Quotations about   politician

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GRACCHUS: You know, this republic of ours is something like a rich widow. Most Romans love her as their mother, but Crassus dreams of marrying the old girl, to put it politely.

Dalton Trumbo (1905-1976) American screenwriter and novelist [James Dalton Trumbo]
Spartacus (1960) [novel by Howard Fast]
Added on 6-Nov-18 | Last updated 6-Nov-18
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Considering the temptations under which politicians are placed, of changing their opinions, or rather their professions of opinion, from motives of self interest, the world will not give them credit for motives of honest conviction, unless when the change shall be to their manifest loss and disadvantage.

Henry Taylor (1800-1886) English dramatist, poet, bureaucrat, man of letters
The Statesman: An Ironical Treatise on the Art of Succeeding, ch. 17 (1836)
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Added on 22-Aug-17 | Last updated 22-Aug-17
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The principle is surely not new in the world: everyone ought to know by this time that a mountebank, thinking only of tomorrow’s cakes, is far safer with power in his hands than a prophet and martyr, his eyes fixed frantically upon the rewards beyond the grave.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
“What I Believe,” sec. 2, Forum and Century (Sep 1930)
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Added on 15-May-17 | Last updated 15-May-17
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I asked a man in prison once how he happened to be there and he said he had stolen a pair of shoes. I told him if he had stolen a railroad he would be a United States Senator.

jones-stolen-a-railroad-wist_info-quote

Mary Harris "Mother" Jones (1860-1930) American labor leader [a.k.a. Mother Jones]
Speech (1903), in The Autobiography of Mother Jones, ch. 10 (1925)
Added on 28-Oct-16 | Last updated 28-Oct-16
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He’s suffering from Politicians’ Logic. Something must be done, this is something, therefore we must do it.

Antony Jay (b. 1930) English writer, broadcaster, director
Yes, Prime Minister, 2×05 “Power to the People” (7 Jan 1988)

Variant: "There is this great idea about the logic of a politician, along the lines of: 'Something must be done, this is something, therefore we must do it.'"
Added on 1-Aug-16 | Last updated 1-Aug-16
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The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men.

Samuel Adams (1722-1803) American revolutionary, statesman
Letter to James Warren (4 Nov 1775)
Added on 19-Jul-16 | Last updated 19-Jul-16
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Brevity is the best recommendation of speech, whether in a senator or an orator.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
(Attributed)
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In Tryon Edwards, A Dictionary of Thoughts (1891).
Added on 22-Apr-16 | Last updated 22-Apr-16
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A man plunges into politics to make his fortune, and only cares that the world should last his days.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Letter to Thomas Carlyle (1835)
Added on 13-Apr-16 | Last updated 13-Apr-16
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The methods now being used to merchandise the political candidate as though he were a deodorant positively guarantee the electorate against ever hearing the truth about anything.

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) English novelist, essayist and critic
Brave New World Revisited (1958)
Added on 25-Mar-16 | Last updated 18-Mar-16
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If a baseball player slides into home plate and, right before the umpire rules if he is safe or out, the player says to the umpire, “Here is $1,000,” what would we call that? We would call that a bribe. If a lawyer was arguing a case before a judge and said, “Your honor before you decide on the guilt or innocence of my client, here is $1,000,” what would we call that? We would call that a bribe. But if an industry lobbyist walks into the office of a key legislator and hands her or him a check for $1,000, we call that a campaign contribution. We should call it a bribe.

Janice Fine (contemp.) American political scientist, academic
Interview with Laura Orlando, “The Clean-Elections Movement,” Dollars and Sense (Jul/Aug 2000)
Added on 4-Mar-16 | Last updated 4-Mar-16
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The political leaders with whom we are familiar generally aspire to be superstars rather than heroes. The distinction is crucial. Superstars strive for approbation; heroes walk alone. Superstars crave consensus; heroes define themselves by the judgment of a future they see it as their task to bring about. Superstars seek success in a technique for eliciting support; heroes pursue success as the outgrowth of their inner values.

Henry Kissinger (b. 1923) German-American diplomat
“With Faint Praise,” New York Times Book Review (16 Jul 1995)
Added on 9-Oct-15 | Last updated 9-Oct-15
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The convictions that leaders have formed before reaching high office are the intellectual capital they will consume as long as they continue in office. There is little time for leaders to reflect. They are locked in an endless battle in which the urgent constantly gains on the important. The public life of every political figure is a continual struggle to rescue an element of choice from the pressure of circumstance.

Henry Kissinger (b. 1923) German-American diplomat
The White House Years, ch. 3 (1979)
Added on 3-Aug-15 | Last updated 3-Aug-15
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When philosophers try to be politicians, they generally cease to be philosophers.

