It's interesting how we need our heroes to be consistently noble and virtuous. The British equivalent of Abe is Winston Churchill. Both men were consummate politicians- which means that much of the time they behaved like sonsabitches- but we sweep all the dirt under the carpet and remember them for the one or two things they did really well- and get huffy when people draw attention to their flaws. It works the other way too. When we've typed a person as one of the villains of history we really don't want to hear excuses for them. Neville Chamberlain, for instance. We are so certain- by reason of hindsight- that appeasement was a bad thing that all we want to know about him is that he was weak, weak, weak. The fact that his policy had the support of millions- including the sainted- and Oscar-winning- George VI- is unwelcome in our drawing rooms and had best not come calling.
Our need for our heroes to be unflawed and our villains double-dyed goes very deep. We cling to it even though our best writers- beginning with Homer and Aeschylus- have been telling us to get over it for thousands of years.