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Aldems' Political Quotations: Apt & Otherwise

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(Continued from page 15)

       -- Richard M. Nixon

    "Beware the politically obsessed. They are often bright and interesting, but they have something missing in their natures; there is a hole, an empty place, and they use politics to fill it up. It leaves them somehow misshapen."
       -- Peggy Noonan

    "You don't have to be old in America to say of a world you lived in: 'that world is gone.'"
       -- Peggy Noonan

    "If Communism goes, I've still got the U.S. House of Representatives."
       -- Robert Novak,
political commentator

    "Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong."
       -- Daniel O'Connell

    "A society emphasizing social rituals and manners requires a kind of reverence for words to adequately express sentiment and feeling. The dregs of this rhetoric remain the stock in trade of the grass roots politicians."
       -- William Van O'Connor

    "America may be unique in being a country which has leapt from barbarism to decadence without touching civilization."
       -- John O'Hara

    "In taking stock of a politician, the first question is not whether he was a good man who used righteous means, but whether he was successful in gaining power, in keeping it, and in governing; whether, in short, he was skilful at his particular craft or a bungler."
       -- Frederick Scott Oliver

    "Men who are engaged in public life must necessarily aim at reducing opposition to a minimum, and one of the most obvious means to that end is by misrepresenting, discrediting or ruining their opponents."
       -- Frederick Scott Oliver

    "It is true that the politician, in his professional character, does not always, or even very often, conform to the most approved pattern of private conduct."
       -- Frederick Scott Oliver

    "No politician has ever yet been able to rule his country, nor has any country ever yet been able to face the world, upon the principles of the Sermon on the Mount."
       -- Frederick Scott Oliver

"The statesman shears the sheep; the politician skins them."
       -- Austin O'Malley

    "It's easier to run for office than to run the office."
       -- Speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill (D-MA)

    "All politics is local."
       -- Speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill (D-MA),
favorite saying (and book title)

    "In our brief national history we have shot four of our presidents, worried five of them to death, impeached one and hounded another out of office. And when all else fails, we hold an election and assassinate their character."
       -- P. J. O'Rourke

    "The Democrats are the party of government activism, the party that says government can make you richer, smarter, taller, and get the chickweed out of your lawn. Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work, and then get elected and prove it."
       -- P. J. O'Rourke

    "It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it; consequently, the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using the word if it were tied down to any one meaning."
       -- George Orwell

    "In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia."
       -- George Orwell

    "[A]ll political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome."
               --George Orwell,
Partisan review, Winter, 1945

    "Political language---and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists---is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."
       -- George Orwell

    'In our time political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible."
          -- George Orwell

    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right."
       -- Thomas Paine

    "He who would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."
       -- Thomas Paine

    "Time makes more converts than reason."
       -- Thomas Paine

    "My only concern was to get home after a hard day's work."
       -- Rosa Parks

    "No poor bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making other bastards die for their country."
       -- George Smith Patton

    "Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects."
       -- Lester B. Pearson,
Canadian Prime Minister

    "The big problem is to find suitable hats. I don't care for them all that much, but you have to wear them in politics."
       -- Maryon Pearson,
wife of Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson

    "Men are strange about politics. I have been around the world twice and I know politicians from many cultures. They are all alike. As long as they find themselves in the middle of it, they say they are sorry that all their time is taken up by politics. But as soon as they have lost and are out -- oh, how terrible for them!"
       -- Maryon Pearson,
wife of Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson

    "The House of Commons is a great unwieldy body, which requires great Art and some Cordials to keep it loyal."
       -- Henry Pelham,
British Prime Minister

    "For the whole earth is the tomb of famous men; not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions in their own country, but in foreign lands there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not on stone but in the hearts of men. "
       -- Pericles,
Funeral Oration

    "For a man's counsel cannot have equal weight or worth, when he alone has no children to risk in the general danger."
       -- Pericles,
Funeral Oration

    "I am of opinion that national greatness is more for the advantage of private citizens, than any individual well-being coupled with public humiliation. A man may be personally ever so well off, and yet if his country be ruined he must be ruined with it; whereas a flourishing commonwealth always affords chances of salvation to unfortunate individuals."
       -- Pericles,
speech to the people of Athens, [Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War ]

    "If you see a snake, just kill it - don't appoint a committee on snakes."
       -- H. Ross Perot

