If George McGovern is so admiring of Abraham Lincoln's political deftness, its probably because history has judged his own efforts so harshly. In Abraham Lincoln: The 16th President, 1861-1865, the former Democratic senator and presidential nominee paints the Great Emancipator as both an idealist and a pragmatist who, despite some miscues, ably sailed the ship of state through the ugly waters of slavery and the Civil War. McGovern, a trained historian, wasn't as deft when faced with similar quagmires. His landslide loss to Richard Nixon in 1972--which centered on opposition to the Vietnam War--is considered one of the last gasps of '60s idealism. Through it all, McGovern was, and still is, an eloquent progressive. It's no surprise, then, that the man who challenged Nixon would find Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus and press freedoms particularly distasteful. Senator George McGovern speaks and signs Abraham Lincoln.
Sat., June 6, 4 p.m., 2009