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161 of 6,095 quotations related to Politicians, showing Acton to Manning

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Acton, Lord John Emerich
Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Apr. 05, 1887 - from a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton
Adams, Douglas
Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.

1979 - from The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Anderson, Richard D.
By covering the 'horse race' instead of the issues, the media encourage people to believe that politicians place self-interest above the public interest. The media also affect which issues people consider important, and negative advertisements discourage political participation. People learn from the media only because they know so little about politics. Were democracy deliberative, these media effects would undermine it. But democracy is not a deliberation but a contest that relies on the ability of the media to shape public opinion. The evidence for media effects is strong, but the media cannot be undermining a form of democracy that does not and cannot exist, and they do sustain the form that does.

Sep. 01, 1998 - from "The Place of the Media in Popular Democracy", an essay published in Critical Review, Fall 1998
Aristotle
Man is by nature an animal intended to live in a polis

often cited as "Man is by nature a political animal."
Ashurst, Henry Fountain
 When I have to choose between voting for the people or the special interests, I always stick with the special interests. They remember. The people forget.

quoted in Aldem's Political Quotations
Attlee, Earl Clement
One layer was certainly 17th century. The 18th century in him is obvious. There was the 19th century, and a large slice, of course, of the 20th century; and another, curious layer which may possibly have been the 21st.

describing Winston Churchill as a cake, quoted in The Last Lion (1983) by William Manchester
The House of Lords is like a glass of champagne that has stood for five days.

quoted in The Fine Art of Political Wit (1964) by Leon Harris
Bagehot, Walter
The notion of a farseeing and despotic statesman, who can lay down plans for ages yet unborn, is a fancy generated by the pride of the human intellect to which facts give no support.

Baldwin, Stanley
A government is not in power, it is in office, put there by the will of the people.

A statesman wants courage and a statesman wants vision; but believe me, after six months' experience, he wants first, second, third and all the time - patience.




Bierce, Ambrose
Mugwump, n. In politics one afflicted with self-respect and addicted to the vice of independence. A term of contempt.

1906 - from The Devil's Dictionary
Blair, Tony
I don't make predictions. I never have and I never will.

attributed
Boortz, Neal
Politicians know just how powerful this word is, 'Security'. Every time they have some little program they want to offer to the people, a program that will almost certainly rob people of freedom and liberty, the politicians sell that program by adding the 'Security' word to it.

Boyer, Patrick  
By virtue of an 'iron triangle' involving politicians, bureaucrats, and special interest groups, our political parties no longer serve as neutral brokers of all legitimate interests. Instead they arrange compromises among long-established elite groups, neglecting the interests of the masses.

1992 - from The People's Mandate, Referendums and a More Democratic Canada
Brandeis, Louis Dembitz
The most important political office is that of private citizen.

Brown, Jerry
 The government is becoming the family of last resort.

Browne, Harry
Any time you give power to government it will be abused, it will be enlarged, it will be used in ways you never intended. ... Any time you give power to politicians they're going to use it in every conceivable way possible to please those who have the most political influence and it's never going to be you and it's never going to be me.

Jul. 30, 1999 - from an interview on the Matt Drudge Show
Brownson, Orestes Augustus
Politicians may do as they please, so long as they violate no rule of right, no principle of justice, no law of God; but in no world, in no order, or condition, have men the right to do wrong.

Buchanan, James M.
I was influenced by the Swedish economist Wicksell, who said if you want to improve politics, improve the rules, improve the structure. Don't expect politicians to behave differently. They behave according to their interests.

Sep. 1995 - from an interview published in The Region, a publication of the Woodrow Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
Why didn't we have deficits before? You see the Keynesian economic revolution gave the politicians an excuse for deficits. You give politicians half an excuse; they play out this natural proclivity. ... As you destroy the old-time fiscal religion, you're going to have this natural proclivity toward deficits. In 1977 [my book] called Democracy in Deficit [made] the argument that the Keynesian destruction of the old mythology about balanced budgets would guarantee the regime that we've had. Certainly the predictions in that book have held up very well.

