With all the hoopla surrounding politics for the last 3 to 4 decades or so, it has become a hard task to tell which words of politicians are worth listening to, and which ones need to be locked in a casket and buried under 6 feet of dirt (for example, statements about grabbing people of a certain gender by a certain area). Yet, in the midst of all the false promises, meaningless ideals and general jibber-jabber, there are a few lines that stand out as absolute gold, in politics and otherwise. Take a look for yourself!
1. Abraham Lincoln
In his letter, dated July 18th, 1864, the penultimate year of his presidency, to his chosen Secretary of War, Mr. Edward Stanton, the man who changed the nation revealed his true feelings about hard work.
“My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it.”
I can relate to that feeling.
2. Herbert Hoover
In 1936, a few years after the end of his presidency, Former President Herbert Hoover addressed the Nebraska Republican Conference, held then in Lincoln, Nebraska. He had a moment of clarity regarding the economy, and shared with us some wise words.
“Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt.”
Words that are still true today.
3. Bill Clinton
The home of the President and First Lady of the United States is looked upon with awe by most, but dread by those who have seen it well. I guess former President Clinton shared a similar view with many other residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, because he once said,
“I don’t know whether it’s the finest public housing in America or the crown jewel of the prison system,”
Ah. The irony.
4. Barbara Bush
(By The White House, Wikimedia Commons)
In an interview with 41st President of the United States, George HW Bush and Barbara Bush, the former First Lady was asked whether she still thought her husband was the handsomest man over 50 years later. She was put on the spot, but answered quickly and honestly.
“Yes. But my eyesight is getting bad.”
The only thing her husband could say in response was “Golly”.
To see this moment of magic, you can check out this video (hint: the line comes about 3 minutes in):
5. Eugene McCarthy
(By PCCWW, Wikimedia Commons)
While explaining his profession during an interview with The Washington Post on November 12th, 1967, this Senator from Minnesota found the best way to describe it was with an analogy.
“Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game and dumb enough to think it’s important.”
Not the greatest compliment to football coaches, but still accurate.
6. Winston Churchill
Here’s one politician with many great one liners to his credit. By far my favorite, however, is his explanation on why democracy, with all its flaws, still stands strong, given during a speech to the House of Commons on November 11th, 1947.
“Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”
Long live democracy. Fingers crossed.
7. Bob Dole
Former Senator Bob Dole was well known for his sharp tongue, and during the 1983 Annual Gridiron Club Dinner, held in Washington DC, he told a story about how one day he saw the three former presidents, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon standing beside each other, and couldn’t help but remark:
“Look! Hear no evil, see no evil… and evil.”
Good one, Senator.
8. Golda Meir
She was Israel’s first female Prime Minister, from 199 to 1974, and this was one of her favorite lines, first quoted by her in the New York Times, March 18th, 1969, to put her fellow diplomats in their place.
“Don’t be so humble, you’re not that great.”
Ooh, it stings.
9. Lyndon B Johnson
The 36th President of the United States, during an interview held in 1964, couldn’t help but notice the similarities between being the President, and being a donkey.
“Being president is like being a jack— in a hailstorm. There’s nothing to do but to stand there and take it.”
But let’s be fair, Mr. Former President. At least for the donkey, the storm ends!
10. Patricia Schroeder
(By Immanuel Giel, Wikimedia Commons)
I have saved the best (read: my favorite) for last. When this US Congressman (Congresswoman) of 20 years was asked by a male colleague, during her term, how she can be a Congresswoman and a mother at the same time, her answer pretty much covered it.
“I have a brain and a uterus, and I use both.”
Yes. On behalf of women everywhere, thank you, Congresswoman Schroeder.