The Washington Post

Candidates eat heapings of humble pie

Can he get a slice of humble pie with that burrito bowl? (Charles Dharapak/AP)

But, wait! Turns out, those old stereotypes are wrong. The city is actually the epicenter of humility. Humble is the new pinstripe.

Witness the staggering outpouring of extreme modesty from politicians from both sides of the aisle (excessive meekness knows no party label these days).

Perhaps making the bowed-head pose stylish was Mitt Romney, who upon clinching the requisite number of delegates to be named the Republican’s presidential candidate back in May, declared himself to be “honored...and humbled.”

The humility hasn’t stopped flowing since. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) was “humbled” to be picked to be Romney’s running mate.

Rep. Connie Mack was “humbled” by Romney’s endorsement in the Florida GOP primary. Connecticut Senate hopeful Linda McMahon gushed on her Facebook page that she was “humbled by the overwhelming support” from fellow Republicans.

But if you really want to humble a politician, write him a big check. Seems much of the humility emanating from campaigns is closely tied to donations.

In an e-mail thanking supporters of his Virginia Senate bid (and seeking still more dough), Tim Kaine (D) said he was “humbled by the breadth and depth of the grassroots support.” Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), seeking to drum up a few more donations to meet a fundraising goal, said in a campaign e-mail that she was “so amazed and humbled” by the money flowing in.

Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-Minn.) hefty war chest prompted this comment: “I’m humbled by the number of individuals and families who believe America can still be great.”

And the list goes on. Of the “support” (also known as “donations’) they’ve gotten, candidates had this to say:

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D- N.Y.): “one of the most humbling experiences of my whole life.”

Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.): “humbling”

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska): “humbled and honored”

Minnesota Democrat Rick Nolan: “truly humbled”

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), per a spokesman: “humbled”

In fact, we found dozens of instances of candidates declaring themselves humbled by something or other — usually money.

The results of our quest, we should say, left us both humbled and amazed. Did we mention humbled?

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.