If he'd been negotiating Obamacare, Lincoln would have made the infamous 'Cornhusker Kickback' deal - $100 million in Medicaid funds for Nebraska to secure a Senator's vote - in a heartbeat, even if the press howled as it did when Barack Obama agreed to it, forcing its cancellation.
Throughout history, civilizations have built a common cause through coming-of-age rituals. But we don't do that anymore. Maybe we should think about that.
In point of fact, 'Simpson-Bowles' has become a symbol, or SimBowl, rather than an actual plan, political shorthand for the process of long-term deficit reduction.
Bush the Elder's stature as president grows with every passing year. He was the finest foreign policy president I've ever covered and a man who defied his party on tax increases while imposing budget restrictions on the Democrats.
This dilettante notion that the global economy is evil because big corporate leaders make too much money... they do make too much money, but the only way we've figured out how to generate wealth in this world is through the market economy.
Diversity has been written into the DNA of American life; any institution that lacks a rainbow array has come to seem diminished, if not diseased.
Bush promised a foreign policy of humility and a domestic policy of compassion. He has given us a foreign policy of arrogance and a domestic policy that is cynical, myopic and cruel.
When I started in the press there were really ink-stained wretches. Not everybody went to college. Now, everybody at the New York Times and the Washington Post and Salon and Slate, most of them have Ivy League educations.
You know that Moses was spinning like crazy in Exodus XIV through XVII when the Jewish people wanted to go back and become a place again because tramping through the desert was a bit too hard.
If there was one fact that sent me hurtling off to write 'Politics Lost,' it was when I learned that John Kerry had focus-grouped Abu Ghraib. We knew about the Justice Department memo in June of 2004, and Kerry didn't raise that in any one of his three debates with George Bush.
Ever since John Kennedy, Democrats have had a weakness for dashing younger men like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and, I suppose, Jimmy Carter. They balance their tickets with senior statesmen - Lyndon Johnson, Joe Biden, Walter Mondale. (Al Gore was young but played ancient).
When politicians began to see that every last thing that they did in public could be broadcast to a mass audience, the fact that the stakes were so much higher now that every moment became fraught caused them to become more cautious, and the consultants very gradually but inevitably became literal reactionaries.
Back in George W. Bush's second term, when diplomatic realism began to overtake foolish bellicosity, the president developed one of his patented nicknames for the two most powerful neoconservative journalists, William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer: he called them 'the Bomber Boys.'
That was the miracle of Abraham Lincoln, politician. He pursued the high purpose of moving justice forward via the low arts of patronage and patronization. Indeed, in a democracy, it is usually the only way great deeds are done.
For those of us who consider ourselves political moderates, life is a dispiriting slog, a sorry mix of rectitude and ineptitude.