Lessons from Lincoln

02/12/2009 01:16 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A milestone today as America celebrates the 200th birthday of our 16th President. Watching our first African American President honor the author of the Emancipation Proclamation in the rotunda of a Capitol built by slaves is truly inspiring. The American people are hurting and need relief in the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, whose 200th birthday we celebrate today: "with malice toward none, with charity to all."

Or in modern parlance: swallow hard and put our future ahead of your egos.

Democrats: accept that President Obama will sometimes triangulate you - that is what Presidents do - but your shared mission of a 21st century economy, responsible removal of troops from Iraq, and universal health care is worth the trouble. Keep your eyes on the prize.

Republicans: accept that "no" and "I told you so" are emotions, not policies - just ask your governors and mayors who said "yes" to the S-CHIP and stimulus bills. Bet on optimism not failure.

President Obama: accept that while risk-averse advisers want you above the fray, the American people want you to step out of your comfort zone and into our reality. Keep up your weekly fireside and wireside chats from the White House to the town hall.

All: accept that you must restore public confidence through transparency and accountability. As Abraham Lincoln advised: "If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. You may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."