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Skelton: 'Lincoln' provides political lessons from the past

November 29, 2012 |  7:00 am


Skelton hedAny politicians looking for inspiration should head to their nearest movie theater, says George Skelton in his Thursday column.

"The movie “Lincoln” should be required viewing for all elected chief executives from president to mayor," he writes.

Skelton adds, "Moreover, every voter should see it — at least those idealists who cling to the misguided notion that politicians must be pure and not truly representative of the people who elect them; that they should be angelic, not human."

In the movie, President Lincoln stretches his power to the limits — sometimes in unsavory ways — to enact a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery.

"Much of what Lincoln and his lieutenants pulled may be illegal today in California," Skelton says. "Hinting, winking, speaking in code are all legal. Offering a quid pro quo — something of value for a vote — is not. That’s bribery."

But that doesn't mean there aren't lessons to be learned in how Lincoln was able to cut deals in a political environment that seemed to offer little hope of compromise

Says Skelton, "Let’s hope the governor picked up a few pointers."

All of Skelton's columns are here.


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Photo: Daniel Day-Lewis portrays President Abraham Lincoln in this scene from director Steven Spielberg's drama movie "Lincoln." Credit: DreamWorks