Monday, January 9, 2017

A Lincoln Lesson for Donald Trump

The president-elect will soon learn how little control he has over his agenda.
After his surprise win in the presidential election of 1860, Abraham Lincoln gathered a coterie of reporters and enthused, “Well boys, your troubles are over now; mine have only just begun.” Lincoln didn’t realize how prescient he was, or the challenges he would face.
Inaugural ceremonies for Abraham Lincoln, 
March 4, 1861. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
In response to his assuming office, most of the South seceded from the Union. Then the crisis at Fort Sumter escalated, threatening to engulf the nation. Lincoln’s cabinet vehemently favored diplomacy and evacuating Fort Sumter. But Lincoln, only weeks into his presidency, made a pivotal decision, declaring that he would “reprovision” the embattled Fort Sumter, an action that effectively launched the Civil War. Lincoln never imagined the war would continue for four terrible years.
Here, in history, lies a warning for Donald Trump. The president-elect, who has no formal political experience, will soon be buffeted by the hard truths that each of our presidents, including hallowed ones like Lincoln, invariably discover the hard way. The first is that whatever his agenda may be before taking office, the problems he will confront will almost inevitably differ from what he planned for. The second is that however involved his advisers, however enthusiastic his supporters, or however gregarious he himself may be, tumult is inherent in governing. He will never be able to elude the often paralyzing seclusion of presidential leadership.
Read the rest from Jay Winik HERE.

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