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) American journalist and author
A Preface to Politics, ch. 3 (1914)
Added on 4-Jun-15 | Last updated 4-Jun-15
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I don’t trust a man who talks about ethics when he’s picking my pockets.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Time Enough For Love (1973)
Added on 21-Apr-15 | Last updated 21-Apr-15
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Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics. There must be a positive passion for the public good, the public interest, honour, power and glory, established in the minds of the people, or there can be no republican government, nor any real liberty: and this public passion must be superior to all private passions.

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
Letter to Mercy Warren (16 Apr 1776)
Added on 26-Feb-15 | Last updated 26-Feb-15
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The statesman values principles more than measures, and measures more than party. I am afraid the politician reverses this rule, valuing his party most, measures next, and principles least.

James Freeman Clarke (1810-1888) American theologian and author
“Wanted, a Statesman!”, Old and New Magazine (Dec 1870)
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Added on 3-Oct-14 | Last updated 3-Oct-14
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The difficulty about a politician, no matter how honest and well-intentioned he may be, is always this: that the matter of absolute importance in his mind, to which everything else must yield, is to carry the next election for his party.

James Freeman Clarke (1810-1888) American theologian and author
“Wanted, a Statesman!”, Old and New Magazine (Dec 1870)
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Added on 26-Sep-14 | Last updated 26-Sep-14
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A politician, for example, is a man who thinks of the next election; while the statesman thinks of the next generation.

James Freeman Clarke (1810-1888) American theologian and author
“Wanted, a Statesman!”, Old and New Magazine (Dec 1870)
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Often paraphrased: "A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman thinks of the next generation."
Added on 19-Sep-14 | Last updated 19-Sep-14
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The system isn’t about ideals. The country doesn’t elect great leaders. It elects fucked-up people who for reasons of ego want to run the world. Then the citizenry makes them become great.

Tony Kushner (b. 1956) American playwright and screenwriter
Interview with Ben Greenman, “Tony Kushner, Radical Pragmatist,” Mother Jones (Nov/Dec 2003)
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Added on 21-Aug-14 | Last updated 21-Aug-14
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I’m proud that I’m a politician. A politician is a man who understands government, and it takes a politician to run a government. A statesman is a politician who’s been dead 10 or 15 years.

Harry S Truman (1884-1972) US President (1945-1953)
Speech, Reciprocity Club, Washington (11 Apr 1958)

See Thomas Reed.
Added on 13-Aug-14 | Last updated 13-Aug-14
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A statesman is a successful politician who is dead.

Thomas Brackett Reed (1839-1902) American politician, Speaker of the House (1889-91, 1895-99)
(Attributed)

Quoted in Henry Cabot Lodge, The Democracy of the Constitution, ch. 7 (1915).
Added on 6-Aug-14 | Last updated 6-Aug-14
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A ginooine statesman should be on his guard,
Ef he must hev beliefs, nut to b’lieve ’em tu hard.

[A genuine statesman should be on his guard,
If he must have beliefs, not to believe them too hard.]

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) American diplomat, essayist, poet
The Bigelow Papers: Second Series, ch. 5 (1867)
Added on 9-Jul-14 | Last updated 9-Jul-14
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Doubtless he had an ideal, but it was the ideal of a practical statesman, — to aim at the best, and to take the next best, if he is lucky enough to get even that.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) American diplomat, essayist, poet
“Abraham Lincoln, 1864-1865” (1869)
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Printed in The North American Review, #222 (Jan 1869) under the title "Before and After." Sometimes given as "The idea of a practical statesman is to aim ...."
Added on 2-Jul-14 | Last updated 2-Jul-14
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To read the front pages, you might conclude that Americans are mostly out for themselves, venal, grasping, and mean-spirited. The front pages have room only for defense contractors who cheat and politicians with their hands in the till. But you can’t travel the back roads very long without discovering a multitude of gentle people doing good for others with no expectation of gain or recognition. The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines.

Charles Kuralt (1934-1997) American journalist
On the Road with Charles Kuralt (1985)
Added on 21-May-14 | Last updated 21-May-14
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And he gave it for his opinion, that whosoever could make two ears of corn or two blades of grass to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
Gulliver’s Travels, ch. 6 “Voyage to Brobdingnag” (1726)
Added on 12-May-10 | Last updated 4-May-15
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The politician in my country seeks votes, affection and respect, in that order …. With few notable exceptions, they are simply men who want to be loved.

Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965) American journalist
Address, London Guildhall (19 Oct 1959)
Added on 30-Nov-07 | Last updated 15-Apr-17
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Persistence in a single view has never been regarded as a merit in political leaders.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Epistulae ad Familiares, 1.9.21
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 13-Jul-17
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