“Grace” Under (Very Little) Pressure

Remember the “McCain Ends Classy” theme that sprung up in the media in the minutes and hours after McCain delivered his (“gracious,” “classy”) concession speech? The Daily Beast’s Tina Brown, for example, wrote: “McCain seemed a different man when he conceded. Noble again. A Man of honor. The curse of this campaign has been lifted from him too.”

In case you weren’t convinced (or had simply forgotten), Nicole Wallace, a McCain campaign senior adviser, took to the Daily Beast yesterday to reinforce all that.

Wallace, who notes her unemployment since McCain’s defeat, has nonetheless been “filled with a warm and fuzzy feeling” and fills a column at The Daily Beast explaining why.

First, there was John McCain’s exquisite concession speech…[T]he speech set a new standard for grace in defeat.

The speech sent a powerful signal around the world about the strength of our democracy. It also opened the door for the McCains to return, unscathed, to their previous lives of impressive service—Cindy McCain as an advocate for international aid and relief efforts, and John McCain as a powerful, pragmatic senator known, liked, and respected by a sizable swath of Democrats, Republicans, the media, and world leaders.

“Unscathed.” Understood?

Speaking of, Wallace, who was an assistant to President George W. Bush and White House director of communications, also writes:

But some of the most heartwarming stories I’ve heard this holiday season are the ones that have leaked out of both the East and West wings of the White House about George and Laura Bush, two people whose grace has gone under-reported and unappreciated for too long…

George Bush reportedly fought back tears at a recent holiday gathering with advance staff—the unsung heroes of any White House. According to one former staffer who attended, Bush choked up as he thanked them for their years of service.

Which you might regard as fairly standard human behavior for an outgoing leader of a team or organization, but if you were President Bush’s former communications director you could identify as “grace” (“under-reported” but, luckily, “leaked” to her).

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.