    "Inventories can be managed, but people must be led."
       -- H. Ross Perot

    "Democracy is a process by which the people are free to choose the man who will get the blame."
       -- Laurence J. Peter

    "Noble causes have a deplorable effect on the morals of the persons who espouse them."
       -- Elizabeth Peters,
Falcon at the Portal

    "When men start talking about 'honor', there is sure to be trouble ahead."
       -- Elizabeth Peters,
Falcon at the Portal

    "Politics is but the common pulse-beat, of which revolution is the fever-spasm."
       -- Wendell Phillips

    "Governments exist to protect the rights of minorities. The loved and the rich need no protection: they have many friends and few enemies."
       -- Wendell Phillips,
1860

    "Politicians are like the bones of a horse's foreshoulder-not a straight one in it."
       -- Wendell Philips,
speech, July 1864

    "Two kinds of men generally best succeed in political life; men of no principle, but of great talent; and men of no talent, but of one principle -- that of obedience to their superiors."
       -- Wendell Phillips

    "A Republic without parties is a complete anomaly. The histories of all popular governments show absurd is the idea of their attempting to exist without parties."
       -- Franklin Pierce

    "[F]requently the more trifling the subject, the more animated and protracted the discussion."
       -- Franklin Pierce

    "With the Union my best and dearest earthly hopes are entwined."
       -- Franklin Pierce

    "You have summoned me in my weakness; you must sustain me by your strength."
       -- Franklin Pierce
[Two months before his inauguration, Pierce and his wife witnessed the death of their only living child in a train derailment.]

    "There will be no end to the troubles of states, or of humanity itself, till philosophers become kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands."
       -- Plato,
The Republic

    "Democracy...is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder; and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike."
       -- Plato,
The Republic

    "That politician who curries favor with the citizens and indulges them and fawns upon them and has a presentiment of their wishes, and is skillful in gratifying them, he is esteemed a great statesman."
       -- Plato
The Republic

    "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."
       -- Plato   

    "A mouse does not rely on just one hole."
       -- Plautus

    "A liberal is a person who interests aren't at stake, at the moment."
       -- Willis Player

    "Reform is like morning glories; they look great early in the day and then they disappear."
       -- George Washington Plunkett

    "An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics."
       -- Plutarch

    "If a man . . . would shake and not be shaken, grip and not be gripped, taking care always to squeeze the hand of his adversary as hard as it squeezed him, then he suffered no inconvenience from it.'
       -- James K. Polk
(on the political art of hand-shaking)

    "The passion for office among members of Congress is very great, if not absolutely disreputable, and greatly embarrasses the operations of the Government. They create offices by their own votes and then seek to fill them themselves."
       -- James K. Polk

    "No president who performs his duties faithfully and conscientiously can have any leisure."
       -- James K. Polk

    "Party-spirit at best is but the madness of many for the gain of a few."
       -- Alexander Pope

    "Politics is still crucially important. Our choices are vital, and we've got to make them, and not just say, 'Oh, they're all the same.' They are all the same in certain ways, alas -- a political animal is such an animal. But lurking somewhere behind their rhetoric and their spittle are important choices that we should make."
       -- Dennis Potter

    "Don't let your ego get too close to your position, so that if your position gets shot down, your ego doesn't go with it."
       -- Colin Powell

    "Here is one of the first rules of politics: it's not enough that I do well; I must also destroy my enemy."
       -- Bill Press

    "The biggest danger for a politician is to shake hands with a man who is physically stronger, has been drinking and is voting for the other guy."
       -- Senator William Proxmire (D-WI)

    "Power always has to be kept in check; power exercised in secret, especially under the cloak of national security, is doubly dangerous."
       -- Senator William Proxmire (D-WI)

    "The future will be better tomorrow."
       -- J. Danforth Quayle, Republican Vice-President

    "If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."
       -- J. Danforth Quayle, Republican Vice-President

    "I am not the problem. I am a Republican."
       -- J. Danforth Quayle, Republican Vice-President

    "I happen to be a Republican president -- ah, the vice-president."
       -- J. Danforth Quayle, Republican Vice-President

    "It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it."
       -- J. Danforth Quayle, Republican Vice-President

     "I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy - but that could change."
       -- J. Danforth Quayle, Republican Vice-President

    "Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things."
       -- J. Danforth Quayle, Republican Vice-President

(Continued on page 17)

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