Politics (quotes)

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Politics is the art of government

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Loving to hate politicians

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Many love to criticise politicians …

  • A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country. Texas Guinan
  • A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground. L. Mencken
  • A politician is like quicksilver: if you try to put your finger on him, you find nothing under it. Austin O’Malley
  • Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation. Henry Kissinger
  • Too bad ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation. Henry Kissinger
  • Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hardworking, honest Americans. It’s the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then, we elected them. Lily Tomlin
  • Politician: A fellow who borrows your pot in which to cook your goose.
  • Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel. John Quinton
  • Prosperity: Something that businessman create for politicians to take the credit for.
  • Criticism
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… criticism that can become quite vitriolic …

  • Politics: A word derived from the word “poly”, meaning ‘many’, and the word ‘ticks’, meaning ‘blood sucking parasites’.   Larry Hardiman
  • I won’t eat anything that has intelligent life, but I’d gladly eat a network executive or a politician. Marty Feldman
  • The politician is a biped; but he is probably an aberrant form of hyena. Abraham Miller
  • If you have sense enough to realize why flies gather around a restaurant, you should be able to appreciate why men run for office. Edgar Watson Howe
  • Under every stone lurks a politician. Aristophanes
  • When you start looking for some politician’s footprints on the sands of time, steer for the mudholes first. Robert Elliott Gonzales
  • It is a pity, as my husband says, that more politicians are not bastards by birth instead of vocation. Katherine Whitehorn
  • Politicians and diapers should be changed frequently and all for the same reason. José Maria de Eça de Queiroz
  • The only problem with politicians taking two week vacations every year is it’s about 50 weeks too short. Jarod Kintz
  • I want nothing to do with politicians. Their hearts wither away and die out of their bodies. Their consciences are turned to india-rubber, or to some substance as black as that, and which will stretch as much. Nathaniel Hawthorn
  • Politics is something similar to the lower physiological functions, with the unpleasant difference that political functions are unavoidably carried out in public. Maxim Gorky
  • Politics, just like the tropical forest, feeds itself from its own waste. Paul Carvel
  • My definition of a redundancy is an air bag in a politician’s car. Larry Hagman
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… displaying even a kind of pent up hatred

  • The only way to reform a politician is to hang him. Abraham Miller
  • They have at last produced a political leader worthy of assassination. Irving Layton
  • There ought to be one day — just one — when there is open season on senators. Will Rogers
  • If a tree falls in a forest and lands on a politician, even if you can’t hear the tree or the screams, I’ll bet you’d at least hear the applause. Paul Tindale
  • It is inexcusable for scientists to torture animals; let them make their experiments on journalists and politicians. Henrik Ibsen
  • Hate
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Politicians, many argue, are a a kind of joke …

  • Everything is changing. People are taking the comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke. Will Rogers
  • The problem with political jokes is they get elected. Henry Cate, VII
  • When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I’m beginning to believe it. Clarence Darrow
  • I don’t approve of political jokes…I’ve seen too many of them get elected.
  • It’s a sad day when our politicians are comical and I have to take our comedians seriously! Protest sign
  • Politics is developing more comedians than radio ever did. Jimmy Durante
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…  ignorant…

  • Politicians say they’re beefing up our economy. Most don’t know beef from pork. Harold Lowman
  • He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything; that points clearly to a political career. George Bernard Shaw
  • Practical politics consists in ignoring facts. Henry Adams
  • Ignorance
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… stupid…

  • In politics, stupidity is not a handicap. Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man, and our politicians take advantage of this prejudice by pretending to be even more stupid than nature made them. Bertrand Russell
  • The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue. Emma Goldman
  • Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber. Plato
  • In our civilization, and under our republican form of government, intelligence is so highly honored that it is rewarded by exemption from the cares of office. Ambrose Bierce
  • Stupidity
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… lazy…

  • Politician: One who is willing to do anything on earth for the workers except become one.
  • Politics is the ruination of the country. Elect me for life, then they won’t have to cater to any interest. If you elect one party to power, why the other party don’t do any useful work for the next 4 years, only try to work some scheme to get back in. But if they were elected for life they wouldn’t have to worry. The minute a man knows he can’t get a political job, he may turn to something useful. A business that’s doing well don’t change people every 4 years. A man don’t no more than get into the White House and learn where the Ice Box is than he has to get out again, then he is never any good for hard work again. Will Rogers
  • Politicians are wonderful people as long as they stay away from things they don’t understand such as working for a living. J. O’Rourke
  • Laziness
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… not to be trusted…

  • Every two years the American politics industry fills the airwaves with the most virulent, scurrilous, wall-to-wall character assassination of nearly every political practitioner in the country — and then declares itself puzzled that America has lost trust in its politicians. Charles Krauthammer
  • A political convention is just not a place where you come away with any trace of faith in human nature. Murray Kempton
  • I once said cynically of a politician, “He’ll double- cross that bridge when he comes to it. Oscar Levant
  • Politician: One who shakes your hand before elections and your confidence after.
  • A politician is a man who will double cross that bridge when he comes to it. Oscar Levant
  • My favorite mythical creature? The honest politician.
  • Trust
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… thieves and crooks…

  • A good politician under democracy is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar. L. Mencken
  • Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks. Doug Larson
  • We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. Aesop
  • I am a politician which means I am a liar and a crook. When I am not kissing babies I am stealing their lollypops. Tom Clancy
  • Not everybody is comfortable with the idea that politics is a guilty addiction. But it is. They are addicts, and they are guilty, and they do lie and cheat and steal — like all junkies. Hunter S. Thompson
  • Ronald Reagan is not a typical politician because he doesn’t know how to lie cheat and steal; he’s always had an agent do that. Bob Hope
  • That politician is so crooked he can hide behind a corkscrew.
  • The way my luck is running if I was a politician I would be honest. Rodney Dangerfield
  • There are two impossibilities in life: “just one drink ” and “an honest politician. ” L. Mencken
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… two faced hypocrites…

  • A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation. Adlai E. Stevenson
  • Dilemma: A politician trying to save both his faces at once.
  • The reason there are so few female politicians is that it is too much trouble to put makeup on two faces. Maureen Murphy
  • I think that generally one of the things that—one of the things that I sort of feel like is the meta issue in the type of political commentary that I do is that nobody really cares about hypocrisy—everybody expects hypocrisy from politicians. And so, you tell a politician they are being a hypocrite, and they say, oh, you have such a nasty tune, stop saying those rude things, because they don‘t care about the substance of it. Rachel Maddow
  • Hypocrisy
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… liars…

  • Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. George Orwell
  • In politics, yesterday’s lie is attacked only to flatter today’s. Jean Rostand
  • Nobody believes a rumor here in Washington until it’s officially denied. Edward T. Cheyfitz
  • The law requires a paper towel ad to be scrupulously honest, but allows political candidates to lie without reproach. What’s wrong with this picture? Jef I. Richards
  • Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory. John Kenneth Galbraith
  • The best time to listen to a politician is when he’s on a stump on a street corner in the rain late at night when he’s exhausted. Then he doesn’t lie. Theodore H. White
  • I must choose my words carefully in order to avoid any negative interpretation; among politicians this is a tactic known as lying. Pat Paulsen
  • Politicians are wedded to the truth but like many other married couples they sometimes live apart. …Saki’ H.H. Munro
  • There is one sure way of telling when politicians aren’t telling the truth – their lips move. Felicity Kendall
  • These days the only time politicians tell the truth is when they call each other a liar. Alfred E. Neuman
  • Lying
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… and corrupt

  • An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought. Simon Cameron
  • Corrupt politicians make the other ten percent look bad. Henry Kissinger
  • Corruption: Dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery. Oxford Dictionary
  • Corrupt politicians make the other ten percent look bad. Henry Kissinger
  • Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today. Mohandas K. Gandhi
  • Crime does not pay … as well as politics. Alfred E. Newman
  • It’s so cold here in Washington D.C. that politicians have their hands in their own pockets. Bob Hope
  • Absolute power does not corrupt absolutely, absolute power attracts the corruptible. Frank Herbert
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The problem with politics

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Many have become very cynical and negative about politics

  • I never desire to know anything of the detail of political measures, lest even those which I think best should lose anything of their intrinsic value to me, by seeing what low, paltry, personal motives and base machinery and dirty hands have helped to bring them about. Fanny Kemble
  • I have learned that one of the most important rules of politics is poise – which means looking like an owl after you’ve behaved like a jackass. Ronald Reagen
  • 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
  • Politics: The art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy. Sir Ernest Benn
  • Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river. Nikita Khrushchev
  • Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them. Paul Valery
  • Politics is the food of sense exposed to the hunger of folly. Fulke Greville
  • Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising to protect each from the other. Oscar Ameringer
  • Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects. Lester B. Pearson
  • Politics: the art of appearing candid and completely open while concealing as much as possible. Frank Herbert
  • When I entered politics, I took the only downward turn you could take from journalism. Jim Hightower
  • Political speeches are like steer horns. A point here, a point there, and a lot of bull in between.  Alfred E. Neuman
  • Politics … regarded as the study and pursuit of the true, enduring good of a community, as the application of great and unchangeable principles to public affairs, is a noble sphere of thought and action; but politics, in its common sense, or considered as the invention of temporary shifts, as the playing of a subtle game, as the tactics of party for gaining power and the spoils of office, and for elevating one set of men above another, is a paltry and debasing concern. William E. Channing
  • Now, there’s one thing you might have noticed I don’t complain about: politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. George Carlin
  • Nothing can so alienate a voter from the political system as backing a winning candidate. Mark B. Cohen
  • Negativity
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Politics, they argue, attracts the wrong kind of people

