George Will’s column today begins with a wonderful epigram from Calvin Coolidge, which applies in obvious counterpoint to The Lightworker Obama:
It is a great advantage to a President, and a major source of safety to the country, for him to know that he is not a great man.
But there’s more where that came from. Here’s Not-So-Silent Cal’s immediate sequel:
When a man begins to feel that he is the only one who can lead in this republic, he is guilty of treason to the spirit of our institutions.
It is difficult for men in high office to avoid the malady of self-delusion. They are always surrounded by worshipers. They are constantly, and for the most part sincerely, assured of their greatness. They live in an artificial atmosphere of adulation and exaltation which sooner or later impairs their judgment. They are in grave danger of becoming careless and arrogant.
And finally, don’t overlook this advice:
A sound and wise statesmanship which recognizes and attempts to abide by its limitations will undoubtedly find itself displaced by that type of public official who promises much, talks much, legislates much, expends much, but accomplishes little.
Coolidge was too modest, of course. He was the most constitutionally literate president of the 20th century. Which reminds me to mention that Amity Shlaes’ long-awaited new biography of Coolidge will be released on February 13 of next year, but you can, and should, pre-order it now. I fully expect she will do for Coolidge what she did for FDR and the Great Depression in The Forgotten Man, that is, provide us with a thorough revisionist history that debunks all of the standard liberal myths. (I called it “the finest history of the Great Depression ever written” in National Review.) I wish her Coolidge was out in time for Christmas.
By the way, read the whole George Will column linked at the top. It ranks in one of his top ten smackdowns of Obama. Then go vote.