Framing the Dialogue

Hubris (hew – bris)

This is the first in the new series – Framing the Dictionary.

Hubris is defined in as:

“Overbearing pride or presumption; arrogance”

As you scroll further on the web page they offer this second definition:

Hubris [hew – bris] or hybris, the Greek word for ‘insolence’ or ‘affront’, applied to the arrogance or pride of the protagonist in a tragedy in which he or she defies moral laws or the prohibitions of the gods. The protagonist’s transgression leads eventually to his or her downfall, which may be understood as divine retribution or nemesis. Hubris is commonly translated as ‘overweening (i.e. excessively presumptuous) pride’. In proverbial terms, hubris is thus the pride that comes before a fall.

Can you use it in a sentence?

The hubris of our elected officials prevents them from representing their constituents’ values and ideals.

Can you give me an example?  Where do I start?

Example 1:  The first is from Senator Charles Grassley (R – Iowa) who “joking suggested that AIG executives “resign or to commit suicide” in the wake of wide-spread reports of executive bonuses while AIG accepted taxpayer bailout money.  That’s not, in my opinion, the hubris.  Sen. Grassley released a statement (here it comes):

“What I’m expressing here obviously is not that I want people to commit suicide. That’s not my notion,” Grassley said Tuesday. “But I do feel very strongly that we have not had statements of apology, statements of remorse, statements of contrition on the part of CEOs of manufacturing companies or banks or financial services or insurance companies that are asking for bailouts.”

I would suggest that Sen. Grassley lead the way by apologizing for allowing taxpayer dollars be given to a company that is so poorly run.  The bonuses given out do not bother me as much as the fact that we are protecting companies that probably should be bankrupt. 

Example 2:  Senator Chris Dodd (D- -Conn.) is trying to undo a provision slipped into the stimulus bill that limited executive compensation, but provided a loophole for executive bonuses.  Before you pat him on the back, you should know that he is the one who slipped the provision into the bill.  Hubris.

In the interest of full disclosure, Senator Dodd received more campaign money in 2008 from AIG than any other candidate.  Senator Dodd received $103,100 dollars in “campaign bonus money” from AIG while in the same year they received bailout money. 

Here is a short quiz.  I have two questions that have the same answer:

Question 1:  In what state does AIG have its largest office?

Question 2:  What state does Senator Chris Dodd represent?

Answer:   Connecticut  (I am sure that is just a coincidence)

As chairman of the Senate Bankkng Committee he proved his worth by accepting a “VIP” mortgage from Countrywide Mortgage Company.  In Senator Dodd’s defense he stated that he had no idea that “VIP” meant that he got a lower mortgage rate.  Hubris

Example 3:  Representative Nancy Pelosi (D – CA), Speaker of the House, third in line to the presidency has been a frequent critic of corporate greed, using private jets, pro union and pro Kyoto Protocol. 

It seems that Speaker Pelosi has been rather demanding of our military by her requests for transportation.  Michele Malkin reports that Pelosi “is the Jennifer Lopez of congressional travel – fickle, demanding and notoriously insensitive to the time, costs and energy needed to accommodate her endless demands.”

In April 2007 she announced, with great fanfare, “The House must lead by example and it is time for Congress to act on its own carbon footprint.”  Less than two years later a statement was quietly issued shelving the plan.  Do as I say not as I do hubris.

Anyone listening to Speaker Pelosi during the past elections probably grew weary of her seemingly constant attack on the Republican’s “Culture of Corruption.”  It seems that she is not so interested in investigating corruption within the Democrat ranks.  She and the Democrats have squashed efforts to investigate Democrat wrongdoing.  Hubris.

Example 4:  Barney Frank (D – Mass) is setting his sights to reshape financial regulation in early May. 

Unfortunately this is many years too late.  It should be noted that congress, Rep. Frank in particular, scuttled prior, timelier efforts to reign in toxic loan practices.  Watch a video report available on this link that has what may be my favorite web name;

Massachusetts voters should take a look at Rep. Franks’ appearance with Chris Wallace, Senator Corker and Mark Zandi (Wharton School of Business) on Fox News Sunday.  I would describe his demeanor as someone enduring a very long sermon until he hears his name.  When he speaks, he comes off as a child trying to participate in a conversation at the adult table during Thanksgiving.  He is promptly scolded by Wallace.  Funny hubris.