Sep. 1995 - from an interview published in The Region, a publication of the Woodrow Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis



Buckley, William F.
One must bear in mind that the expansion of federal activity is a form of eating for politicians.

Sep. 08, 1964 - from his column in National Review
Burke, Edmund
Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests; which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; but parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where, not local purposes, not local prejudices ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. You choose a member indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not a member of Bristol, but he is a member of parliament.

Nov. 03, 1774 - from his speech to the electors of Bristol
It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.

1769 - from "Observations on the Present State of the Nation"
Well is it known that ambition can creep as well as soar.

from Letters on a Regicide Peace
Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgement; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.

Bush, George W.
We must show courage in a time of blessing by confronting our problems instead of passing them on... I ask you to seek a common good beyond your comfort, to defend needed reforms against many attacks, to serve your nation, beginning with your neighbors. I ask you to be citizens. Citizens, not spectators.

Jan. 20, 2001 - from his inaugural address
Byron, Lord
Society is now one polished horde, formed of two mighty tribes, the Bores and Bored.

1818 - from Don Juan
Campanella, Tommaso
Now that they are called masters, they are ashamed again to become disciples.

Chesterfield, Lord Philip
Politicians neither love or hate. Interest, not sentiment, directs them.

Chesterton, Gilbert K.
For fear of the newspapers politicians are dull, and at last they are too dull even for the newspapers.

1908 - from All Things Considered



It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged.

Mar. 01, 1921 - from a column in The Cleveland Press
Chrétien, Jean  
 The problem with cutting taxes is the people don't realize, because they think they have more cash is because they have a pay increase and so on. ... It's not very visible because it's not a huge sum of money on every pay...

Sep. 8, 2001 - quoted in "No more tax cuts, PM says" by Shawn McCarthy, published in the Globe and Mail
The art of politics is learning to walk with your back to the wall, your elbows high, and a smile on your face. It's a survival game played under the glare of lights.

1985 - from Straight from the Heart
 I have never been doctrinaire on issues. That is one of the great things about being a Liberal; you can base your decisions on the circumstances without having to worry about your established public image.

1985 - from Straight from the Heart
 I am not a lawyer.

Dec. 30, 2000 - evading a legal question by reporters; Chrétien is a lawyer. Quoted in "2000: The year the music died", by Peter C. Newman, National Post
Churchill, Charles
Those who would make us feel--must feel themselves.

from The Rosciad
No statesman e'er will find it worth his pains, to tax our labours and excise our brains.

from Night
Churchill, Sir Winston
In my country as in yours public men are proud to be the servants of the State and would be ashamed to be its masters.

Dec. 26, 1941 - from a speech to the United States Congress
Clark, Joe  
 ...there are enough natural divisions in the country without political parties creating new ones. And I think Britain, quite legitimately, has ideological politics. Europe legitimately has. Canada and the United States have not historically had ideological politics.

Jul. 29, 1998 - interview in The Edmonton Sun
I'm not the greatest. I'm the best available.

quoted in Columbo's New Canadian Quotations by John Robert Columbo



[After his confidential dictation was included on a promotional tape sent to a radio station] I've been trying to find a way to demonstrate that this government isn't perfect and I've been finding some success at it.

quoted by Michael Gratton in his book So, What Are The Boys Saying? page 88
Clinton, William Jefferson
The President should resign. He has lied to the American people, time and time again, and betrayed their trust. He is no longer an effective leader.

speaking about Richard Nixon, 20 years before his own inclination to prevarication was well known
Coolidge, Calvin
There is only one form of political strategy in which I have any confidence, and that is to try to do the right thing and sometimes succeed.

