As we edge ever closer to that perilous “fiscal cliff,” with Republicans and Democrats accusing one another of intransigence, some observers have pointed to a way out of our national dilemma: Just take a page from Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln.’’
The film tells the story of how the president managed to steer the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery through a House of Representatives that was not particularly hospitable to it. On the one side were Democrats who opposed outlawing slavery on the grounds that this would confer an equality that blacks did not and should not have. On the other side were conservative Republicans who felt that its passage would outrage the Confederacy and prompt it to prolong the war, with continued death and destruction. Neither side was inclined to compromise. So what was Lincoln to do?