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161 of 6,095 quotations related to Politicians, showing McDonough to Wilson-Smith

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McDonough, Alexa  
 The spectator sport in Canada is hockey, not the sexual activities of our leaders. ... The Canadian people aren't nearly as starry-eyed in believing politicians are perfect. They hold a more healthy notion of their politicians as human beings.

Sep. 19, 1998 - quoted in the Toronto Globe and Mail responding to a question about U.S. president Bill Clinton's lying under oath about his sexual affair with a young intern in the Oval Office
McLuhan, Marshall  
The politician will be only too happy to abdicate in favour of his image, because the image will be so much more powerful than he could ever be.

quoted in Canadian by Conviction, by Brune and Bulgutch, Gage Publishing
Mencken, Henry Louis
That erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.

Apr. 24, 1924 - from "The Library", published in The American Mercury
[Government] is apprehended, not as a committee of citizens chosen to carry on the communal business of the whole population, but as a separate and autonomous corporation, mainly devoted to exploiting the population for the benefit of its own members.

1927 - from "From the Memoirs of a Subject of the United States", in Prejudices: Sixth Series
The natural tendency of every government is to grow steadily worse - that is, to grow more satisfactory to those who constitute it and less satisfactory to those who support it.

Aug. 27, 1924 - from "The Library" in The American Mercury
Mulroney, Martin Brian  
 [On the patronage appointment of one-time Liberal cabinet minister Bryce Mackasey by short-lived Liberal prime minister John Turner] There's no whore like an old whore. If I'd been in Bryce's place, I would have been the first with my nose in the trough, just like all the rest of them.

Jul. 15, 1984 - quoted by Michael Gratton in So, What Are The Boys Saying?, page 26
 I am not ideologically opposed to anything unless it doesn't work.

1992 - In an interview with CBC News anchor Peter Mansbridge
 Are we making proper use of taxpayers' money by giving a bank president, say, at $500,000 or $600,000 a year, a baby bonus?... I don't know the answer.

quoted in Columbo's New Canadian Quotations by John Robert Columbo
 [After a televised debate on women's issues] How did you like my courageous silence on abortion?

Aug. 15, 1984 - quoted by Michael Gratton in So, What Are The Boys Saying? page 54
 Okay, we’ve won. What do we do now?

quoted by Michael Gratton in So, What Are The Boys Saying?, page 55



National Post, The  
The speed with which the phrase 'family values' became a term of sarcastic derision among politicians and policy-makers tells us more about politicians than about families. Far from vanishing quietly into the sunset of inevitable social change, the traditional family is in fact fighting hard to stay intact in the face of official hostility.

Feb. 26, 1999 - from its editorial
... the tobacco 'settlement' was a merger between Big Government and Big Tobacco, not an exercise in public health. In return for prosecutorial immunity, the tobacco companies have essentially agreed to collect an extra few dimes in taxes on each pack of cigarettes. The gargantuan dollar amount simply reflects the nominal value of years of tax hikes. Of course, politicians declared the settlement to be a victory against tobacco companies. That's a lot easier to sell to the public than just another tax grab.

Aug 28, 1999 - from its editorial
[Dalhousie University accepts an anonymous grant with the condition that an unqualified left-wing Sierra Club activist activist be hired as professor] Some professors still believe in teaching about arts and sciences the way they are - not the way politicians want them to be. Some universities still place an emphasis on objective truth, not the spin of an anonymous foreign donor. Dalhousie University used to be such a place.

Jul. 28, 1999 - from its editorial
Newman, Peter C.  
[Former Canadian prime minister Brian] Mulroney's operational code was simple: to advance his personal cause as forcefully as possible; to exercise power at the summit of Canadian politics for as long and effectively as he could. Ideas had nothing to do with it. ... Mulroney's were the politics of utility, which covered the barren land between pragmatism and opportunity.

1995 - from The Canadian Revolution
When [Canadian Liberal cabinet minister] Jane Stewart finally admits she's lying, nobody will believe her.

Mar. 15, 2000 - from a column in the National Post, commenting on her handling of a massive government grant boondoggle in her ministry
Most of Canada's mainstream politicians suffer from a contagious disease: Their motivating philosophy is lightly held. They are ideological acrobats, able to square almost any political circle, allowing pragmatism (a fancy word for "where the votes are") to decide where they stand.

