George Washington, in his farewell speech to his troops said this:
the foundation of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality. Private morality has something to do with public life? Washington thought so. Once private morality has gone, public morality will not be far behind. In his farewell address from the presidency, George Washington closed by thanking the country for allowing him the privilege of acting with honor.
He implies that if the American people had been difference somehow—if they had been willing to let him (or force him) in another direction—he might not have had the privilege of always acting with honor. He gave a certain credit to the American people; and in doing so he laid a certain burden on them, as well.
Could it be that we are complicit in not allowing our leaders to act with honor? For I don’t think many of us believe that duty, honor, and country are the dominant considerations for men in politics these days. What is?