The Spitz used a speaking engagement last night at the Chautauqua Institution — a nonprofit, religious-tinged retreat in Western New York — to declaim on a topic that made Brunogate watchers prick up their ears: “The Need for Both Passion and Humility in Politics.” The text of the speech then landed on the Huffington Post (where we especially dug the “I’m a fan of this blogger” tab next to Spitzer’s name), where we encountered it. What did the erstwhile Steamroller have to say? Those expecting some sort of mea culpa get one, and those expecting lots of fancy equivocation got that, too — but first everyone sat through a monumental history lesson.
In the kind of rounded, literate, slightly patrician oratory we’ve all but given up on hearing from a major politician, Spitzer spent his first thousand words setting up an age-old conflict between the two title values. He dwelled with special vigor on America’s two great foreign-policy challenges of Fascism and Communism, and then, just as our eyes were beginning to glaze over, he steered the topic toward the Bush administration’s war on terror. “We are so deluded by the concept of our innocence that we are ill-prepared to deal with the temptations of power,” he quoted a minister, and from there it was a short jump to his own current straits. “Over the past few weeks,” Spitzer said, “[w]e were fighting so hard for what we believed was right that we let down our guard and allowed our passion to get the best of us. I have accepted responsibility for these failures.” What kind of responsibility? Well, he’s been “calling on a Protestant minister to help me analyze our current situation.” And the lesson? “Power must be used, but it must be tempered by soul-searching.” In other words, I’ll still totally waste Joe Bruno, but now I’ll be more careful.