Friday, January 03, 2020

Quote of the Week: Retail Politics

"Normally, officeholders in a state like Texas have differed from eminent public servants in the federal government  primarily in the way some social scientists claim that lower-class Americans differ from those Americans who have arrived in the middle class -- an inability to defer reward. A commissioner of an important federal regulatory agency is content to live on his government salary, secure in the knowledge that his next job may be as a highly paid executive or counsel in the industry he has been regulating. Distinguished Washington lawyers who serve as deputy secretaries of one department or another are ordinarily not given large retainers to use their influence until after they resign their posts. In some states, though, it is understood that such patience is too much to ask of a poor frail human being who happens to find himself governor."
 - Calvin Trillin, "Reformer," originally published 1972 in The New Yorker, available in Trillin on Texas, p.174

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