Quotations can inform and stimulate. They can be wise, witty, or foolish. The author has collected some of the best in his articles.
Politics is the profession which can generate the strongest and most polarised of reactions in our society. That is scarcely surprising, as it is the profession which impacts all our lives in the most ways. And the people who practice politics may therefore be both loved and loathed, respected and ridiculed, or eulogised and feared by different sections of the community. The words they utter are listened to intently and some of these words pass into our history as the most profound and erudite of utterances. Some others, however, are remembered as quite frighteningly dim-witted nonsense.
This page reprises some of these political quotations, and remembers those who spoke them.
N.B: Please note, all my articles are best read on desktops and laptops
About the Quotes
Politics is a serious business dealing with serious issues and it should be taken very seriously, and seriously intelligent people should pronounce on political matters.
So why is politics such a rich source of the inane, the illogical, the daft, and the dumb? And why do politicians say such stupid things? Is it because the pressure of the job plays havoc with the mind when our leaders have to speak off the cuff? Is it because the media spotlight demands an instant answer to any problem, however complex, thereby creating a paranoia which precludes clear thought? Or is it because the bright people have all been snapped up to do other things that are more productive and intellectual, like education or law or business or stacking the shelves in a supermarket?
- To be serious, we are blessed with some statesmen whose service to their country is selfless and well-intentioned. And we have also been blessed with some who are genuinely political thinkers and courageous leaders. These people have contributed great wit and perception to our culture. Some of the memorable remarks by these individuals are included here.
- But unfortunately, for every thought-provoking speech by a true statesman, there are countless less cerebral remarks by which other politicians are destined to be remembered - much to their chagrin! Some of these especially dim witted remarks are also included here.
- Also included are the thoughts of commentators, journalists and satirists who keep our leaders under perpetual scrutiny and who can observe the good, the bad and the ugly of the political world with an independent mind and a witty turn of phrase.
This then is my selection of 100 of the most memorable of all quotes, jokes, jibes and analyses of political life. Actually, there are 102 quotes - I begin and end with two universal truisms from the world of politics.
10 Quotes about Politicians
- 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 Churchill
- An honest man in politics shines more there than he would elsewhere - Mark Twain
- Since a politician never believes what he says, he is quite surprised to be taken at his word - Charles De Gaulle
- When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators - PJ O'Rourke
- Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president but they don't want them to become politicians in the process - John Fitzgerald Kennedy
- Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber - Plato
- Statesmen tell you what is true even though it may be unpopular. Politicians will tell you what is popular, even though it may be untrue - Anonymous
- A politician thinks of the next election - a statesman of the next generation - James Freeman Clarke
- Now I know what a statesman is; he's a dead politician. We need more statesmen - Bob Edwards
- Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress .... But I repeat myself - Mark Twain
10 Quotes about the Jobs Politicians do
- Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy - Ernest Benn
- In politics, absurdity is not a handicap - Napoleon Bonaparte
- Practical politics consists in ignoring facts - Henry Adams
- Nowhere are prejudices more mistaken for truth, passion for reason and invective for documentation than in politics - John Mason Brown
- 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,
- 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 promising young man should go into politics so that he can go on promising for the rest of his life - Robert Byrne
- We believe that to err is human. To blame it on someone else is politics - Hubert H. Humphrey
- We have the best government that money can buy - Mark Twain
- A lot has been said about politics; some of it complimentary, but most of it accurate - Eric Idle
5 Quotes by Will Rogers
Will Rogers—a stage performer, actor, humourist and social commentator—was especially prominent in taking a swipe against our leaders in the 1920s and 30s. These are just a few of his words:
- There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.
- The more you observe politics, the more you've got to admit that each party is worse than the other.
- The taxpayers are sending congressmen on expensive trips abroad. It might be worth it except they keep coming back.
- Politics has become so expensive that it takes a lot of money even to be defeated.
- I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
5 Quotes about Political Life in Washington D.C
- If I wanted to go crazy I would do it in Washington because it would not be noticed - Irwin S. Cobb
- I love to go to Washington - if only to be near my money - Bob Hope
- After two years in Washington, I often long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood - Fred Thompson
- I remember when I first came to Washington. For the first six months you wonder how the hell you ever got here. For the next six months you wonder how the hell the rest of them ever got here - Harry S. Truman
- The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop - P. J. O'Rourke
10 Quotes in Support of Democracy
I make no apologies for placing some genuinely serious quotes in this section. I am a passionate believer in democracy and too many people trivialise its importance by likening democratic leaders such as the President of the United States or the Prime Minister of Great Britain to fascists, tyrants and dictators. They are not, and the failings of democratic nations such as America or the UK should not be compared in any way to the failings of truly evil regimes and the people who preside over them. Any such comparison not only denigrates the value of democracy - it can also cheapen the struggle of those who live under tyranny.
- All government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery - Jonathan Swift
- Men write many fine and plausible arguments in support of monarchy, but the fact remains that where every man has a voice, brutal laws are impossible - Mark Twain
- No man is good enough to govern another man without the other's consent - Abraham Lincoln
- Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable - John F. Kennedy
- Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country - Franklin D. Roosevelt
- Democracy is the only system that persists in asking the powers that be whether they are the powers that ought to be - Sydney J. Harris
- When our government is spoken of as some menacing, threatening, foreign entity, it ignores the fact that in our democracy, government is us - Barack Obama
- Before we get too depressed about the state of our politics, let's remember our history ..... Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. 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
- No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time - Sir Winston Churchill
- Democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man - Ronald Reagan
5 Quotes about Party Politics
I'm a great believer in democracy, but unfortunately the natural tendency of politicians in democracies is to gather together into political parties. And the natural tendency of parties is to spend their entire working lives mindlessly attacking each other, rather than listening and working together for a better life. I'm not a great believer in political parties.