[Advice to legislators] Do the day's work. If it be to protect the rights of the weak, whoever objects, do it. If it be to help a powerful corporation better to serve the people, whatever the opposition, do that. Expect to be called a stand-patter, but don't be a stand-patter. Expect to be called a demagogue, but don't be a demagogue. Don't hesitate to be as revolutionary as science. Don't hesitate to be as reactionary as the multiplication table. Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong. Don't hurry to legislate. Give administration a chance to catch up with legislation.

Jan. 7, 1914 - from a speech delivered to the Massachusetts Senate when he became its president
Coyne, Andrew  
Politics is a business that inverts all the normal rules of human conduct. In most walks of life, it is thought dishonourable - personally shaming - to lie, or even to shade the truth; to boast of one's own achievements, and sneer at others'; to flatter and connive in private, to mock and rage in public. Yet these and worse are the daily work of those we elect. ... If that is the price of power, of seeing your ideals enacted into law, perhaps it is a price worth paying, as statesman have since politics began. But our MPs, especially those on the government side, must endure another humiliation: that of impotence. Having compromised themselves ... they soon learn they have done all this for nothing. They are not legislators. They have no power. All they have is a job, and that dependent on keeping nice with the leader.

Jun. 6, 2001 - from "Honourable Members? Which ones?", published in the National Post
Crane, Edward H.
Critics of course speak of the market risk of a fluctuating stock market. It's worth noting, therefore, that for all 30 year periods in the United States dating back from 1802 until the present, stocks have outperformed bonds 99.5 percent of the time. And overlooked in the discussion of market risk is what seems to me to be the much greater political risk of increased taxes, delayed retirement, and reduced benefits. With a private system, the citizen controls the assets. With a public system, the politicians are in control, and I know of no country where that is not a risk.

Apr. 15, 1998 - from the collection Vital Speeches of the Day, published by the Cato Institute
de Gaulle, Charles
 There can be no question of my addressing a message to Canada to celebrate its centennial. We can have good relations. We must have excellent relations with French Canada. But we are not obliged to offer congratulations for the creation of a state based on our past defeat and on the integration of part of the French people into a British system.

Dec. 09, 1966 - from his response to a Canadian request for a message for Canada's centennial celebrations
In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant.

I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.

Diefenbaker, John George  
What is the difference between the Conservative caucus and a porcupine? Well, you see, a porcupine has all of its pricks on the outside.




I was criticized for being too much concerned with the average Canadians. I can't help that; I am one of them!

Sep. 1967 - from a speech to a Progressive Conservative convention
Those were the days when the only protection a Conservative enjoyed in the province of Saskatchewan was under the provision of the game laws.

Apr. 29, 1966 - from a speech in the Canadian Parliament
[Upon the retirement of Newfoundland MP and fierce opposition thorn Jack Pickersgill] Parliament without Pick will be like hell without the devil.

1967
Dole, Robert
Those who cultivate moral confusion for profit should understand this: we will name their names and shame them as they deserve to be shamed.

Dow, Charles
Politicians, properly observed, will often disappoint. Ideas, properly understood, seldom will.

Dr. Who
The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views.

Jan. 1977 - from The Face of Evil episode, written by Chris Boucher
Eggers, William D.
It is said that for every complex problem, there is a simple and elegant solution that is wrong. For crime, the simple answer is, 'We need more cops and we need more prisons.' Though extremely popular right now with politicians, this approach will ultimately do little to improve public safety. The best police force in the world cannot make safe a community in which people have no regard for the lives or property of others. Without question, swift and sure punishment of criminal activity is an important component of an effective crime policy. But the best defense against crime is not a thin, blue line, but a community of individuals respectful of others.

1995 - from Revolution at the Roots (with John O'Leary)
Eisenhower, Dwight D.
A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.

Eliot, George
Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving in words evidence of the fact.

from Impressions of Theophrastus Such
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Democracy becomes a government of bullies tempered by editors.




Farrar, Don
It's illegal to say to a voter 'Here's $100, vote for me.' So what do the politicians do? They offer the $100 in the form of health care, social security, unemployment insurance, food stamps, tobacco subsidies, grain payments, NEA payments, and jobs programs.

