Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Quote of the Day (Lisa Miller, on Politicians and Humility)

“When politicians start talking about humility, as they do ritualistically after elections, the warning light on the BS detector goes on. Surely no professional group has a weaker claim to that virtue than today's divided, self-righteous, and spin-savvy politicians. And too often the politicians (and religious leaders) who do make a case for humility have the least basis for doing so. In an August 2007 speech, then–New York governor Eliot Spitzer expounded upon Reinhold Niebuhr and the virtues of humility in the public square. ‘What I'd like to reflect on today, and this may come as a surprise to some of you,’ he said, ‘are the inevitable risks that occur when [political] passion and conviction are not sufficiently tempered by humility.’ Seven months later, he resigned, tagged forever as ‘client No. 9.’”—American journalist Lisa Miller, “Humble Pie Eating Contest,” Newsweek, Nov. 15, 2010

Ms. Miller does not mention that, well before Spitzer became “client No. 9,” he could very easily have been nicknamed “Governor Steamroller” for his snarled boast to a GOP Assemblyman.

These days, I don’t think that Spitzer is as eager to brag about his one lasting claim on America’s cultural consciousness: As an inspiration for the long-running drama series, The Good Wife.

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