<b>What would Lincoln do?</b>

EDITOR: House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama should see the movie "Lincoln" before their next negotiating session. It ought to be required viewing for all politicians, especially today's fiscal cliff-hangers. If there's room in the theater, let's invite the leaders of Israel and Hamas, Egypt, Syria, Congo and maybe the European Union.

Columnist David Brooks ("Lincoln shows the ambiguity of politics," Monday) sagely writes that "Spielberg's Lincoln gets the point. The hero has a high moral vision, but he also has the courage to take morally hazardous action in order to make that vision a reality." It's called principled compromise (aka pragmatic politics).

If they can find time, Boehner and the president could gain wisdom also by studying two books: "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin and "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power" by Jon Meacham. And they might invite the authors to join them to share their insights on how master negotiators such as Lincoln, Jefferson and Lyndon Johnson got their work done.

Oh, and it might be helpful to watch some old "West Wing" episodes — it's amazing how current they seem.


The Sea Ranch