Finlay, J. Richard  
What is happening to Canada's economic image in the world results in no small part from the paucity of political ideas and underdeveloped leaders of all parties that have been the bane of the nation for too long. It is this climate that has allowed flawed policy decisions to go unchecked, either by public opinion or by counterbalancing political mechanisms. Canadians must accept responsibility for their fate...

from a column in the Financial Post
[Canadians] ... we are content to elect a prime minister with the appointment powers of an autocrat for the duration of his term. It is a curious anomaly of an otherwise sensible people in accepting such an archaic governance system. Louis himself couldn't have asked for anything more.

Nov. 15, 2000 - from Our Prime Minister Has Too Much Power
Fisher, Douglas  
[Former prime minister Pierre Trudeau] I think he was the most unsuccessful PM ... in modern times. He Americanized us more than any other because of the Charter and the removal of the Parliament as the ultimate place ... giving the ultimate power to the Supreme Court.

Oct. 5, 2000 - from a public chat session on www.canoe.ca
Friedman, Milton
It is tempting to believe that social evils arise from the activities of evil men and that if only good men (like ourselves, naturally) wielded power, all would be well... To understand why it is that "good" men in positions of power will produce evil, while ordinary man without power but able to engage in voluntary cooperation with his neighbours will produce good, requires analysis and thought, subordinating the emotions to the rational faculty.

Aug. 15, 1994 - from a column in the International Herald Tribune, quoted in The Quotable Conservative by Bill Adler
Fry, Hedy  
 [Supporting her oft-repeated claim of widespread racism and hate in Canada] We can just go to British Columbia in Prince George where crosses are being burned on lawns as we speak.

Mar. 21, 2001 - from a speech in the House of Commons. Fry's subsequent attempts to bolster this false claim were described as "an outright lie" by the mayor of Prince George and contradicted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Gandhi, Mahatma Mohandas
I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers.

attributed
George, Henry
We cannot safely leave politics to politicians, or political economy to college professors. The people themselves must think, because the people alone can act.

Gilbert, Sir William Schwenk
I always voted at my party's call, / And I never thought of thinking for myself at all.

1878 - from H.M.S. Pinafore
Goar, Carol  
The only farewells that politicians handle well are deaths. You can hear some excellent eulogies in the House of Commons.

Dec. 14, 1993 - from her column in the Toronto Star



Goldwater, Barry
I won't say that the papers misquote me, but I sometimes wonder where Christianity would be today if some of those reporters had been Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Aug. 11, 1964 - in the New York Times, quoted in The Quotable Conservative, by Bill Adler
Gore, Al
 I'm asking you in your sermons to do the work of the Lord here on earth. I ask for your help in getting that message out urgently tomorrow.

Oct. 14, 2000 - asking black preachers during a national conference call to get out the Democratic vote in the U.S. presidential election, reported by TIME Magazine, Oct. 15, 2000
 During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet.

Mar. 09, 1999 - in an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN
 I will say that I think that the ethical standards established in this White House have been the highest in the history of the White House.

Oct. 13, 1996 - during an appearance on Meet the Press
Gross, Martin
On every societal front, nonsense is replacing good sense in our once-pragmatic nation. Is it part of some nefarious conspiracy, either communist or fascist? Hardly. But neither is it accidental. It comes from the power and voice of what I call "The New Establishment;" the official America of teachers, lawyers, judges up through the Supreme Court, teachers and school administrators, college faculty and deans, politicians and bureaucrats, military men, even church clergy and those in the arts. This New Establishment, led by a group of anti-intellectual conformists, has replaced the stable old Establishment, taking control of virtually all of America's institutions.

1997 - from The End of Sanity
Gunter, Lorne  
Here's a little tip for politicians everywhere: If you find yourselves with more time than issues on your hands, go home. We promise, we'll love you just the same. ... If you can find nothing more important to do than banning the use of cell phones while driving or outlawing riding in the back of pick-ups, do nothing. Go home. Go back to your families, your businesses, your farms, the real world and stop thinking up ways to micromanage the lives of your constituents. We're grown-ups. We can take care of ourselves.

