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From The Tnr Archives: Hoover And Hubris

With William E. Leuchtenburg's comparison of Herbert Hoover and George W. Bush on our homepage today, it seemed like a good time to revisit Elmer Davis's piece from November 16, 1932, titled "Hoover and Hubris." In it, Davis depicts the tragic elements of Hoover's presidency:

The outward manifestation of Mr. Hoover's hubris was not the wanton violence of the ancient tragic heroes, but a smug arrogance. One or two matters, trivial in themselves, that happened to come under my observation early in 1928 were the mark of a man who had the bit in his teeth, who had come to believe his own publicity and thought that any interference with him, intentional or not, was the sin against the Holy Ghost. ... Against him were arrayed malign but disembodied forces that somehow plotted evil against American prosperity and the American home. ... Never in American history did a candidate so recklessly walk out on a limb and challenge Nemesis to saw it off.

The rest of Davis' piece is certainly worth a read, and you can find it here.   

--Amanda Silverman