Read More From Soapboxie
- No one party can fool all of the people all of the time; that's why we have two parties - Bob Hope
- [A Conservative is] a statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal who wishes to replace them with others - Ambrose Bierce
- The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries - Winston Churchill
- Some men change their party for the sake of their principles; others their principles for the sake of their party - Winston Churchill
- There are always too many Democratic congressmen, too many Republican congressmen, and never enough U.S. congressmen - Anonymous
5 Quotes about Limitations and Failings of Democracy
But in the interest of giving a say to all sides—a necessary pre-requisite in a democracy—here are just a few quotes which will reflect the downsides of democracy. I would argue that for all these downsides, the alternatives - a lawless anarchic society or rule by an unrestrained, undemocratic minority - are infinitely worse:
- Truth is not determined by majority vote - Doug Gwyn
- Democracy arises out of the notion that those who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects; because men are equally free, they claim to be absolutely equal - Aristotle
- Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few - George Bernard Shaw
- The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter - Winston Churchill
- Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve - George Bernard Shaw
5 Political Quotations about Science
Science is not just about academic knowledge of physics, chemistry and biology. It is about objective, impartial research. It is also about the future of our lives and the lives of our descendants on this planet. It is therefore a subject on which the lawmakers should have some rudimentary knowledge. So it is quite frightening to see the idiocy presented by some elected representatives. Nothing in these five quotes has any merit:
- Mars is essentially in the same orbit (as Earth). Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe - Dan Quayle
- It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it - Dan Quayle
- Is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rainforests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases? - Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (An elaboration on the famous Reagan quote which suggested that 'Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do.')
- I thought I would just share with you what science says today about silicon breast implants. If you have them, you're healthier than if you don't. That is what the ultimate science shows. . . . In fact, there's no science that shows that silicone breast implants are detrimental and, in fact, they make you healthier - Senator Tom Coburn
- All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell. And it's lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior. You see, there are a lot of scientific data that I've found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I don't believe that the Earth's but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them - Representative Paul Broun (Broun serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology!!!)
10 Quotes Which Didn't Come Out The Way They Were Intended
- This President is going to lead us out of this recovery - Dan Quayle
- A zebra does not change its spots - Al Gore
- It's no exaggeration to say that the undecided could go one way or another. - George Bush Sr
- Rarely is the question asked "Is our children learning?" - George W Bush
- That low down scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass - and I'm just the one to do it! - Texan congressional candidate
- Traditionally, most of our imports come from overseas - Australian minister Keppel Enderbery
- Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we - George W. Bush
- Things are more like they are now, than they ever were before - Dwight D Eisenhower
- If you're sick and tired of the politics of cynicism and polls and principles, come and join this campaign! - George W Bush
- I stand by all the misstatements that I've made - Dan Quayle
5 Quotes on Realism in Politics
Perhaps at the end of the day we have to accept the limitations of our politicians. Instead of expecting greatness, maybe we should just expect the honesty and integrity to do the best they can.
- 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
- Politics is the art of the possible - Otto Von Bismarck
- 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
- Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite - John Kenneth Galbraith
- In the long run every Government is the exact symbol of its People, with their wisdom and unwisdom; we have to say, Like People like Government - Thomas Carlyle
5 Political Quotes by Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Great British war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill was famous for his powerful emotion-stirring statements. But he was also renowned for his one-liners and cutting jibes:
- A modest man, who has much to be modest about. (About Prime Minister Clement Atlee.)
- He occasionally stumbled over the truth, but hastily picked himself up and hurried on as if nothing had happened. (About Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin.)
- You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.
- An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile - hoping it will eat him last.
- A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
10 Quotes by Vice-President Dan Quayle
Poor Dan Quayle! The former Vice-President under George Bush may have been a sincere politician, but he will be remembered for all the time that he is remembered, for the inanity of some of his comments. I've already included a few of these, but indeed the whole of this page could have been filled with his pronouncements. So here are a few more just for fun:
- One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president, and that one word is 'to be prepared.'
- I love California, I practically grew up in Phoenix.
- It's wonderful to be here in the great state of Chicago.
- I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have was that I didn't study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those people.
- We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a part of Europe.
- The global importance of the Middle East is that it keeps the Far East and the Near East from encroaching on each other.
- We're going to have the best-educated American people in the world.
- I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy - but that could change.
- We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.
- The future will be better tomorrow.
5 Greek Quotes Which Show that Politics Really Hasn't Changed in 3000 Years
The more that I read of the ancient philosophers, the more I realise that mankind hasn't really changed all that much. These words from ancient Greeks suggest that cynicism and concern about the political process has always existed. I especially like the words of Plato - even today a smooth and attractive talker is more likely to get elected than a thoughtful, wise and honest person.
- The only stable state is the one in which all men are equal before the law - Aristotle
- Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you - Pericles
- In politics we presume that everyone who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state. When we are ill, we do not ask for the handsomest physician, or the most eloquent one - Plato
- We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office - Aesop
- Under every stone lurks a politician - Aristophanes
And Finally ... 10 More Miscellaneous Quotes and Jokes by the Great and by Some Others
- The word 'politics' is derived from the word 'poly', meaning 'many', and the word 'ticks', meaning 'blood sucking parasites.' - Larry Hardiman
- If 'pro' is the opposite of 'con' what is the opposite of 'progress'? - Paul Harvey
- How come we choose from just two people to run for president and fifty for Miss America? - Anonymous
- 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 P. Adams
- Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind - George Orwell
- Tell the truth and you won't have so much to remember - Abraham Lincoln
- Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves - Ronald Reagan
- 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
- For NASA, space is still a high priority - Dan Quayle
- The problem with political jokes is they get elected - Henry Cate VII
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
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