Found via The Corner of Berkshire & Fairfax.
America has a way of elevating its heroes beyond the realm of mere mortals. This has not been an issue on Wall Street, where heroes do not exist. Warren Buffett has been the glaring exception. An Omahan who was not of Wall Street so much as above it and who spoke in cracker-barrel English derived more from Twain than from J. P. Morgan, he fulfilled (I once wrote) America’s secular myth. He was the man from the Plains whose virtue offered an antidote to the corrupt Northeast and to Wall Street in particular. It is a measure of his reputation that a radio interviewer asked me whether Buffett had, until late, behaved in a “near perfect” manner. No flesh and blood, examined up close, can meet such a standard. As the saying goes, “No man is a hero to his valet.” The David Sokol affair, in which an executive of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway was caught in a serious ethical trespass, and in which Buffett failed to deliver a rebuke, has shown us a bit of the great man’s undergarments. The question for the 40,000 shareholders converging on Omaha for Saturday’s annual meeting (a.k.a. Buffett’s “capitalist Woodstock”) is whether the Sokol business tells us anything new, and perhaps dispiriting, about Buffett.