In recognition of the US midterm elections, I decided to have a browse through Lend Me Your Ears: The Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations and share with you a few entries that have come from the American political world. Enjoy…
“I will seek the presidency with nothing to fall back on but the judgment of the people and with nowhere to go but the White House or home.”
Robert Dole 1923-, American Republican politician, announcing his decision to relinquish his Senate seat and step down as majority leader.
“One of the uses of history is to free us of a falsely imagined past. The less we know of how ideas actually took root and grew, the more apt we are to accept them unquestioningly, as inevitable features of the world in which we move.”
Robert H. Bork 1927-, American judge and educationalist, from The Antitrust Paradox (1978)
“The American people have spoken – but it’s going to take a little while to determine exactly what they said.”
Bill Clinton 1946-, 42nd President of the United States 1993-2001, on the US presidential election of 2000.
“We are a nation of communities, of tens and tens of thousands of ethnic, religious, social, business, labour union, neighbourhood, regional and other organizations, all of them varied, voluntary, and unique… a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.”
George Bush Sr. 1924-, 41st President of the United States, acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, 18 August 1988.
“No sane local official who has hung up an empty stocking over the municipal fireplace, is going to shoot Santa Claus just before a hard Christmas.”
Alfred Emanuel Smith 1873-1944, American politician, comment on the New Deal in New Outlook, Dec 1933
“I suggested [in 1966] that we use the panther as our symbol and call our political vehicle the Black Panther Party. The panther is a fierce animal, but he will not attack until he is backed into a corner; then he will strike out.”
Huey Newton 1942-1989, American political activist, from Revolutionary Suicide (1973)
“Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it has about 18 million cracks in it.”
Hillary Rodham Clinton 1947-, American lawyer and Democratic politician, speech to her supporters, conceding the Democratic party presidential nomination to Barack Obama, 7 June 2008.
“The oldest, wisest politician grows not more human so, but is merely a grey wharf-rat at last.”
Henry David Thoreau 1817-1862, American writer, from Journal (1853)
“On my arrival in the United States I was struck by the degree of ability among the governed and the lack of it among the governing.”
Alexis de Tocqueville 1805-1859, French historian and politician, from Democracy in America (1835-40) vol. 1