Defining a Team of Rivals

We live in a society where idiotic slogans and catchphrases pass for thoughtful ideas, strategies and concepts.  Last week the smartest woman in the world, aka Hillary, the longest-mile Secretary of State rolled out her long-awaited (boy,  that’s hard to imagine) new autobiography, “Hard Choices”, Clinton compares President Obama’s choice of her for secretary of state to that of President Lincoln choosing William Henry Seward (from a New Republic piece):

“But Hillary Clinton is, and will always be, Hillary Clinton. In Hard Choices, she playfully extends the oft-cited Team of Rivals comparison, likening Abraham Lincoln’s choice of William Henry Seward as secretary of state to Obama’s choice of her. Clinton writes of how she warms to the comparison, citing a contemporary of Seward’s who described him as “ruffled or excited never, astute, keen to perceive a joke, appreciative of a good thing, and fond of ‘good victuals.'” Sound familiar? It does to Clinton. “I could relate to that,” she writes.”

Doris Kearns Goodwin, an author of several historical works, has come under criticism more than once being accused of plagiarism.  For  a gist of the controversy, here is Eric J. Weiner, from a 2006 Huffington post piece:

“Kudos to the good people at the New York Historical Society for looking beyond the past sins of plagiarism committed by Doris Kearns Goodwin and bestowing on the prolific celebrity historian a prestigious award and $50,000 prize in honor of her recent biography of Abe Lincoln, “Team of Rivals.””

We all know the Clintons’ respect for the truth, so I wanted to give you my take on  Ms Goodwin and Hillary’s understanding of military history:

Here are two well-known, oft-used, simple sayings that have stood the test of time:

Let’s start with the Biblical version:   “A house divided can not stand”

Next let’s move on to the geopolitical/military strategic realm:  “Divide and Conquer”

So, it’s obvious to anyone with a functioning brain cell (that excludes most of American academia) that dividing teams is a way to defeat a team.  Thus, in simple language, “a team of rivals” is one the most idiotic things ever uttered and a contradiction in terms.  Perhaps, we should offer these two brilliant women a Thelma and Louise road trip to US Civil War cemeteries or the military cemeteries of World War I and let them count the dead, to see how that “team of rivals” pans out.  Unluckily for us Hillary seems far from the cliff’s edge and ready to hit the highways trotting out her same tired, old parsed lies, in her floundering book tour.

No better time than the present to remind everyone outside the DC echo chamber of The Gettysburg Address, obtained from the webpage, Our Documents:

Executive Mansion,

Washington, , 186 .

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal”

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow, this ground– The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.

It is rather for us, the living, to stand here, we here be dedica-ted to the great task remaining before us — that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”


So, how about we agree to work toward a new American banner:




Filed under American Character, American History, General Interest, Military, Politics

3 responses to “Defining a Team of Rivals

  1. JK

    Just so you know I’m still “out there somewheres” LB (not having offered any recent er, (cough) wisdom) but since I’m not really … well I was gonna use “authority on the subject at hand” but lemme just say I find even thinking about either the two “ladies” featured rather more like icky than any other descriptor I consider to be fit for your site. So …

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