  • It is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. … Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. Douglas Adams
  • I ascribe to Mark Twain‘s theory that the last person who should be President is the one who wants it the most. The one who should be picked is the one who should be dragged kicking and screaming into the White House. Bill Hicks
  • Any American who is prepared to run for president should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so. Gore Vidal
  • Anyone that wants the presidency so much that he’ll spend two years organizing and campaigning for it is not to be trusted with the office. David Broder
  • The qualities that get a man into power are not those that lead him, once established, to use power wisely. Lyman Bryson
  • The question is, why are politicians so eager to be president? What is it about the job that makes it worth revealing, on national television, that you have the ethical standards of a slime-coated piece of industrial waste? Dave Barry
  • It takes a certain kind of man to be in politics–a small one. Croft M. Pentz
  • No one you’d really like to see in public office has the bad taste to run. F. Paul Wilson
  • We’d all like to vote for the best man, but he’s never a candidate. Kin Hubbard
  • It is not in the nature of politics that the best men should be elected. The best men do not want to govern their fellowmen. George E. MacDonald
  • Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary. Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct. Thomas Jefferson
  • Politics would be a helluva good business if it weren’t for the goddamned people. Richard M. Nixon
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Politics is full of trickery and deceit

  • In the struggle for supremacy the various political parties outdo each other in trickery, deceit, cunning, and shady machinations, confident that the one who succeeds is sure to be hailed by the majority as the victor. That is the only god–Success. As to what expense, what terrible cost to character, is of no moment. Emma Goldman
  • Truthfulness has never been counted among the political virtues and lies have always been regarded as justifiable tools in political dealings. Hannah Arendt
  • We assume that politicians are without honor. We read their statements trying to crack the code. The scandals of their politics: not so much that men in high places lie, only that they do so with such indifference, so endlessly, still expecting to be believed. Adrienne Rich
  • 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
  • If you want to succeed in politics, you must keep your conscience well under control. David Lloyd George
  • In America you can go on the air and kid the politicians and the politicians can go on the air and kid the people. Groucho Marx
  • The trouble with this country is that there are too many politicians who believe with a conviction based on experience that you can fool all of the people all of the time. Franklin Adams
  • Deceit
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Politics is nothing but craftiness and cunning

  • Shrewd and crafty politicians, when they wish to bring about an unpopular measure, must not go straight forward to work, if they do they will certainly fail; and failures to men in power, are like defeats to a general, they shake their popularity. Therefore, since they cannot sail in the teeth of the wind, they must tack, and ultimately gain their object, by appearing at times to be departing from it. Charles Caleb Colton
  • A cool blooded and crafty politician, when he would be thoroughly revenged on his enemy, makes the injuries which have been inflicted, not on himself, but on others, the pretext of his attack. He thus engages the world as a partisan in his quarrel, and dignifies his private hate, by giving it the air of disinterested resentment. Charles Caleb Colton
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Politics is full of noise but little progress

  • Out of politics comes more uproar than progress. It is indeed surprising how little, comparatively, this noisy department of human affairs contributes to the world’s prosperity. Political commotions upon the grandest scale, political events of astounding suddenness, political characters of the greatest ability, abound, but still, permanent results are rare, and we look in vain for a measure of public good corresponding in extent to the hideous rout which ushers it in. Progress but turns upon its pillow and goes to sleep again. Christian Nestell Bovee
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Politics displays a lack of reason and sensible thinking

  • All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field. Albert Einstein
  • I am neither bitter nor cynical, but I do wish there was less immaturity in political thinking. Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • We live in a world in which politics has replaced philosophy. Martin L. Gross
  • When philosophers try to be politicians they generally cease to be philosophers. Walter Lippmann
  • ReasonThinking
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Politics is full of wordy but meaningless rhetoric

  • Precisely because our political speeches are meant to be reported, they are not worth reporting. Precisely because they are carefully designed to be read, nobody reads them. K. Chesterton
  • Sometimes I wonder if we shall ever grow up in our politics and say definite things which mean something, or whether we shall always go on using generalities to which everyone can subscribe, and which mean very little. Eleanor Roosevelt
  • The nature of oratory is such that there has always been a tendency among politicians and clergymen to oversimplify complex matters. From a pulpit or a platform even the most conscientious of speakers finds it very difficult to tell the whole truth.  Aldous Huxley
  • The politician is trained in the art of inexactitude. His words tend to be blunt or rounded because if they have a cutting edge they may later return to wound him. Edward R. Murrow
  • The politicians were talking themselves red, white and blue in the face. Clare Boothe Luce
  • A politician is a statesman who approaches every question with an open mouth. Adlai Stevenson
  • In politics, it’s what isn’t said that matters. K. J. Parker
  • In politics, when you’re explaining, you’re losing. Keith Naughton
  • It was so cold, politicians stopped blowing hot air.
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Politics is full of disagreement and excessive compromise

  • In Washington the hundreds of elected representatives get together in Congress to make decisions that impact all of us. There is no agreement when they walk into the session. There is only disagreement. Politics takes over. Coalitions are built. Everyone tries to get as much as possible, and most end with less than everything but something. Bill Gindlesperger
  • Compromise makes a good umbrella, but a poor roof; it is temporary expedient, often wise in party politics, almost sure to be unwise in statesmanship. James Russell Lowell
  • Compromise used to mean that half a loaf was better than no bread. Among modern statesmen it really seems to mean that half a loaf is better than a whole loaf. K. Chesterton
  • It is not the principled partisan, however obnoxious he may seem to his opponents, who degrades our public debate, but the preening, self-styled statesman who elevates compromise to a first principle. Tom Delay
  • Compromise
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Politics is full of false promises with no follow through

  • There’s just one rule for politicians all over the world: Don’t say in Power what you say in Opposition; if you do, you only have to carry out what the other fellows have found impossible. John Galsworthy
  • Politicians are the same all over; they promise to build a bridge even when there’s no river. Nikita Khrushchev
  • When a politician is in opposition he is an expert on the means to some end; and when he is in office he is an expert on the obstacles to it. K. Chesterton
  • America is still a land of promise especially during a political campaign. Alfred E. Neuman
  • The politician is an acrobat; he keeps his balance by doing the opposite of what he says. Maurice Barres
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Politics is full of taking false credit

  • Prosperity: Something that businessman create for politicians to take the credit for.
  • Political success is the ability when the inevitable occurs to get credit for it. Laurence J. Peter
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Politics has become largely devoid of ethics and principles

  • As things are now going, the peace we will make, the peace we seem to be making, will be a peace of oil, a peace of gold, a peace of shipping, a peace, in brief… without moral purpose or human interest. Archibald MacLeish
  • Conscience has no more to do with gallantry than it has with politics. Richard Brinsley Sheridan
  • Divorced from ethics, leadership is reduced to management and politics to mere technique. James MacGregor Burns
  • If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power. Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long, has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong. Richard Armour
  • There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle. Alexis de Tocqueville
  • To succeed in politics, it is often necessary to rise above your principles.
  • We do not have a money problem in America. We have a values and priorities problem. Marian Wright Edelman
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Science without humanity. Knowledge without character. Politics without principle. Commerce without morality. Worship without sacrifice. Mahatma Gandhi
  • Some men change their party for the sake of their principles; others their principles for the sake of their party. Winston Churchill
  • The most practical kind of politics is the politics of decency. Theodore Roosevelt
  • What experience and history teach is this — that people and governments never have learned anything from history or acted on principles. George Wilhelm Hegel
  • The effectiveness of a politician varies in inverse proportion to his commitment to principle. Shaffer’s Law
  • Morality and ethics
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Politics is self-serving …

  • Politics, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage. Ambrose Bierce
  • However political parties may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion. George Washington
  • And so it is in politics, dear brother, Each for himself alone, there is no other. Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Politics is not an end, but a means. It is not a product, but a process. It is the art of government. Like other values it has its counterfeits. So much emphasis has been placed upon the false that the significance of the true has been obscured and politics has come to convey the meaning of crafty and cunning selfishness, instead of candid and sincere service. Calvin Coolidge
  • Political aspirants make too much of the people before election, and, if successful, too much of themselves after it. They use the people when they want to rise, as we treat a spirited horse when we want to mount him; — for a time we pat the animal upon the neck and speak him softly; but once in the saddle, then come the whip and spur. Christian Nestell Bovee
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… only interested in power …

