Kathryn Lopez

Sir Elton John should pay attention, though. He almost understands. During a recent fundraiser for Sen. Hillary Clinton in New York, the pop-singing legend said, "The reason I'm here tonight is to play music." He, of course, didn't. Instead of just singing, he announced, "I never cease to be amazed at the misogynistic attitude of some people in this country. And I say to hell with them."

Clinton is not going down because of misogyny. Her problem is the h-word again. Humility. For years, Clinton surrogates instructed Americans that she was inevitable. The Democratic Party believed it. Republicans expected it and raised money off it.

But nothing is inevitable in American politics, as the rise of Obama and the surprises of this election cycle have made crystal clear. A little humility might have gone a long way for the Clintons this time around, and would have spared her husband some red-faced, finger-wagging rants. And Clinton some tears. Instead, she may about to be served a substantial slice of humble pie.

In the "Litany of Humility" that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas says routinely, there's a line, "Deliver me ... from the desire of being loved." It's counterintuitive for a public figure, who can easily feed off attention and positive reinforcement. But, like knowing when to stop talking, it rules.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.