Dec. 19, 1999 - from his column in The Edmonton Journal
Hayek, Friedrich
The successful politician owes his power to the fact that he moves within the accepted framework of thought, that he thinks and talks conventionally. It would be almost a contradiction in terms for a politician to be a leader in the field of ideas. His task in a democracy is to find out what the opinions held by the largest number are, not to give currency to new opinions which may become the majority view in some distant future.

Helms, Sen. Jesse
... thus far, I have never won a poll or lost an election.

Jan. 20, 2000 - from a speech to the United Nations General Assembly
Huxley, Aldous
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

from Proper Studies
Jay, Antony
Politicians like to panic. They need activity - it is their substitute for achievement.

1984 - from Yes Minister (with Jonathan Lynn)



Jefferson, Thomas
[When] corruption... has prevailed in those offices [of]... government and so familiarized itself as that men otherwise honest could look on it without horror,... [then we must] be alive to the suppression of this odious practice and... bring to punishment and brand with eternal disgrace every man guilty of it, whatever be his station.

1804 - from a letter to W.C. Claiborne
Kennedy, Robert F.
There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.

1969 - quoted in Esquire Magazine
Kenney, Jason  
The way the [judicial] system works these days, there's a perverse incentive for elected representatives to turn controversial issues over to the judges. That way, they can say to their constituents, 'The judges made me do it'. The only solution is to elect politicians with the courage to confront the issues and defend the prerogatives of the democratically-elected legislatures.

Jan. 19, 1998 - quoted in "The makings of a counter-revolution", an essay in Alberta Report
Khrushchev, Nikita
Politicians are the same the world over: they promise to build a bridge even when there is no river.

Kirk, Russell
Fourth, conservatives are guided by their principle of prudence. Burke agrees with Plato that in the statesman, prudence is chief among virtues. Any public measure ought to be judged by its probable long-run consequences, not merely by temporary advantage or popularity.

1993 - from "Ten Conservative Principles", in the second chapter of The Politics of Prudence
Kissinger, Henry
Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad name.

Krauthammer, Charles
I don’t really care what a public figure thinks. I care about what he does. Let God probe his inner heart. Tell me about his outer acts... "Know thyself" is a highly overrated piece of wisdom. As for knowing the self of others, forget it. Know what they do and judge them by their works.

Oct. 19, 1999 - from "We should judge politicians by their deeds", Detroit News
One modern conceit is that the inner man is more important than the outer man. The second conceit is that somehow, thanks to Freud and modern psychobabble, we have real access to the inner man. As a former psychiatrist, I know how excruciatingly difficult it is to try to understand the soul of even someone you have spent hundreds of hours alone with in therapy. To think one can decipher the inner life of some distant public figure is simple folly.

Oct. 19, 1999 - from "We should judge politicians by their deeds", Detroit News
The uniqueness of the 20th century lies not in its science but in its politics. The 20th century was no more scientifically gifted than the 19th, with its Gauss, Darwin, Pasteur, Maxwell and Mendel -- all plowing, by the way, less-broken scientific ground than the 20th. No. The originality of the 20th surely lay in its politics. It invented the police state and the command economy, mass mobilization and mass propaganda, mechanized murder and routinized terror -- a breathtaking catalog of political creativity. And the 20th is a single story because history saw fit to lodge the entire episode in a single century. Totalitarianism turned out to be a cul-de-sac. It came and went. It has a beginning and an end, 1917 and 1991, a run of 75 years neatly nestled into this century. That is our story. And who is the hero of that story? Who slew the dragon? ... victory required one man without whom the fight would have been lost at the beginning. It required Winston Churchill.