  • In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant. Charles de Gaulle
  • It is hard to say why politicians are called servants, unless it is because a good one is hard to find. Gerald F. Lieberman
  • Politics determine who has the power, not who has the truth. Paul Krugman
  • Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection. Henry A. Wallace
  • Politics isn’t about left versus right; it’s about top versus bottom. Jim Hightower
  • Power
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… mainly serving special interest groups, especially corporations …

  • The main mark of modern governments is that we do not know who governs, de facto any more than de jure. We see the politician and not his backer; still less the backer of the backer; or, what is most important of all, the banker of the backer. R. R. Tolkien
  • The people of this country, not special interest big money, should be the source of all political power. Paul Wellstone
  • The very first words that we, the American nation, spoke were right here in Philadelphia. You know those words: “We the people.” It wasn’t, “We the conglomerates.” It wasn’t, “We the corporations.” It was, “We the people. Al Gore
  • We should make politicians dress like race car drivers — when they get money, make them wear the company logos on their suit. Jay Leno
  • Political parties exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people. From these great tasks both of the old parties have turned aside. Instead of instruments to promote the general welfare they have become the tools of corrupt interests, which use them impartially to serve their selfish purposes. Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics, is the first task of the statesmanship of the day. Theodore Roosevelt
  • I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country… corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow. Abraham Lincoln
  • Members of Congress should be compelled to wear uniforms like NASCAR drivers, so we could identify their corporate sponsors. Caroline Baum
  • No public interest is anything other or nobler than a massed accumulation of private interests. Mark Twain
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… lubricated by money

  • I think it’s a terrible system, but money in politics is like water running downhill — it finds its way. Jonathan Alter
  • Money and generous benefits can easily alter a person’s political outlook. Ideology follows the money. K. SAMUELS
  • Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising to protect each from the other. Oscar Ameringer
  • Subsidy: A formula devised by politicians to give you back some of your own money in such a way that you are supposed to think it’s a gift.
  • When one may pay out over two million dollars to presidential and Congressional campaigns, the U.S. government is virtually up for sale. John Gardner
  • I used to say that politics was the second-oldest profession. I have come to know that it bears a gross similarity to the first. Ronald Reagan
  • A politician don’t steal elections, he pays for ’em. Ken Alstad
  • Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first. Ronald Reagan
  • There are two things that are important in politics. The first is money … and I can’t remember what the other one is. Paul Wilson
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Politics concerns itself largely with irrelevancies

  • Politics: The art of postponing decisions until they are no longer relevant.  Henri Queuille
  • Politics is made up largely of irrelevancies. Dalton Camp
  • What politician ever thinks beyond 4 or 5 years? But such thinking is hopelessly inadequate for the big questions that involve the fabric of the world we live in. Simon Barnes
  • Political campaigns are designedly made into emotional orgies which endeavor to distract attention from the real issues involved, and they actually paralyze what slight powers of cerebration man can normally muster. James Harvey Robinson, 1937
  • A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues. Theodore Roosevelt
  • Politics is applesauce. Will Rogers
  • A typical vice of American politics — the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues, and the announcement of radical policies with much sound and fury, and at the same time with a cautious accompaniment of weasel phrases each of which sucks the meat out of the preceding statement. Theodore Roosevelt
  • “Consensus: “The process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner: ‘I stand for consensus? Margaret Thatcher
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Politics has lost all true semblance of democracy

  • Presidential nominations and elections are more democratic than monarchical rule or the procedures of totalitarian states, but they are far from some reasonable expectation of democracy. The two major parties have a monopoly of presidential power, taking turns in the White House. The candidates of minority parties don’t have a chance. They do not have access to the financial backing of the major parties, and there is not the semblance of equal attention in the mass media; it is only the two major candidates who have free access to prime time on national television. Howard Zinn
  • Democracy
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Politics no longer deals in possibilities, only probabilities

  • Politics has always been the art of the possible. Today it’s too often the art of the probable — tinkering around the edges without any greater vision, without a sense of optimism and imagination. John Kerry
  • Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable. John Kenneth Galbraith
  • Politics is the art of the possible. Otto Von Bismarck
  • Possibility
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Politics brings out the worst in human nature

  • Politics is the soil in which the nettle of poisonous enmity, evil suspicions, shameless lies, slander, morbid ambitions, and disrespect for the individual grows rapidly and luxuriantly. Name anything bad in man and it is precisely in the soil of political struggle that it grows with particular liveliness and abundance. Maxim Gorky
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Politics is fear mongering

  • The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. H. L. Mencken
  • Fear
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Politics is fiscally irresponsible

  • Being lectured by the president on fiscal responsibility is a little bit like Tony Soprano talking to me about law and order in this country. John Kerry
  • Social economy means spending a penny to save a pound. Political economy is spending a pound to save a penny. Tomline
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Politics has become a popularity contest …

  • Politics is not just about policy and facts, it’s also about style and appeal. Et Eedit
  • Take our politicians: they’re a bunch of yo-yos. The presidency is now a cross between a popularity contest and a high school debate, with an encyclopedia of clichés the first prize. Saul Bellow
  • The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal — that you can gather votes like box tops — is… the ultimate indignity to the democratic process. Adlai Stevenson
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… a kind of show business

  • Good thing we’ve still got politics in Texas — finest form of free entertainment ever invented. Molly Ivins
  • Politics … was at least half a question of proper stage management. And the higher the stakes, the more critical that management became. David Weber
  • Politics is just show business for ugly people. Jay Leno
  • Politics is the best show in America. I love animals and I love politicians and I love to watch both of ’em play either back home in their native state or after they have been captured and sent to the zoo or to Washington. Will Rogers
  • There is a thin line between politics and theatricals. Julian Bond
  • When all three branches of government treat politics like a game or a reality show, they shouldn’t be surprised when voters do as well. Adam Button
  • A national political campaign is better than the best circus ever heard of, with a mass baptism and a couple of hangings thrown in. L. Mencken
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More gripes about politics

  • The awareness that we are all human beings together has become lost in war and through politics. Albert Schweitzer
  • The more you read and observe about this Politics thing, you got to admit that each party is worse than the other. The one that’s out always looks the best. Will Rogers (1879 – 1935)
  • Madness is rare in individuals – but in groups, political parties, nations, and eras it’s the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche
  • There are far too many men in politics and not enough elsewhere. Hermione Gingold
  • When the search for truth is confused with political advocacy, the pursuit of knowledge is reduced to the quest for power. Alston Chase
  • Politics is the complete identification with mental positions.  Eckhart Tolle
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Politics and the herd

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Politics is the art of saying what everyone else is thinking …

  • All that I grasped was that to repeat what everybody else was thinking was, in politics, the mark not of an inferior but of a superior mind. Marcel Proust
  • The most successful politician is he who says what the people are thinking most often in the loudest voice. Theodore Roosevelt
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… the art of tapping into and riding public opinion …

  • Public opinion is the pennant on a nation’s mast which shows the politician and the editor how to trim the sails. Austin O’Malley
  • Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. He who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or decisions possible or impossible to execute. Abraham Lincoln
  • Public opinion, I am sorry to say, will bear a great deal of nonsense. There is scarcely any absurdity so gross, whether in religion, politics, science or manners, which it will not bear. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • That mysterious independent variable of political calculation, Public Opinion. Thomas Huxley
  • Politics is concerned with herds rather than with individuals, and the passions which are important in politics are, therefore, those in which the various members of a given herd can feel alike. Bertrand Russell
  • Politics begin where the masses are, not where there are thousands, but where there are millions, that is where serious politics begin. Vladimir Lenin
  • Its name is Public Opinion. It is held in reverence. It settles everything. Some think it is the voice of God. Mark Twain
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… public opinion which can often be irrational, uninformed and misguided

  • Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. H. L. Mencken
  • The majority is never right. Never, I tell you! That’s one of these lies in society that no free and intelligent man can help rebelling against. Who are the people that make up the biggest proportion of the population — the intelligent ones or the fools? Henrik Ibsen
  • Truth is not determined by majority vote. Doug Gwyn
  • Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. Mark Twain
  • Public opinion, I am sorry to say, will bear a great deal of nonsense. There is scarcely any absurdity so gross, whether in religion, politics, science or manners, which it will not bear. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Since the majority is always wrong, might we try one election day where all the losers take office? Robert Brault
  • The whole art of politics consists in directing rationally the irrationalities of men. Reinhold Niebuhr
  • What a wonderful magic politics is … it can recognize the truth and still override it, providing you can get a consensus among the people who matter. J. Parker
  • The opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists; indeed the passion is the measure of the holders lack of rational conviction. Opinions in politics and religion are almost always held passionately. Bertrand Russell
  • Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half. Gore Vidal
  • I have never voted in my life… I have always known and understood that the idiots are in a majority so it’s certain they will win. Louis-Ferdinand Céline
  • As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. L. Mencken
  • Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby. L. Mencken
  • You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic. Robert A. Heinlein
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Divisive politics

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Politics can be divisive and polarising …

