The Madonna/Whore Complex in American Politics

by Corey Robin on November 28, 2012

One of the lines of argument about Lincoln that has intrigued me most is this one, which Will Boisvert states in the comments section to my post on the film:

But the movie’s focus is on…snakey retail politics. That’s what makes the movie interesting, in part because it cuts against the grain of Lincoln hagiography by making him a shrewd, somewhat dirty pol.

Will isn’t alone in this. I’ve seen David Denby, Anthony Lane, Geoffrey O’Brien, and Chris Hayes offer eloquent statements of the same thesis: that what makes Lincoln great is that it shows how his greatness consists of so many acts of smallness. Politicking, horse-trading, compromise, log-rolling, and the like. [click to continue…]