Dec. 31, 1999 - commenting on TIME magazine's choice of Albert Einstein rather than Winston Churchill as the Person of the Century, in "Person of the Century", Washington Post
Kristol, Irving
[California's 1978 Proposition 13 which limits tax increases without public approval] It was a new kind of class war -- the people as citizens versus the politicians and their clients in the public sector.

1978 - from an essay in the Wall Street Journal



L'Amour, Louis
Statesmanship is about ten percent good ideas and motives and ninety percent getting backing for your program.

1960 - from The Daybreakers
Even those who fancy themselves the most progressive will fight against other kinds of progress, for each of us is convinced that our way is the best way.

1969 - from The Lonely Men
Leishman, Rory  
Canadian constitutional scholars used to view the excesses of American judge-politicians with smug condescension, noting that Canadian courts would never second guess the wisdom of a statute that had been duly enacted into law by elected representatives of the Canadian people. Unfortunately, scholars can no longer make such statements. Since the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was incorporated into our Constitution in 1982, the Supreme Court of Canada has routinely struck down laws enacted by Parliament or a provincial legislature on grounds of policy, amended statutory laws from the bench, ignored the law altogether, and told legislators what laws to enact. In the past, such high-handed judicial encroachments by non-elected Canadian judges were unthinkable. Today, the inconceivable has become routine.

1998 - from "Robed dictators", published in The Next City Magazine
Loney, Martin  
The absence of effective management and monitoring [of federal government grant programs] is not accidental. The rationale for many funding programs lies in the opportunity they afford for the creation of mutually beneficial relations between politicians, bureaucrats and grant recipients. ... Success for civil servants is measured not in what is achieved in economic or social development but in spending target sums win ways that accord with the interests of their political masters. Since the purpose of the grants is old-fashioned pork-barrel, the absence of accurate accounting is scarecely a surprise. Reform requires not a review of supervisory procedures but a termination of the programs.

Jan. 24, 2000 - from "Another day, another slush fund", published in the National Post
The lack of any convincing evidence that racial minorities or women experienced the contemporary systemic discrimination so frequently claimed on their behalf raises ... questions. How did an industry based on a proverbial stack of cards become so well entrenched? How did Canada, a country which on any international scale appears to enjoy considerable racial harmony, come to be portrayed as profoundly racist, a country in which colour is said to be the defining issue in the life experience of every visible minority? The search for answers leads time and again to the action of politicians and bureaucrats in endorsing the agenda of politics based on group identity.

1998 - from The Pursuit of Division: Race, Gender, and Preferential Hiring in Canada
Lynch, Michael W.
[Re: California legislation that will force 74,000 University of California employees into unions] For the employees, this means roughly $550 a year extracted from their paychecks. For the 20 or so unions that represent workers in the systems, it means more than $40 million in new spending money. This is a story that organized labor likes to obscure: that its power is based on not-so-subtle coercion, and that it often tramples on individuals' rights under laws that are already favorable to unions. When unions are unhappy with the law, they spend forced dues to elect politicians who will change it.

Sep. 5, 1999 - from "Union Blues", published in the Los Angeles Daily News and in Reason Online
Lynn, Jonathan
Politicians like to panic. They need activity - it is their substitute for achievement.

1984 - from Yes Minister (with Antony Jay)
MacDonnell, James J.  
Accountability of public servants to government, of government to Parliament, and of Parliament to taxpayers can be achieved only if the MPs of all parties support these goals. Parliamentarians must never lose sight of the fact that in a democracy, accountability is the price exacted for the gift of power.

Madison, James
It is a misfortune incident to republican government, though in a less degree than to other governments, that those who administer it may forget their obligations to their constituents and prove unfaithful to their important trust...

from the Federalist Paper No. 62
Manning, Preston  
If subsequent generations of politicians had left the problem of French-English tension within the provincial confines to which the Fathers of Confederation had relegated it, and expanded and built upon the new foundation of Canada as a federation of provinces rather than a federation of founding peoples, Canada might not be in the dilemma it is today.