  • Congress should not be like the Super Bowl where you have to have one team that’s going to win and another team that’s going to be a loser. John Breaux
  • Politics — I don’t know why, but they seem to have a tendency to separate us, to keep us from one another, while nature is always and ever making efforts to bring us together. Sean O’Casey
  • People talk about this being the most polarized time politically. I’ve read enough history to know what the Federalists said about the Republicans and the Republicans said about the Federalists during the founding of this country. Things are pretty tame compared with that. We haven’t seen one senator take a cane to another on Capitol Hill. Sure, there are divisions–heartfelt divisions. But I’d much rather see them on the airwaves or over the internet than in the streets. Chris Wallace
  • All political movements are like this — we are in the right, everyone else is in the wrong. The people on our own side who disagree with us are heretics, and they start becoming enemies. With it comes an absolute conviction of your own moral superiority. There’s oversimplification in everything, and a terror of flexibility. Doris Lessing
  • In politics the middle way is none at all. John Adams
  • If we choose only to expose ourselves to opinions and viewpoints that are in line to our own, we become more polarized, more set in our own ways. It will only reinforce and deepen the political divides in our country. But if we choose to actively seek out information that challenges our assumptions and beliefs, perhaps we can begin to understand where the people who disagree with us are coming from. Barack Obama
  • I mean, you know, this idea that somebody we disagree with on economic or social policy or something we have to turn into some kind of ogre or demon, I think, is a mistake. I mean, it’s like telling the American people or half the American people that don’t agree with you they’re all fools. That’s just not true. Bill Clinton
  • For too long we’ve been told about “us” and “them.” Each and every election we see a new slate of arguments and ads telling us that “they” are the problem, not “us.” But there can be no “them” in America. There’s only us. Bill Clinton
  • If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Ray Bradbury
  • Maybe the critics are right. Maybe there’s no escaping our great political divide, an endless clash of armies, and any attempts to alter the rules of engagement are futile. Or maybe the trivialization of politics has reached a point of no return, so that most people see it as just one more diversion, a sport, with politicians our paunch-bellied gladiators and those who bother to pay attention just fans on the sidelines: We paint our faces red or blue and cheer our side and boo their side, and if it takes a late hit or cheap shot to beat the other team, so be it, for winning is all that matters. But I don’t think so. Barack Obama
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… full of mudslinging, infighting and gridlock …

  • Mudslinging – In politics, anything bad the opponent says about our candidate; in contrast, when our candidate does this, it is called ‘making a good point.’ Richard E. Turner
  • It’s our tendency to approach every problem as if it were a fight between two sides. We see it in headlines that are always using metaphors for war. It’s a general atmosphere of animosity and contention that has taken over our public discourse. Deborah Tannen
  • We’ve come to be consumed by a 24-hour, slash-and-burn, negative ad, bickering, small-minded politics that doesn’t move us forward. Sometimes one side is up and the other side is down. But there’s no sense that they are coming together in a common-sense, practical, nonideological way to solve the problems that we face. Barack Obama
  • Most people assume the fights are going to be the left versus the right, but it always is the reasonable versus the jerks. Jimmy Wales
  • Before you can begin to think about politics at all, you have to abandon the notion that there is a war between good men and bad men. Walter Lippmann
  • Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule — and both commonly succeed and are right. L. Mencken
  • George Washington is the only president who didn’t blame the previous administration for his troubles.
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… full of anger and even organised hatred

  • Politics is organized hatred, that is unity. John Jay Chapman
  • Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, had always been the systematic organization of hatreds. Henry Adams
  • Poetry is about the grief. Politics is about the grievance. Robert Frost
  • AngerHate
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Politics as a force for good

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Politics is a pervasive and inevitable part of human society

  • Everything is politics. Thomas Mann
  • Man is by nature a political animal. Aristotle
  • The human being is in the most literal sense a political animal, not merely a gregarious animal, but an animal which can individuate itself only in the midst of society. Karl Marx
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A world without conflict and politics is a utopian dream

  • A persistent theme in western thought has been the dream of a world without politics and without conflict. Is it possible to realize such a society, or is the political an irreplaceable aspect of what it is to be human? Many of the utopias which have infested the western imagination are indeed unpolitical places; all the tasks which were previously performed by politics are programmed by an invisible hand or by a supreme intelligence and require no further attention. But many of these utopias were envisioned as an outcome of politics, after which politics could be dispensed with. Andrew Gamble
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Politics has an essential role to play and can be a force for good

  • All of us are neck deep in politics everyday of our lives. Every organization on earth that involves human beings has its politics. Politics does not have to be a bad thing. Actually politics can be a good thing when we bring people to the table to sit down, work together, compromise and get things done for the common good. Bill Gindlesperger
  • Politics is at the heart of a representative republic. It is to democracy what the experimental method is to physics, what melody is to music, what the imagination is to poetry. Thomas E. Cronin
  • Politics is the art of the possible. Otto Von Bismarck (1815 – 1898)
  • Politics is the art of trying to bring about the possible, the doable and achieving the most sensible elements of our mutually shared aspirations. It is in this sense that politics is much more than a necessary evil; it also can be a liberating activity and a necessary good. Thomas E. Cronin
  • Sure, in our system of elections, politicians need to be ambitious and calculating — calculating how they might win but, more important, how they can advance the public good. They have to have great courage to get up on the public stage and try to get our attention. Of course, some of what they do in a campaign is acting, posturing or showmanship. Politics is always an admixture of personal striving and deliberation over substantive policy differences. Thomas E. Cronin
  • Politics is a profession; a serious, complicated and, in its true sense, a noble one. Dwight D. Eisenhower
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True politics

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True politics is about service …

  • Genuine politics — every politics worthy of the name — the only politics I am willing to devote myself to — is simply a matter of serving those around us: serving the community and serving those who will come after us. Its deepest roots are moral because it is a responsibility expressed through action, to and for the whole. Vaclav Havel
  • When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property. Thomas Jefferson
  • Service
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… a complete dedication to the people

  • My creed is that public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be a complete dedication to the people and to the nation with full recognition that every human being is entitled to courtesy and consideration, that constructive criticism is not only to be expected but sought, that smears are not only to be expected but fought, that honor is to be earned, not bought. Margaret Chase Smith
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True politics is about making lives better

  • If you do politics the right way, I believe, you can actually make people’s lives better. And integrity is the minimum ante to get into the game. Joe Biden
  • The goal in the end is not to win elections. The goal is to change society. Paul Krugman
  • Making a difference
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True politics is about truth and openness

  • In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. George Orwell
  • In politics, strangely enough, the best way to play your cards is to lay them face upwards on the table. G. Wells
  • Success in politics demands that you must take your people into confidence about your views and state them very clearly, very politely, very calmly, but nevertheless, state them openly. Nelson Mandela
  • TruthOpenness
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True politics is about optimism and hope

  • In the end, that’s what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope? Barack Obama
  • OptimismHope
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True politics is about humility

  • It is always important in matters of high politics to know what you do not know. Those who think they know, but are mistaken, and act upon their mistakes, are the most dangerous people to have in charge. Margaret Thatcher
  • Humility
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True politics is about wisdom

  • Mankind will never see an end of trouble until… lovers of wisdom come to hold political power, or the holders of power… become lovers of wisdom. Plato
  • Wisdom
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True politics is about ideas and clear thinking

  • Most people in politics draw energy from backslapping and shaking hands and all that. I draw energy from discussing ideas. Al Gore
  • 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
  • IdeasClarity
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True politics is about courage and conviction …

  • Abraham Lincoln did not go to Gettysburg having commissioned a poll to find out what would sell in Gettysburg. There were no people with percentages for him, cautioning him about this group or that group or what they found in exit polls a year earlier. When will we have the courage of Lincoln? Robert Coles
  • True politics is about co-operation and connection
  • Politics is about how many friends, not enemies, you can make. Bill Gindlesperger
  • CourageSelf-belief
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… including the courage to change one’s position

  • Too many of us get too pious when candidates change their positions. We charge them with flip-flopping and accuse them of being merely like a weathervane. Candidates sometimes change their minds because circumstances have changed. Sometimes, too, they change because they have learned new facts or understand new realities. Sure, they sometimes change because of calculating political expediency. But it is only the stubborn, rigid, overly self-confident and politically deaf leader who is unwilling to compromise and change course where this is sensible. Thomas E. Cronin
  • CourageOpen-mindedness
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True politics is solution oriented

  • Science is the search for truth — it is not a game in which one tries to beat his opponent, to do harm to others. We need to have the spirit of science in international affairs, to make the conduct of international affairs the effort to find the right solution, the just solution of international problems, not the effort by each nation to get the better of other nations, to do harm to them when it is possible. Linus Pauling
  • Problem solving
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True politics is about living up to promises

  • To serve as prime minister while being too mindful of the approval rating is like serving as a prime minister on a roller coaster. What is important, I believe, is that I really act on promises that I make and leave results. Shinzo Abe
  • The acid test of politics is not what you say at the hustings, but what you actually do in government. Margaret Thatcher
  • IntegrityTrust
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True politics is about compromise and respect