Nov. 29, 2000 - from a column in the National Post
The function of democratic leadership ... is to respect the past, grasp the present, and enlarge the future.

quoted in Canadian by Conviction, by Brune and Bulgutch, Gage Publishing
Nietzsche, Friederich
Occasionally we discover someone whose views are in advance of their time, but only to the extent that he anticipates the commonplace views of the next decade. He adheres to public opinion before it is public, that is to say he has fallen into the arms of a view that deserves to become trivial a quarter-of-an-hour earlier than others have. His fame, however, usually tends to be much noisier than the fame of the truly great and superior.

1878 - from Human, All Too Human
Nock, Albert Jay
Politicians leap with joy on this-or-that proposed advance in 'social legislation,' not out of any primary interest in social welfare, but because it means more government, more jobs, more patronage, more diversions of public money to their own use and behoof; and what but a flagrant disservice to society can accrue from that?

O'Leary, John
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 William D. Eggers)



O'Rourke, P.J.
When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.

The decision that politicians are wiser, kinder and more honest than we are and that they, not we, should control the dispensation of eleemosynary goods and services is, in itself, a diminishment of the individual and proof that we're jerks.

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

Pareto, Vilfredo
The socialists of our day have clearly perceived that the revolution at the end of the eighteenth century led merely to the bourgeoisie's taking the place of the old elite. They exaggerate a good deal the burden of oppression imposed by the new masters, but they do sincerely believe that a new elite of politicians will stand by their promises better than those which have come and gone up to the present day. All revolutionaries proclaim, in turn, that previous revolutions have ultimately ended up by deceiving the people; it is their revolution alone which is the true revolution.

from Les Systemes Socialistes
Pigott, Jean  
[Advice to an MP] Keep your eye on the leader and your back to the wall.

1975 - quoted in Trade Secrets by Pat Carney
Plato
But when he [the people's champion] has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader.

Pocket Gopher
Politicians want empty elections. This makes it easier to maintain the status quo. By now about 50 years' accumulation of barnacles on the ship of state has slowed it down to the point where it can no longer navigate. When we don't bother to vote we play directly into their hands.

from Pocket Gopher No. 19
Pope, Alexander
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

1711 - from An Essay on Criticism
Quinton, Sir John
Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel.

quoted by Colin Jarman in Guinness Book of Poisonous Quotes (1991)
Rogers, Will
Everything is changing. People are taking the comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.




Scruton, Roger
Where people take no responsibility for major decisions, they cease to expect politicians to behave any differently. Conversely, where the habit of responsible accounting endures, politicians are under pressure to behave like the rest of us.

Aug. 1998 - from "Christian Democracy and the Czech Republic", published in The New Presence
Sherman, William Tecumseh
I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.

in a telegram refusing one of a number of attempts to enlist him for high political office
Shirer, William L.
[Hitler] He who was so monumentally intolerant by his very nature, was strangely tolerant of one human condition - a man's morals. No other party in Germany came near to attracting so many shady characters.

from The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
Shultz, George P.
Nothing ever gets settled in this town [Washington]. It's a seething debating society in which the debate never stops, in which people never give up, including me.

Sobran, Joseph
Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money - only for wanting to keep your own money.

Solzhenitsyn, Alexander
A loss of courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days...Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society. Of course, there are many courageous individuals, but they have no determining influence on public life.

Jun. 8, 1978 - from his speech "The Exhausted West", delivered at commencement at Harvard University
Stockman, David A.
The actual electorate ... is not interested in this doctrine [of reductions in the size of government and its spending]; when it is interested at all, it is interested in getting help from the government to compensate for a perceived disadvantage. Consequently, the spending politics of Washington do reflect the heterogeneous and parochial demands that arise from the diverse, activated ... electorate across the land. What you see done in the halls of the politicians may not be wise, but it is the only real and viable definition of what the electorate wants.

1986 - from The Triumph of Politics
Szasz, Thomas Stephen
When you hear [a politician] running for office say, 'I want to serve my country,' remind yourself that what the man really means is: 'I want the country to be at my service.'

1990 - from The Untamed Tongue
Thatcher, Margaret
[Pierre Trudeau] Pierre, you’re being obnoxious. Stop acting like a naughty schoolboy.

1981 - quoted in As I Said to Denis: The Margaret Thatcher Book of Quotations, edited by Iain Dale
[Brian Mulroney] As leader of the Progressive Conservatives I thought he put too much emphasis on the adjective and not enough on the noun.

