History rewards substance, not pomp. It’s always useful, when considering insults hurled at a particular public person, to remember Lincoln was burned in effigy on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line. Profiles in courage are just that, popularity doesn’t enter into the picture. Had Lyndon Johnson not pushed through landmark civil rights and anti-poverty legislation, deeds that rendered him synonymous with treachery in his native south, his legacy would have been a big bunch of nothing. Instead of a legislative giant, LBJ would have become the guy who wasted Camelot’s promise and merely mired us in the pointless quagmire of Vietnam.

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