  • Some folks do not understand that the root of politics is compromise and that happens best in an atmosphere of mutual respect. They believe politics is a dirty business. They throw mud, do not act ethically, out and out lie, bully and threaten others with whom they do not agree. I would argue that this is not politics but ignorance. Bill Gindlesperger
  • What good would politics be, if it didn’t give everyone the opportunity to make moral compromises. Thomas Mann
  • CompromiseRespect
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True politics is about challenging the status quo

  • The hope of a new politics does not lie in formulating a left-wing reply to the right — it lies in rejecting conventional political categories. Christopher Lasch
  • Well, it’s always, though, safer in politics to avoid risk. To just kind of go along with the status quo. But I didn’t get into government to do the safe and easy things. A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not why the ship is built. Politics isn’t just a game of competing interests and clashing parties. The people of America expect us to seek public office and to serve for the right reasons. And the right reason is to challenge the status quo and to serve the common good. Sarah Palin
  • America was not built by conformists, but by mutineers. Jim Hightower
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True politics is about taking a stand for what you believe

  • When you take a stand out of deep conviction, people know. They may not even agree, but they ask, “Do I want someone who is willing to take a hard stand and someone I can trust to do that when the chips are down?” They want that. Barbara Boxer
  • Belief
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True politics is ethical and moral

  • Dangerous consequences will follow when politicians and rulers forget moral principles. Whether we believe in God or karma, ethics is the foundation of every religion. The Dalai Lama
  • Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong. Daniel O’Connell
  • Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. George Washington
  • Moral imagination is the capacity to empathize with others, i.e., not just to feel for oneself, but to feel with and for others. This is something that education ought to cultivate and that citizens ought to bring to politics. McCollough
  • Morality and ethics
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True politics is firmly rooted in principles …

  • The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous. Frederick Douglass
  • Some men change their party for the sake of their principles; others their principles for the sake of their party. Winston Churchill
  • If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake. Thomas Jefferson
  • Ideals are great arrows, but there has to be a bow. And politics is the bow of idealism. Bill Moyers
  • PrinciplesValues
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… while being free of excessive ideology

  • Ideology: A system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy. Oxford Dictionary
  • All ideologies are idiotic, whether religious or political, for it is conceptual thinking, the conceptual word, which has so unfortunately divided man. Jiddu Krishnamurti
  • All ideologies end up killing people. If you separate love from nonviolence you turn nonviolence into an ideology, a gimmick. Structures that are not inhabited by justice and love have no liberating or reconciling force, and are never sources of life. Jean Goss
  • Attachment to beliefs and ideologies have led to global war, famine, political, social and economic upheavals, destruction of our habitat and general dysfunction on all levels of society because they divide us from each other. Clair
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True politics is about standing up for and doing what is right

  • The only motive that can keep politics pure is the motive of doing good for one’s country and its people. Henry Ford
  • The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character. Margaret Chase Smith
  • There are times in politics when you must be on the right side and lose. John Kenneth Galbraith
  • If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power. Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress. Barack Obama
  • Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” Vanity asks the question, “Is it popular?” But, conscience asks the question, “Is it right?” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right. Martin Luther King
  • Right action
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True politics is about more than just the short term

  • America would be a better place if leaders would do more long-term thinking. Wilma Mankiller
  • A politician looks forward only to the next election. A statesman looks forward to the next generation. Thomas Jefferson
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True politics is about understanding people

  • Knowledge of human nature is the beginning and end of political education. Henry Adams
  • Understanding
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True politics is about peace and moderation

  • The surest way for those who want to rule is praising moderation, talking of peace and quiet. Seneca
  • You who are journalists, writers, citizens, you have the right and duty to say to those you have elected that they must practice mindfulness, calm and deep listening, and loving speech. This is universal thing, taught by all religions. Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Extremes to the right and to the left of any political dispute are always wrong. Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Inner peaceModeration
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True politics is about focus

  • Concentration is the secret of strength in politics, in war, in trade, in short, in all management of human affairs. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Focus
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True politics is about positive purpose

  • Here we are the way politics ought to be in America; the politics of happiness, the politics of purpose and the politics of joy. Hubert H. Humphrey
  • Purpose
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True politics is gender equal

  • I think it’s about time we voted for senators with breasts. After all, we’ve been voting for boobs long enough. Claire Sargent
  • In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man; if you want anything done, ask a woman. Margaret Thatcher
  • Women need to see ourselves as individuals capable of creating change. That is what political and economic power is all about: having a voice, being able to shape the future. Women’s absence from decision-making positions has deprived the country of a necessary perspective. Madeleine Kunin
  • Equality
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True politics is about fairness and justice

  • Justice is never given; it is exacted and the struggle must be continuous for freedom is never a final fact, but a continuing evolving process to higher and higher levels of human, social, economic, political and religious relationship. Philip Randolph
  • Justice without force is powerless; force without justice is tyrannical. Blaise Pascal
  • The sad duty of politics is to establish justice in a sinful world. Jimmy Carter
  • Freedom and justice cannot be parcelled out in pieces to suit political convenience. I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others. Coretta Scott King
  • FairnessJustice
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True politics has a heart

  • Politics is largely a matter of heart. R. A. Butler
  • In the midst of global crises such as pollution, wars and famine, kindness may be too easily dismissed as a ‘soft’ issue, or a luxury to be addressed after the urgent problems are solved. But kindness is the greatest need in all those areas — kindness toward the environment, toward other nations, toward the needs of people who are suffering. Until we reflect basic kindness in everything we do, our political gestures will be fleeting and fragile. Bo Lozoff
  • Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism. Hubert H. Humphrey
  • Simple kindness may be the most vital key to the riddle of how human beings can live with each other in peace, and care properly for this planet we all share. Bo Lozoff
  • Empathy is the only human superpower-it can shrink distance, cut through social and power hierarchies, transcend differences, and provoke political and social change. Elizabeth Thomas
  • The heart
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Politics is a tough business

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Politics is a ruthless game; not for the faint of heart …

  • In politics you must always keep running with the pack. The moment that you falter and they sense that you are injured, the rest will turn on you like wolves. R. A. Butler
  • Politics has never been for the thin-skinned or the faint of heart, and if you enter the arena, you should expect to get roughed up. Moreover, Democracy in a nation of more than 300 million people is inherently difficult. Barack Obama
  • People really don’t care if politicians attack each other with untrue stories. They figure if you don’t want to get hurt, you shouldn’t have filed for office. They figure whatever happens to us, our lives will be better than theirs. Bill Clinton
  • Why pay money to have your family tree traced; go into politics and your opponents will do it for you.
  • Everybody knows politics is a contact sport. Barack Obama
  • 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. J. O’Rourke
  • I’ve always said that in politics, your enemies can’t hurt you, but your friends will kill you. Ann Richards
  • The art of politics consists in knowing precisely when it is necessary to hit an opponent slightly below the belt. Konrad Adenauer
  • The only people who say worse things about politicians than reporters do are other politicians. Andy Rooney
  • Courage
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… that can even be described as a kind of war

  • Politics are almost as exciting as war, and — quite as dangerous … In war, you can only be killed once. But in politics many times. Winston Churchill
  • Politics is war without bloodshed, while war is politics with bloodshed. Mao Zedong
  • In politics, merit is rewarded by the possessor being raised, like a target, to a position to be fired at. Christian Nestell Bovee
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The role of the public in ensuring a healthy political system

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Democracy is not perfect but is better than its alternatives

  • Before we get too depressed about the state of our politics, let’s remember our history. The great debates of the past, all stirred great passions. They all made somebody angry, and at least once led to a terrible war. What is amazing, is that despite all the conflict, our experiment in democracy has worked better than any form of government on earth. Barack Obama
  • Democracy is also a form of worship. It is the worship of Jackals by Jackasses. L. Mencken
  • Democracy is being allowed to vote for the candidate you dislike least. Robert Byrne
  • Democracy means that anyone can grow up to be president, and anyone who doesn’t grow up can be vice president. Johnny Carson
  • Democracy: Where any two idiots outvote a genius.
  • The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion. Molly Ivins
  • Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. H. L. Mencken
  • Democracy is not something that happens, you know, just at election time, and it’s not something that happens just with one event. It’s an ongoing building process. But it also ought to be a part of our culture, a part of our lives. Jim Hightower
  • Democracy
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Democracy has its enemies …

  • The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism: ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power. Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the party that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections. Lord Acton
  • The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it. Edward Dowling
  • We’ve become, now, an oligarchy instead of a democracy. I think that’s been the worst damage to the basic moral and ethical standards to the American political system that I’ve ever seen in my life. Jimmy Carter
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… and the greatest enemy of all is public apathy

  • The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment. Robert M. Hutchins
  • All politics are based on the indifference of the majority. James Reston
  • American youth attributes much more importance to arriving at driver’s-license age than at voting age. Marshall McLuhan
  • Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for president. One hopes it is the same half. Gore Vidal
  • The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. Plato
  • There was an apathy beneath the empty passion-play of politics. The center had frayed like a rag rug that had been washed and walked on and shaken and hung and dried. Stephen King
  • Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. Paulo Freire
  • You can’t ignore politics, no matter how much you’d like to. Molly Ivins
  • Apathy and indifference
.

