Monday, January 11, 2010

The Perils of Coalition

Today in 1862, President Lincoln accepted the resignation of of his War Secretary, Simon Cameron. The man had a corrupt aura to him and rumors had tainted his tenure. Lincoln had taken him on because he had been a powerful Senator from Pennsylvania and he gave that important state its representation in the Cabinet.

Every Administration is a coalition of different interests and regions. To keep a faction happy or at least quiet, a president sometimes has to pick unsavory characters to keep his coalition stable. That is what Lincoln had to do. Every president probably wants decent, honest people serving under him. However, the exigencies of coalition politics can militate against that desire. Lincoln had to make that concession. Fortunately, he did not have to compromise for too long.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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