Although I am loathe to needlessly remind that there is nothing new under the sun, on occasion novel serendipities in nothing-new reading are rather striking. To wit, last night I was reading the historian Tacitus (56-120 A.D.), who observed this of the ill-fated Roman senator and general, Gaius Silius:
[He] had been head of a great army for seven years, winner of an honorary Triumph in Germany, conqueror of Sacrovir…. He had boasted excessively of his own army's unbroken loyalty when others had lapsed into mutiny. 'If the revolt had spread to my brigades,' he said, 'Tiberius could not have kept the throne.' The emperor felt that these assertions of an obligation beyond all recompense damaged his own position. For services are welcome as long as it seems possible to repay them, but when they greatly exceed that point they produce not gratitude but hatred.
Politics is a tricky business, Washington is a treacherous place and Trumplandia is downright brutal. In all three realms, you have to strike the right balance of self-promotion and self-effacement. The media’s no help: We love few archetypes better than that of the brilliant mastermind who’s the real power behind the throne. But the savviest operators find ways to resist that assignment, deflecting as much credit as they claim.
Gaius Silius committed suicide in 24 A.D.; Steve Bannon, unsavvy operator, 2017 A.D.