The public has an essential role to play in bringing health to politics

  • The most important political office is that of private citizen. Louis Brandeis
  • The citizen can bring our political and governmental institutions back to life, make them responsive and accountable, and keep them honest. No one else can. John Gardner
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At the very least, take the trouble to vote

  • Voting is one of the few things where boycotting in protest clearly makes the problem worse rather than better. Jane Elizabeth Auer
  • If you are bored and disgusted by politics and don’t bother to vote, you are in effect voting for the entrenched Establishments of the two major parties, who please rest assured are not dumb, and who are keenly aware that it is in their interests to keep you disgusted and bored and cynical and to give you every possible reason to stay at home doing one-hitters and watching MTV on primary day. By all means stay home if you want, but don’t bullshit yourself that you’re not voting. In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote. David Foster Wallace
  • People who don’t vote have no line of credit with people who are elected and thus pose no threat to those who act against our interests. Marian Wright Edelman
  • We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate. Thomas Jefferson
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Take an interest in politics and get involved

  • I always believe that ultimately, if people are paying attention, then we get good government and good leadership. And when we get lazy, as a democracy and civically start taking shortcuts, then it results in bad government and politics. Barack Obama
  • It shouldn’t be a bragging point that “Oh, I don’t get involved in politics,” as if that makes you somehow cleaner. No, that makes you derelict of duty in a republic. Liars and panderers in government would have a much harder time of it if so many people didn’t insist on their right to remain ignorant and blindly agreeable. BILL MAHER
  • Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works. Carl Sagan
  • Politics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage. Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • You don’t have to wait till your party’s in power to have an impact on life at home and around the world. Bill Clinton
  • You can’t ignore politics, no matter how much you’d like to. Molly Ivins
  • Political questions are far too serious to be left to the politicians. Hannah Arendt
  • You have to do something political every single day. Politics at its core is really about organizing people to do something for a cause that is bigger than themselves. Howard Dean
  • Government is too big and too important to be left to the politicians. Chester Bowles
  • The worst illiterate is the political illiterate, he doesn’t hear, doesn’t speak, nor participates in the political events. He doesn’t know the cost of life, the price of the bean, of the fish, of the flour, of the rent, of the shoes and of the medicine, all depends on political decisions. The political illiterate is so stupid that he is proud and swells his chest saying that he hates politics. The imbecile doesn’t know that, from his political ignorance is born the prostitute, the abandoned child, and the worst thieves of all, the bad politician, corrupted and flunky of the national and multinational companies. Bertolt Brecht
  • Freedom isn’t free. It shouldn’t be a bragging point that “Oh, I don’t get involved in politics,” as if that makes you somehow cleaner. No, that makes you derelict of duty in a republic. Liars and panderers in government would have a much harder time of it if so many people didn’t insist on their right to remain ignorant and blindly agreeable. Bill Maher
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Develop an understanding of politics and how it operates

  • We must understand the politics of our community and we must know what politics is supposed to produce. We must know what part politics play in our lives. And until we become politically mature we will always be mislead, lead astray, or deceived or maneuvered into supporting someone politically who doesn’t have the good of our community at heart. Malcolm X
  • People always have been the foolish victims of deception and self-deception in politics, and they always will be until they have learnt to seek out the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases, declarations and promises. Vladimir Lenin
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Have political views and convictions …

  • It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs. Albert Einstein
  • Not to have a correct political point of view is like having no soul. Mao Zedong
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… but also be open to political views on all sides …

  • We, the most powerful democracy in the world, have developed a strong norm against talking about politics. It’s fine to talk about politics with people you agree with. But it is rude to argue about politics with people you disagree with. Political discourse becomes isolated, and isolated discourse becomes more extreme. We say what our friends want to hear, and hear very little beyond what our friends say. Lawrence Lessig
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… and question your political view on a regular basis

  • When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow. Anaïs Nin
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Recognise that democracy thrives on differences of opinion

  • Wide differences of opinion in matters of religious, political, and social belief must exist if conscience and intellect alike are not to be stunted, if there is to be room for healthy growth. Theodore Roosevelt
  • America does not need two Republican parties. John Kerry
  • An election cannot give a country a firm sense of direction if it has two or more national parties which merely have different names but are as alike in their principles and aims as two peas in the same pod. Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Some people say we need a third party. I wish we had a second one. Jim Hightower
  • OpinionDiversity
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Think for yourself instead of swallowing the creeds of others

  • The first duty of a man is to think for himself. José Martí
  • I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to Heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all. Thomas Jefferson
  • In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second- hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing. Mark Twain
  • When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. Anaïs Nin
  • Conformity
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Beware of excessive idealism

  • Idealism is the noble toga that political gentlemen drape over their will to power. Aldous Huxley
  • The enemy is not religion; the enemy is anger, hostility, intolerance, separatism, extreme idealism, and prejudicial fear—be it secular, religious, or political. Andrew Newberg
  • In the hands of politicians’ grand designs achieve nothing but new forms of the old misery. John le Carré
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Put sustained pressure on politicians to do what you feel is right …

  • I was raised to speak out about politics and the world around me. I would do it whether I was in the public or not. It is the way I was taught. The American way. Judy Collins
  • If you go to one demonstration and then go home, that’s something, but the people in power can live with that. What they can’t live with is sustained pressure that keeps building, organisations that keep doing things, people that keep learning lessons from the last time and doing it better the next time. Noam Chomsky
  • States are not moral agents, people are, and can impose moral standards on powerful institutions. Noam Chomsky
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… recognising public dissent can bring great power for change

  • Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Howard Zinn
  • What matters most is not who is sitting in the White House, but ‘who is sitting in’ — and who is marching outside the White House, pushing for change. Howard Zinn
  • What we need is a rebirth of satire, of dissent, of irreverence, of an uncompromising insistence that phoniness is phony, and platitudes are platitudinous. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
  • At every turn when there has been an imbalance of power, the truth questioned, or our beliefs and values distorted, the change required to restore our nation has always come from the bottom up from our people. Howard Dean
  • Liberty is the possibility of doubting, of making a mistake,… of searching and experimenting,… of saying No to any authority – literary, artistic, philosophical, religious, social, and even political. Ignazio Silone
  • In really hard times the rules of the game are altered. The inchoate mass begins to stir. It becomes potent, and when it strikes, . . . it strikes with incredible emphasis. Those are the rare occasions when a national will emerges from the scattered, specialized, or indifferent blocs of voters who ordinarily elect the politicians. Those are for good or evil the great occasions in a nation’s history. Walter Lippmann
  • It may well be that our means are fairly limited and our possibilities restricted when it comes to applying pressure on our government. But is this a reason to do nothing? Despair is nor an answer. Neither is resignation. Resignation only leads to indifference, which is not merely a sin but a punishment. Elie Wiesel
  • A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves. Edward R. Murrow
  • ChangeTransformation
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Do not trust politicians blindly

  • There is one safeguard known generally to the wise, which is an advantage and security to all, but especially to democracies as against despots. What is it? Distrust. Demosthenes
  • There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty. John Adams
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Most of all, don’t wait for politicians or leaders to make a difference

  • Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person. Mother Teresa
  • The most important political office is that of private citizen. Louis Brandeis
  • Never rely on governments or institutions to solve any problem. All social change comes from the passion of individuals. Margaret Mead
  • Government is too big and too important to be left to the politicians. Chester Bowles
  • I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians. Charles De Gaulle
  • The answer to helplessness is not so very complicated. A person can do something for peace without having to jump into politics.  Each person has inside a basic decency and goodness.  If we listen to it and act on it, we are giving a great deal of what the world needs most.   Pablo Casals
  • Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. John F. Kennedy
  • Making a difference
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The media also has an important role to play in a healthy democracy

  • A flourishing, morally credible media is a vital component in the maintenance of genuinely public talk, argument about common good. Rowan D. Williams
  • For a politician to complain about the press is like a ship’s captain complaining about the sea. Enoch Powell
  • If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read “President Can’t Swim”. Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Once upon a time there was a politician who made an especially conspicuous ass of himself and didn’t say the newspapers misquoted him. Robert Elliott Gonzales
  • Politicians who complain about the media are like ships’ captains who complain about the sea. Enoch Powell
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Religion and politics

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Many argue that religion and politics do not mix …

