Team of Rivals: Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Effect on Obama

President-Elect Obama last year read the pathbreaking work on Abraham Lincoln published by noted scholar Doris Kearns Goodwin, which described how Lincoln selected all of his political rivals in the campaign of 1860 for his cabinet advisers, and how they often argued and debated, but also how they helped strengthen his leadership during the most difficult times in our history, the Civil War years.  Obama also called and spoke to Goodwin and made clear how he was impressed by what Lincoln had done and how he hoped to follow his lead, were he to be elected President of the United States.

Now, it seems as if Obama is about to fulfill his promise.  There are strong indications that Obama is ready to appoint his chief rival, Senator Hillary Clinton of New York, to head the State Department, and therefore become the top cabinet offiicial, just as Lincoln picked his chief rival, Senator William Seward of New York, to the same position.  Anyone who has studied American History knows Seward turned out to be one of the best Secretaries of State in our history. 

Additionally, it seems likely that Obama will have Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico, as an important advisor and possible cabinet officer, and already has Joe Biden as his Vice President.  The thought of Clinton, Richardson, and Biden as key figures in foreign policy is very exciting and will certainly present a great image to the nations of the world.  Obama is demonstrating he has a secure personality and wants vigorous discussion and debate among his top cabinet members and advisers, and that he wishes to be challenged by people more experienced than himself.  The fact that he does NOT want "Yes Men"  is extremely significant and gives hope that our country will have a brilliant administration ready to deal with crises, both domestic and foreign, that require the "Best and the Brightest"!

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