Abraham Lincoln was a great president -- and a skilled politician. He knew how to inspire people, build coalitions, sideline his rivals, and defeat his enemies. Too many people like to think he must have been above the fray because he accomplished so much and was personally quite admirable. It's useful to be reminded that Lincoln succeeded as he did because he was good at politics. Years ago, I got my first understanding of Lincoln the politico in David Donald's great biography.
Now we have a long article on the same theme by Sidney Blumenthal. Worth reading. In truth, all of our greatest presidents have been good at politics.