Doyle McManus: The Lessons Obama Can Draw from 'Lincoln'





Doyle McManus is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times.

In the rest of the country, it may be just another movie, but in Washington, Steven Spielberg's"Lincoln" has become a political Rorschach test.

It seems as if every pundit in the capital has gone to see the masterful biopic about our 16th president, and — surprise — they all found something to support their views about contemporary politics.

The analogies are hard to resist. The movie is set in the first months after Lincoln won a second term, facing an unruly lame-duck Congress. Over the objections of risk-averse aides, the president decides to seek passage of a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery, and proves willing to cut almost any corner to gain his objective.

What does that tell us about the choices before a newly reelected President Obama and a lame-duck Congress wrestling with a year-end deadline over taxes and spending cuts?..



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