While the Rest of Us Flounder, Tony Kushner Ponders: What Would Lincoln Do?

Tony Kush
Photo: Getty Images

Jann Wenner isn't the only one who finds Barack Obama "Lincolnesque in his own origins, his sobriety and what history now demands." Tony Kushner is working on a screenplay for Steven Spielberg based on Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin's book about Lincoln's last two years as president before he was assassinated. "He could bring together people of wildly disparate ideological bents and remind them of the moral core of their visions," gushed Kushner about Honest Abe last night at a benefit dinner for Gay Men's Health Crisis. "He brought into his Cabinet people who hated each other." Would Lincoln, that original Log Cabin Republican, be a GOPer today? "Absolutely not," the Kush assured. "He was a deeply progressive man and a deep believer in the Constitution. Any party that could make George Bush, who has raped the Constitution, is not one that Abe Lincoln would want anything to do with." Well! So, uh, WWAD (that's Who Would Abe Endorse?) in '08? Kushner: OHB, of course! "They're both from Illinois. You can really trace a line from the politics of Lincoln through American pragmatism to the politics of Barack Obama." Okay. And how would he weigh in on the Spitzer flame-out?

"Lincoln was remarkable unwilling to judge other people on issues like this," said Kushner, by now demonstrating an almost eerie psychic mind meld with POTUS 16 over Client 9. "That's why I think he'd be uncomfortable with the modern Republican party." And finally: Would Lincoln, thought by many to have had a hot and heavy gay affair before marrying Mary, be the subject of another Kushner "gay fantasia on national themes" in the screenplay? "I'm struggling with that question while I'm writing it," said Kush. "The historical record is very cloudy. There's possibly some evidence he was bisexual at least." —Tim Murphy