Example 5:  Rep. Charles Rangel (D – NY) and chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means (which has as its chief purpose to write tax law) is being investigated for not paying his…taxes.  Of course being investigated does not mean guilt except for the errors to which that he has already admitted.  I would have to check, but he may have claimed that the tax law is too complex or was that our new Treasury Secretary.  Unbelievable hubris. 

Example 6:  Senator Chuck Schumer (D – NY) stated that AIG executives who recently received bonuses “voluntarily” return them to their rightful owner, the government.  He did not suggest that they be returned to the taxpayers, but to the government.  Here is HUBRIS in Sen. Schumer’s own words:

“They should voluntarily return them (the bonuses). If they don’t we plan to tax virtually all of it…we will pass a new law.”

My next word, for Senator Schumer’s benefit, might have to be “voluntarily.”  When your are threatened at the point of a gun (IRS and federal agents carry guns) to give up your money, that is something other than “voluntarily.”   Senator Schumer may want to take a look at the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8), that states that;

“all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be UNIFORM throughout the United States” [emphasis added]

Many interpret this section of the Constitution as preventing congress from passing laws singling out a specific citizen.  That is what he seems to be suggesting.

In a related story, it seems that Senator Schumer may have had a hand in causing the failure of IndyMac and subsequent collapse of world markets.  In a letter to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Schumer questioned the liquidity of IndyMac.  When the letter was released on June 26, 2008, depositors withdrew $1.3 billion in 11 days forcing FDIC to take control of IndyMac. 

I would not hold your breath since that story was posted in August 2008.  Since then the economy has been in a tailspin and the Democrats were swept into power.  Probably no connection there. 

Senator Schumer is probably the poster boy for HUBRIS.


Update July 14, 2009 – With the start of hearings for the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Sonya Sotomayor, the hubris was on display.  Contrast the behavior and words of leading Democrats as they smooth the way for Obama’s nominee.  Apparently Judge Sotomayor is “the most experienced Supreme Court nominee in 100 years.”  No word about how many times her rulings were overturned (Answer is 60% overturned).  Maybe that is what make her so experienced.  After all we learn more from our mistakes.

The Republicans are no better as they look for ways to scuttle her nomination.  Look back to the nominations of Samuel Alito or John Roberts when they were doing everything in their power to push those through.  The only difference is that the GOP know that they have to be careful with their comments as the mainstream media is poised to paint them as racist.  She is after all a Latina woman in case you had not caught that fact.  It may be the only thing recently mentioned more than Michael Jackson’s name.

Try to guess which of these comments by Sen. Patrick Leahy were made for Sotomayor, Alito, or Roberts”

“a judge for all Americans. a justice for all Americans.  Let no one demean this extraordinary woman,” 

“I know the judge probably thinks he’s doing nothing here but being on the hot seat but we’re talking about a lifetime appointment.”

“This is not about competence.  This is a whole issue about ideology. If someone comes in with an agenda, as an activist judge, as someone who his supporters has suggested he will be, then he shouldn’t be there.”

“There is no entitlement to confirmation for lifetime appointments on any court for any nomination by a president.”

“I was concerned that he would not act as an effective check on the abuse of presidential power.”

“committed to the law…not to ideology”

Are you as tired of politicians as I am?

4 CommentsLeave one

  1. Mark says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for the link to We like the name too! I realized you had us linked because you showed up in our “Thanks for the Links” section in our left sidebar. The link should be sending some new visitors back to you. Check it out.

  2. Stockholm Syndrome / Framing the Dialogue says:

    […] but it’s got to be done, so there’s no point in procrastinating.” [There is just too much hubris here. This statement from a man who took literally months to decide on whether to deploy additional […]

Leave a comment

Use basic HTML (<a href="">, <strong>, <blockquote>)