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Among other reasons Ron Paul would make an unlikely standard-bearer for the Republican Party is the fact that he, apparently, doesn’t think much of his party’s sainted first president. Paul famously accused Abraham Lincoln of waging a “senseless” war and ruling with an “iron fist.” Coming from a guy whose eponymous newsletters spent chunks of the ’80s and ’90s demonizing African-Americans, the first of those assertions makes it sound as if Paul wishes the Great Emancipator had never gotten into the slave-freeing business. But what about the second? In fact, you don’t have to believe the Constitution was translated from its original Austrian to know that Honest Abe took some liberties: He suspended habeas corpus, arrested dissenting editors, and otherwise appeared more interested in preserving the union than its Constitution. It worked, which may well be why Lincoln, especially outside the modern GOP’s Dixie-bred base, remains a hero no matter how much scholarly ink is spilled over his very real failings. Paul’s acolytes, of course, would say the real goal was a dastardly protosocialist scheme to nationalize all political power, and that his legend is today burnished by ivory-tower types who share that vision. Come see for yourself as a quartet of historians gather at the Library of Congress to ponder the 16th president’s problematic relationship with the Constitution. “Lincoln and the Constitution,” with guests Mark E. Neely Jr., Brian McGinty, Frank J. Williams, and Harold Holzer, begins at 7 p.m. at the National Archives’ William G. McGowan Theater. Free. (Michael Schaffer)
Tech-house DJ and producer Maya Jane Coles has had a fantastic couple of years: The 24-year-old Londoner’s 2010 single “What They Say” was ridiculously well-received, and she racked up a towering pile of accolades in the following year; her November 2011 EP, Don’t Put Me in Your Box, also fared damn well. See what the fuss is all about at U Hall tonight. Doors 9 p.m.; free for 21+ before 11 p.m.; otherwise, $10.
Poetry might be a neglected art form in the United States, but you wouldn’t know it in the Washington metro region. Tonight, Washington Examiner books editor Marcela Valdez talks poetry and the National Books Critics Circle at Politics & Prose. 7 p.m. Free.
Yeah, you’re not gonna see Nick Cave at Corcoran tonight, unless you bought tickets early. Sorry, dudes.
But if your tastes also encompass political cartoons, turn that frown upside down! You can still attend the Apocalyptoon 2012 opening party at Artisphere. The show is a pop-up exhibit featuring toons by local scrawlers, including WaPo‘s Tom Toles and Politico‘s Matt Wuerker. Tickets are $25 for the soiree, but the exhibit will be on view through Sunday. The party starts at 6 p.m.