential nomination whom Lincoln placed on his original team, three left during his first term—one in disgrace, one in defiance, and one in disgust.” In 1862 Lincoln said to a friend “we are now on the brink of destruction” after two resignations. “Lincoln was a political genius,” Pinsker writes, “but his model for Cabinet-building should stand more as a cautionary tale than as a leadership manual.”