It took a Chicago guy named Daley to honestly assess the "enormity" of American politics.
But I'm sure glad he did.
"Even though you're around it for a long time, you don't get a sense of the enormity of it until you get into it," Bill Daley said the other day, explaining why he dropped out of the race for governor of Illinois.
The very next day, possibly because honesty is so contagious, state Sen. Kirk Dillard, a Republican running for governor, told me he appreciates the "enormity" of the governor's job.
"I understand the enormity of the office," said Dillard, in a big voice. "I need to be governor to lead this state and make it work again."
They're not alone. President Barack Obama, thought by some to be one of the great orators of our age, also uses the word.
"I do not underestimate the enormity of the task that lies ahead," Obama said in his famous 2008 speech in Grant Park after he was elected president.
And in January of the next year, at the Lincoln Memorial, he was at it again. "Despite the enormity of the task that lies ahead," he said, "I stand here today as hopeful as ever that the United States of America will endure."
Enormity this, enormity that, enormity ahead, enormity behind. The enormity of politics is often difficult to comprehend.
But some readers just can't stand it when political figures — be they Republican or Democrat — use "enormity."
I could almost hear them ripping their hair out as they typed.
"If I hear one more politician use 'enormity' to describe large government, I'm just going to blow my head off," texted one guy.
"Shut up shut up shut up," wrote another taxpayer. "Enormity? Yeah right."
And then this came in over the email transom:
"The word 'enormity" has been used recently and frequently to describe the Illinois governor's job, the electoral process, Illinois state governance and the state of the state in general. I couldn't agree more.
"Enormity is defined as: 1. The quality of passing all moral bounds; excessive wickedness or outrageousness. 2. A monstrous offense or evil; an outrage …
"John Borling (Maj. Gen. USAF ret.), Rockford."
How can this be? Does "enormity" really mean something large, like government or "political challenges"?
Or does it perhaps mean something hideously sinful and wickedly outrageous, like a government that starves its own people and gorges on their liberty.
Perhaps enormity also could describe my jealousy at all those who get those subsidized Obamaphones — and don't qualify — while I'm stuck with a non-Obama Tribune phone, the one with the cracked screen that cuts big chunks out of my ear.