  • Although he’s regularly asked to do so, God does not take sides in American politics. George J. Mitchell
  • Among politicians the esteem of religion is profitable; the principles of it are troublesome. Benjamin Whichcote
  • Almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so. Robert A. Heinlein
  • I say that politics is the most important of the civil activities and has its own field of action, which is not that of religion. Political institutions are secular by definition and operate in independent spheres. All my predecessors have said the same thing, for many years at least, albeit with different accents. I believe that Catholics involved in politics carry the values of their religion within them, but have the mature awareness and expertise to implement them. The Church will never go beyond its task of expressing and disseminating its values, at least as long as I’m here. Pope Francis
  • The introduction of religious passion into politics is the end of honest politics, and the introduction of politics into religion is the prostitution of true religion. Lord Hailsham
  • The United States should have a foundation free from the influence of clergy. George Washington
  • I have a problem with people who take the Constitution loosely and the Bible literally. Bill Maher
  • Religion
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… although some say, in practice, it’s very hard to separate them

  • Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is. Mahatma Gandhi
  • I claim that human mind or human society is not divided into watertight compartments called social, political and religious. All act and react upon one another. Mohandas K. Gandhi
  • In the founding era of our country, it was not organized religion but personal faith that brought focus and unified the early leadership–maybe an unspoken faith in God, and certain values that came with that faith. So in that sense, we cannot discount, in my judgment, religious faith in politics. Billy Graham
  • Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. George Washington
  • Religious ideas, supposedly private matters between man and god, are in practice always political ideas. Christopher Hitchens
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The art of politics

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Politics is the art of persuasion

  • Persuade the persuadable. Everyone can be persuaded, given the right timing and context, but not necessarily in the short term. Political campaigns focus their time and money on a small set of swing voters who decide elections. The first step of persuasion is always to identify those people that at a given time are persuadable to your point of view and focus your energy and attention on them.  Jason Nazar
  • Persuasion
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Politics is the art of creating unity

  • The political machine triumphs because it is a united minority acting against a divided majority. Will Durant
  • In politics, an organized minority is a political majority. Jesse Jackson
  • Unity
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Politics is the art of prediction

  • A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen. Winston S. Churchill
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Politics is the art of the possible

  • Politics is the art of the possible. Otto Von Bismarck
  • Possibility
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Conservatives and liberals

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Conservatives

  • A conservative is a man who believes that nothing should be done for the first time. Alfred E. Wiggam
  • A conservative is a man who just sits and thinks, mostly sits. Woodrow Wilson
  • A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt,
  • A conservative is one who admires radicals centuries after they’re dead. Leo Rosten
  • Conservative, n: A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal who wishes to replace them with others. Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary
  • Conservatives cannot govern well for the same reason that vegetarians cannot prepare a world class boeuf bourguignon: if you believe that what you are called upon to do is wrong, you are unlikely to do it well. Michael Wolfe
  • Conservatives define themselves in terms of what they oppose. George Will
  • The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. John Kenneth Galbraith
  • The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them. Mark Twain
  • Their very conservatism is second-hand, and they don’t know what they are conserving. Robertson Davies
  • Thinking about profound social change, conservatives always expect disaster, while revolutionaries confidentially expect utopia. Both are wrong. Carolyn Heilbrun
  • What is conservatism? Is it not the adherence to the old and tried against the new and untried? Abraham Lincoln
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Liberals

  • A liberal is a man or a woman or a child who looks forward to a better day, a more tranquil night, and a bright, infinite future. Leonard Bernstein,
  • If God had been a Liberal there wouldn’t have been Ten Commandments, there would have been Ten Suggestions. Malcolm Bradbury
  • Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. William E. Gladstone
  • Liberalism is, I think, resurgent. One reason is that more and more people are so painfully aware of the alternative. John Kenneth Galbraith
  • The difference between a liberal and a conservative is that one considers truth an inconvenience while the other opposes it on principle. Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
  • There are three classes of men; the retrograde, the stationary and the progressive. Johann Kaspar Lavater
  • It’s easier to be a liberal a long way from home. Price’s Law of Politics
  • I believe in a relatively equal society, supported by institutions that limit extremes of wealth and poverty. I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. Paul Krugman
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Final thoughts

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Politicians versus statesmen

  • A politician looks forward only to the next election. A statesman looks forward to the next generation. Thomas Jefferson
  • One may perhaps be led to suppose that it is virtue that is the end of the statesman’s life. Yet even virtue itself would seem to fall short of being an absolute end. ARISTOTLE
  • Statesman: A politician who is held upright by equal pressure from all directions.
  • Statesman: An ex-politician who has mastered the art of holding his tongue.
  • The course of a great statesman resembles that of navigable rivers, avoiding immovable obstacles with noble bends of concession, seeking the broad levels of opinion on which men soonest settle and longest dwell, following and marking the almost imperceptible slopes of national tendency, yet always aiming at direct advances, always recruited from sources nearer heaven, and sometimes bursting open paths of progress and fruitful human commerce through what seem the eternal barriers of both. James Russell Lowell
  • The statesman shears the sheep, the politician skins them. Austin O’Malley
  • A statesman is a successful politician who is dead. Thomas Brackett Reed
  • A statesman is any politician it’s considered safe to name a school after. Bill Vaughn
  • Now I know what a statesman is; he’s a dead politician. Frank …Kin’ Hubbard
  • Statesman: A politician away from home.
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Politics and repression

  • A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude. Aldous Huxley
  • A tyrant is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader. Plato
  • Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear. Harry S Truman
  • Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. Mao Tse-Tung
  • Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. S. Lewis
  • The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them. Karl Marx
  • I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. James Madison
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Politics and war

  • Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country. Hermann Goering
  • I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain. John Adams
  • When people don’t understand that the government doesn’t have their interests in mind, they’re more susceptible to go to war. Howard Zinn
  • A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country. Mary Louise Cecilia
  • Patriotism: The willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons dreamed up by politicians.
  • Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron. Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • It is not enough to win a war; it is more important to organize the peace. Aristotle
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Politics and art

  • All art is political in the sense that it serves someone’s politics. August Wilson
  • Art should have political, spiritual, and surprising elements. It should try to find new language of communicating in order to give awareness to the public. Marina Abramovic
  • Artists know that diligence counts as much, if not more, as inspiration; in art, as in politics, patience counts as much as revolution. Tony Kushner
  • Art
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Republicans and democrats

  • Democrats think the glass is half full. Republicans think the glass is theirs.
  • He’s not a Republican, he’s a Republican’t.
  • I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends… that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them. Adlai Stevenson
  • In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican. L. Mencken
  • Not one Republican president has balanced the budget in 34 years. You cannot trust Republicans with your money. Howard Dean
  • The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it. J. O’Rourke
  • The Democrats seem to be basically nicer people, but they have demonstrated time and again that they have the management skills of celery. They’re the kind of people who’d stop to help you change a flat but would somehow manage to set your car on fire. I would be reluctant to entrust them with a Cuisinart, let alone the economy. The Republicans, on the other hand, would know how to fix your tire, but they wouldn’t bother to stop because they’d want to be on time for Ugly Pants Night at the country club. Dave Barry
  • I want to make one thing clear: I’m pro-choice, I’m pro-affirmative action, I’m pro- environment, pro-health care, and pro-labor. And if that ain’t a Democrat, then I must be at the wrong meeting. Wesley Clark
  • If the person you are trying to diagnose politically is some sort of intellectual, the chances are two to one he is a Democrat. Vance Packard
  • Give a Republican a fish and he’ll think he learned how to fish. Teach him to fish and he’ll call you socialist.
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On a lighter note