1993 - quoted in As I Said to Denis: The Margaret Thatcher Book of Quotations, edited by Iain Dale



Trudeau, Pierre Elliot  
For unscrupulous politicians, there is no surer way of rousing feelings that to trumpet a call to pride of race. French Canadians will be rid of this kind of politician if the blackmail ceases, and the blackmail will cease only if Canada refuses to dance to that tune.

Sep. 28, 1992 - quoted in Maclean's Magazine
 I was my best successor, but I decided not to succeed myself.

1984 - at a press conference announcing his resignation
Twain, Mark
History has tried hard to teach us that we can't have good government under politicians. Now, to go and stick one at the very head of the government couldn't be wise.

Tyrrell, R. Emmett
The best way to restrain the politicians' impulse to spend and to expand government's reach is to keep the surplus modest. That means lowering taxes.

Jul. 2, 1999 - from his column "Who cares about high taxes?"
Unknown
Politicians say they're beefing up our economy. Most don't know beef from pork.

attributed to Harold Lowman
Politicians are like electricity - they take the path of least resistance.

attributed to Leroy Meier
Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the same reason.

Wallace, George
I've seen many politicians paralyzed in the legs as myself, but I've seen more of them who were paralyzed in the head.

Wappel, Tom  
 How is it that you are writing me for my help if you did not think enough of my abilities to justify voting for me? ... I can decide who to help or not.

May 10, 2001 - from a letter to his constituent, an elderly veteran asking for help getting benefits, and from the resulting story in the National Post
Washington, George
[My terms in office] have been a uniform sacrifice of inclination to the opinion of duty, and to a deference for what appeared to be your desire.

Sep. 17, 1796 - from his farewell address



Waugh, Evelyn
Politicians are not people who seek power in order to implement policies they think necessary. They are people who seek policies in order to attain power.

Webster, Daniel
Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.

Wells, Herbert George
The law giver, of all beings, most owes the law allegiance. He of all men should behave as though the law compelled him. But it is the universal weakness of mankind that what we are given to administer we presently imagine we own.

Wells, Paul  
Joe Clark still thinks he won the federal election. The Progressive Conservatives have momentum, he says, and it's true: They've lost a third of their vote. Now if they can only lose the other two-thirds, victory is theirs.

Dec. 30, 2000 - from "Manley as Grit leader? Why not", published in the National Post
Whittier, John Greenleaf
Of all we loved and honored, naught / Save power remains; / A fallen angel's pride of thought, / Still strong in chains. / All else is gone; from those great eyes / The soul has fled; / When faith is lost, when honor dies, / The man is dead!

from "Ichabod", a scathing poem about American Senator Daniel Webster, who went against widespread sentiment in his state of Massachusetts to abolish slavery in an attempt (some historians think) to avoid the Civil War which nevertheless occurred ten years later
Will, George F.
Once you lose the sense that not everything is the federal government's business, the floodgates are down, and everything in ... life becomes fair game for career politicians to use the federal government's omnipresent, omniprovident role to bolster their careers.

Oct. 18, 1992 - in a televised interview on the C-SPAN program Booknotes
Williams, Walter E.
We shouldn't focus our energies on trying to change the hearts and minds of politicians. We should try to change the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans. We must sell our fellow Americans the idea that the legitimate and moral role of government is to protect those unalienable rights to life, liberty and property.

1999 - from More Liberty Means Less Government
Wilson, Harold
Every dog is allowed one bite, but a different view is taken of a dog that goes on biting all the time.

Mar. 2, 1967 - from a speech
The labour party is like a stage-coach. If you rattle along at great speed everybody inside is too exhilarated or too seasick to cause any trouble. But if you stop everybody gets out and argues about where to go next.

1964 - quoted in Harold Wilson, Authentic Portrait, by Leslie Smith
Wilson, Woodrow
The State exists for the sake of society, not society for the sake of the State.




Wilson-Smith, Anthony  
The silly notion underlying [the Liberals'] institutionalized fibbing and historical revisionism is that politics is a blood sport, in which any admission of error, or credit to the opposition, demonstrates mortal weakness. In fact no one expects others - especially not polititicans - to be perfect. And a whole-hearted apology goes a long way towards quelling controversy.

Feb. 26, 2001 - from "The politics of fibbing", Maclean's magazine