Losing honor is worse than losing an election


Pulitzer Prize winner Garry Wills, one of my favorite writers, NAILS IT:

Many losing candidates became elder statesmen of their parties. What lessons will [Mitt] Romney have to teach his party? The art of crawling uselessly? How to condemn 47 percent of Americans less privileged and beautiful than his family? How to repudiate the past while damaging the future? It is said that he will write a book. Really? Does he want to relive a five-year-long experience of degradation? What can be worse than to sell your soul and find it not valuable enough to get anything for it? His friends can only hope he is too morally obtuse to realize that crushing truth. Losing elections is one thing. But the greater loss, the real loss, is the loss of honor.



  1. “Many losing candidates became elder statesmen of their parties.”

    Really? Name one.

    Carter? No
    Dukakis? No
    Dole? No
    Gore? No
    McCain? No.

    If you can’t make a logical opening statement, the rest of the article isn’t worth reading.

  2. Neftali: Several things:

    Carter has been an elder statesman. So has Clinton. McCain still sees himself as an elder statesman. Gore has been a not-so-elder statesman.

    Nor was Wills just talking about unsuccessful presidential candidates of the past 30 years.

    How about Goldwater, Herbert Hoover, Nixon, Humphrey, et al?

    Your comment is what’s illogical.

  3. Shannon Jacobs

    Actually I agree with you about most of those elder statesmen, even including most of the former presidents. However, I feel like I have to point at the two glaring counterexamples: Poppy and Dubya, AKA Bush the Middling and Bush the Much Lesser.

    Poppy definitely ought to quality under the elder and by his experiences, but he’s been almost invisible since his defeat. Perhaps that was because the neo-GOP took over and destroyed the REAL Republican Party around that time?

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