  • A fool and his money are soon elected. Walton’s Law of Politics
  • A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar. L. Mencken
  • A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation. Adlai E. Stevenson
  • A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country. Mary Louise Cecilia
  • A politician is a man who approaches every question with an open mouth. George Canning
  • A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground. L. Mencken
  • A politician should have three hats. One for throwing into the ring, one for talking through, and one for pulling rabbits out of if elected. Carl Sandburg
  • A politician will do anything to keep his job – even become a patriot. William Randolph Hearst
  • A promising young man should go into politics so that he can go on promising for the rest of his life. Robert Byrne
  • A statesman is a successful politician who is dead. Thomas Brackett Reed
  • A statesman is any politician it’s considered safe to name a school after. Bill Vaughn
  • Acting: A good training for political life; the only problem is the speeches are harder to learn. Ronald Reagan
  • Ain’t it funny how many hundreds of thousands of soldiers we can recruit with nerve; but we can’t find one politician in a million with backbone. Will Rogers
  • All people are born alike — except Republicans and Democrats. Groucho Marx
  • Alliance – in international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted in each other’s pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third. Ambrose Bierce
  • America is still a land of promise especially during a political campaign. Alfred E. Neuman
  • An election is coming. Universal peace is declared, and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry. George Eliot, Felix Holt
  • An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought.
  • An independent is a guy who wants to take the politics out of politics. Adlai E. Stevenson
  • Being in politics is like being a football coach; you have to be smart enough to understand the game and be dumb enough to think it’s important. Eugene McCarthy
  • Bureaucrat: A politician who has tenure.
  • Crime does not pay as well as politics. Alfred E. Neuman
  • Cult: A religion with no political power. Thomas Wolfe
  • Democracy means that anyone can grow up to be president, and anyone who doesn’t grow up can be vice president. Johnny Carson
  • Democrats think the glass is half full. Republicans think the glass is theirs.
  • Did you ever notice that when a politician does get an idea he usually gets it all wrong. Don Marquis
  • Dilemma: A politician trying to save both his faces at once.
  • Don’t vote, it only encourages them. Billy Connolly
  • Elections are when people find out what politicians stand for and politicians find out what people will fall for. Alfred E. Neuman
  • Finishing second in the Olympics gets you silver; finishing second in politics gets you oblivion. Richard M. Nixon
  • Government is too big and too important to be left to the politicians. Chester Bowles
  • He brings to the fierce struggle of politics the tepid enthusiasm of a lazy summer afternoon at a cricket match. Aneurin Bevan
  • He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything; that points clearly to a political career. George Bernard Shaw
  • Hell, I never vote for anybody, I always vote against. C. Fields
  • Honest politician: One who, when he is bought, will stay bought.   Simon Cameron
  • How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?
  • I always wanted to get into politics but I was never light enough to make the team. Art Buchwald
  • I am a politician which means I am a liar and a crook. When I am not kissing babies I am stealing their lollypops. Tom Clancy
  • I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat. Will Rogers
  • I don’t approve of political jokes…I’ve seen too many of them get elected.
  • I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians. Charles de Gaulle
  • I have learned that one of the most important rules of politics is poise – which means looking like an owl after you’ve behaved like a jackass. Ronald Reagen
  • I have never found in a long experience of politics that criticism is ever inhibited by ignorance. Harold Macmillan
  • I love a dog. He does nothing for political reasons. Will Rogers
  • I must choose my words carefully in order to avoid any negative interpretation; among politicians this is a tactic known as lying. Pat Paulsen
  • I offer my opponents a bargain: if they will stop telling lies about us, I will stop telling the truth about them. Adlai Stevenson
  • I think it will be a clash between the political will and the administrative won’t. Jonathan Lynn
  • I think it’s about time we voted for senators with breasts. After all, we’ve been voting for boobs long enough. Claire Sargent
  • I used to say that politics was the second-oldest profession. I have come to know that it bears a gross similarity to the first. Ronald Reagan
  • I was walking along Adderley Street the other day with a honest politician and kind lawyer. We saw a $100 note in the gutter. Which of us do you think picked it up? Answer: Me! The other two do not exist.
  • I won’t eat anything that has intelligent life but I’d gladly eat a network executive or a politician. Marty Feldman
  • I’m often asked why I travel around the country talking politics: Is it for humanitarian reasons community spirit or is it for the money the limousines or the girls? The answers are: no no yes yes yes!   Pat Paulsen
  • I’m often asked why I travel around the country talking politics: Is it for humanitarian reasons, community spirit, or is it for the money, the limousines or the girls? … The answers are: no, no, yes yes yes! Pat Paulsen
  • I’ve always said that in politics your enemies can’t hurt you but your friends will kill you. Ann Richards
  • If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner. L. Mencken
  • If a politician murders his mother, the first response of the press or of his opponents will likely be not that it was a terrible thing to do, but rather that in a statement made six years before he had gone on record as being opposed to matricide. Meg Greenfield
  • If God wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates. Jay Leno
  • If I have to beat you up to keep you safe, that’s just what I’ll do. It’s this kind of regard for others that makes me believe I’d be a good politician. Jarod Kintz
  • If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read “President Can’t Swim”. Lyndon B. Johnson
  • If you want to succeed in politics, you must keep your conscience well under control. David Lloyd George
  • In America you can go on the air and kid the politicians and the politicians can go on the air and kid the people. Groucho Marx
  • In Pierre Elliott Trudeau Canada has at last produced a political leader worthy of assassination. Irving Layton
  • In politics stupidity is not a handicap. Napoleon Bonaparte
  • In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man; if you want anything done, ask a woman. Margaret Thatcher
  • Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city it might be better to change the locks. Doug Larson
  • It was so cold, the politicians had their hands in their own pockets.
  • It was so cold, politicians stopped blowing hot air.
  • It’s a sad day when our politicians are comical and I have to take our comedians seriously! Protest sign
  • It’s so cold here in Washington D.C. that politicians have their hands in their own pockets. Bob Hope
  • Judge: A lawyer who once knew a politician.
  • Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president but they don’t want them to become politicians in the process. John F. Kennedy
  • My choice early in life was either to be a piano-player in a whorehouse or a politician; and to tell the truth there’s hardly any difference. Harry Truman
  • My definition of a redundancy is an air bag in a politician’s car. Larry Hagman
  • My favorite mythical creature? The honest politician.
  • Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation. Henry Kissinger
  • Nothing can so alienate a voter from the political system as backing a winning candidate. Cohen’s Law of Alienation
  • Now I know what a statesman is; he’s a dead politician. Frank …Kin’ Hubbard
  • One lesson you better learn if you want to be in politics is that you never go out on a golf course and beat the President. Lyndon Johnson
  • Patriotism: The willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons dreamed up by politicians.
  • Political speeches are like steer horns: a point here a point there and a lot of bull in between. Alfred E. Neuman
  • Political success is the ability when the inevitable occurs to get credit for it. Laurence J. Peter
  • Politician: A fellow who borrows your pot in which to cook your goose.
  • Politician: One who is willing to do anything on earth for the workers except become one.
  • Politician: One who shakes your hand before elections and your confidence after.
  • Politicians and diapers have one thing in common – they should both be changed regularly and for the same reason.
  • Politicians are always trying to convince you that they can solve the unemployment problem if you’ll just give them a job. Alfred E. Neuman
  • Politicians are people who get sworn in and cursed out! Alfred E. Neuman
  • Politicians are the same all over; they promise to build a bridge even when there’s no river. Nikita Khrushchev
  • Politicians are wedded to the truth but like many other married couples they sometimes live apart. …Saki’ H.H. Munro
  • Politicians are wonderful people as long as they stay away from things they don’t understand such as working for a living. J. O’Rourke
  • Politicians make strange bedfellows but they all share the same bunk. Edgar A. Shoaff
  • Politicians who complain about the media are like ships’ captains who complain about the sea. Enoch Powell
  • Politics: A word derived from the word “poly”, meaning ‘many’, and the word ‘ticks’, meaning ‘blood sucking parasites’.  Larry Hardiman
  • Politics: The art of postponing decisions until they are no longer relevant.  Henri Queuille
  • Politics consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable. John Kenneth Galbraith
  • Politics doesn’t make strange bedfellows, marriage does. Groucho Marx
  • Politics is developing more comedians than radio ever did. Jimmy Durante
  • Politics is just show business for ugly people.
  • Politics is not a bad profession; if you succeed there are many rewards if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book. Ronald Reagan
  • Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary. Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession and I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first. Ronald Reagan
  • Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy. Sir Ernest Benn
  • Politics is the art of postponing decisions until they are no longer relevant.
  • Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising to protect each from the other. Oscar Ameringer
  • Politics is the pursuit of trivial men who when they succeed at it become important in the eyes of more trivial men. George Jean Nathan
  • Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects. Lester Bowles Pearson
  • Politics isn’t about left versus right; it’s about top versus bottom. Jim Hightower
  • Politics makes estranged bedfellows. Goodman Ace
  • Politics: Where people work hard to get a job and do nothing after they get it.
  • Practical politics consists in ignoring facts. Henry Adams
  • Presidency: The greased pig in the field game of American politics. Ambrose Bierce
  • Prosperity: Something that businessman create for politicians to take the credit for.
  • Recount: In American politics, another throw of the dice accorded to the player against whom they are loaded.
  • There is one sure way of telling when politicians aren’t telling the truth – their lips move. Felicity Kendall
  • These days the only time politicians tell the truth is when they call each other a liar. Alfred E. Neuman
  • They have at last produced a political leader worthy of assassination. Irving Layton
  • To succeed in politics it is often necessary to rise above your principles.
  • Too bad ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation. Henry Kissinger
  • Too bad that all the people who really know how to run the country are busy driving taxi cabs and cutting hair. George Burns
  • Under every stone lurks a politician. Aristophanes
  • What this country needs is more unemployed politicians. Edward Langley
  • When I entered politics I took the only downward turn you could take from journalism. Jim Hightower
  • When the country goes temporarily to the dogs, cats must learn to be circumspect, walk on fences, sleep in trees, and have faith that all this woofing is not the last word. Garrison Keillor
  • When the political columnists say, ‘Every thinking man’ they mean themselves, and when candidates appeal to ‘Every intelligent voter’ they mean everybody who is going to vote for them. Franklin Pierce Adams
  • Why pay money to have your family tree traced; go into politics and your opponents will do it for you.
  • Why waste your time looking up your family tree? Just go into politics, and your opponents will do it for you. Mark Twain
  • You have all the characteristics of a popular politician: a horrible voice, bad breeding and a vulgar manner. Aristophanes
  • I have left orders to be awakened at any time during national emergency, even if I’m in a cabinet meeting. Ronald Reagan
  • How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese? Charles de Gaulle
  • In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress. Peter Stone
  • If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle. Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session. Mark Twain
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