Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Quotes: Point of View. Political Conventions. Politics.

A collection of quotes on various topics. The sentence in bold face is a plain statement of the quote that follows.

Point of View
The long-term danger was not from communism but from ignorance, poverty and disease.
Point of view 501 JFK: The long-term danger…came not from communism but from ‘hunger, ignorance, poverty and disease: we must…keep those enemies the point of our attack, and make imaginative use of our scientific and technological capacity.’ Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

Look at things as they are, not through labels.
Point of view 592 JFK: How can we look at things as they are, not through party labels, or through position labels, but as they are…. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

No two people see the same thing in the same way.
Point of view xii I am aware that the other participants in this story would tell parts of it in other ways, sometimes because their memory of what happened differs from mine and, perhaps in even more cases, because no two people ever see the same events in exactly the same light. Watson, The Double Helix.

Man’s mind expands from looking at the horizon and shrinks from looking through a microscope.
Point of view 609 Lydgate: …a man’s mind must be continually expanding and shrinking between the whole human horizon and the horizon of an object-glass. George Eliot, Middlemarch.

Absence of a single day changed his view of the familiar scene.
Point of view 305 …no external change, but so sudden and important a change in the spectator of the familiar scene, that intervening space of a single day had operated on his consciousness like the lapse of years. Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter.

Political Conventions
They rehearse being spontaneous.
Political conventions 81 Spontaneity is all right provided they can rehearse it first. Newman, Strictly Speaking.

It’s not power for the sake of possessing power, but using power to change perceptions.
Political goal 202 What is important is not power per se, but using power to alter national self-perceptions when the moment is right--using it, if necessary, to forge a new national identity, to help the country arrive at a more expansive sense of what is possible…must in part reflect what is best about America and in so doing give people hope. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

The goal of politics is to forge a unity in society.
Political leadership 85 The state is a plurality which must be made into a unity and a community by education. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Aristotle.

Politicians have the choice of either persuading people or shooting them.
Politicians 56 Joyce Cary: But the politician is responsible for law, for physical security, and in a world of tumult, of perpetual conflict, he has the alternatives…of persuading people or shooting them. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Politics is torn between doing right and staying in office, between local and national interest, between private good and the general good.
Politics 100 JFK: Politics is a jungle...torn between doing right things and staying in office--between the local interest and the national interest--between the private good of the politician and the general good. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

Politicians must give the impression that they are concerned about something other than the next election.
Politics 101 JFK: ...the impression [successful parliamentarian leaders] gave...that they had something in their minds besides the next election. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

Politicians need to remember not to let their quarrels get too deep; they might need to work with the other person some time in the future.
Politics 101 JFK: ...in politics you rarely had friends or foes, only colleagues, and that you should never get in so deep a quarrel as to lose all chance of conciliation; you might need to work with the other fellow later. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

Being in politics means I get letters from jackasses like you who expect me to deliver on my promises the first day I am in office.
Politics 63 [John Steven McGroarty of California in 1934]: One of the countless drawbacks of being in Congress is that I am compelled to receive impertinent letters from a jackass like you in which you say I promised to have the Sierra Madre Mountains reforested and I have been in Congress two months and haven’t done it. Sorenson, Kennedy

JFK did not ignore his supporters, but he constantly tried to work with his opponents.
Politics 84 Never forgetting his supporters, the Senator [Kennedy] constantly wooed his opponents. Sorenson, Kennedy

You’re sure only of your mother’s vote and that only if she is registered.
Politics 85 JFK: “No one’s vote can be delivered with the possible exception of your mother’s--and make sure she’s registered.” Sorenson, Kennedy

Declined to make the documents available to the public because they were of a strictly private nature.
Politics 19 …moved for “a copy of the recipe by which the paupers’ soup was prepared, together with any documents relating thereto” … [which] the overseer steadily resisted; he fortified himself by precedent, appealed to the established usage, and declined to produce the papers, on the ground of the injury that would be done to the public service if documents of a strictly private nature, passing between the master of the workhouse and the cook, were to be thus dragged to light on the motion of any individual member of the vestry. Dickens, Sketches by Boz.

They will discuss vigorously issues on which they finally break off communication exactly where they were when they began discussing, but convinced that they have had the better of the argument.
Politics 519 Upon these, and many other momentous questions which agitate the public mind in these desperate days, they [political gentlemen] will discourse with great vehemence and irritation for a considerable time together, both leaving off precisely where they began, and each thoroughly persuaded that he has got the better of the other. Dickens, Sketches by Boz.

Lincoln concentrated on where events seemed to be heading.
Politics 467 Swett threw his light on how Lincoln managed [political] campaigns by ignoring men and by ignoring all small causes, but by closely calculating the tendencies of events and the great forces which were producing logical results. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

Understanding politics means understanding human nature.
Politics 505 Dana: [Lincoln] understood politics because he understood human nature. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

Surrounded by people, including his political friends, who abused him and misrepresented his views, Lincoln still tried to do what was right.
Politics 625 Robert H. Newell, creator of Orpheus C. Kerr (Office Seeker) on Lincoln: Abused and misrepresented by his political foes, alternately cajoled and reproached by his other foes-—his political friends—he still pursues the honest tenor of the obvious right…. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

Learning about individual people’s lives leads me to be wary of universal solutions.
Politics 37 It’s through the stories of people’s lives that I am moved and that I gain a hesitancy about universal solutions. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

Bradley walked the beaches of the Jersey shore and asked people to tell him what was on their minds.
Politics 38 Walking town meeting: What’s on your mind? Anything you want me to know? Anything you want to ask me? Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

Democrats must persuade people that America’s best days are ahead of them.
Politics 58 Above all, Democrats must give a ringing endorsement to the conviction that America’s best days lie ahead of it. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

Using legislative procedures and rules to contain an opponent.
Politics 75 During his tenure, Robert Byrd used procedure as a tool to control the Senate...intimidated those who might otherwise have challenged him by subtly threatening them with a procedural onslaught--a point of order, a second-degree amendment, an amendment in the nature of a substitute, and amendment to the underlying text; a motion to proceed, to reconsider, to adjourn, to recess; a call for the regular order, a call for a resolution under the rule. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

A politician’s greatest strength could become his greatest weakness.
Politics 177 My wife has a theory about politicians…that a politician’s greatest strength often becomes his greatest weakness. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

Although political defeat can be overcome, the emotional scars may be permanent.
Politics 207 Though [political] defeat can be overcome by another victory or by developing a new perspective or by going on to another profession, the character assaults and personal injuries of politics too often leave permanent scars. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

You can defeat an opponent by reducing his personality to a negative slogan.
Politics 207 …simplify [the political opponent’s] humanity until it is reduced to a negative slogan. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

Political opponents reduce all you have done to a few perceived failures.
Politics 210 …a [political] opponent seeks to make all the hours, days, months, and years of commitment count for nothing, and a few perceived or drummed-up failures count for everything. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

RFK had become a truth-teller, and truth-tellers almost never win.
Politics 360 He [Robert Kennedy] might not have made it to the nomination...seemed different—more truth teller than politician, and truth tellers rarely win the political prize. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

Politics tries to build the ideal social organization.
Politics xxviii Politics is the study of ideal social organization. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy.

Politics is party strategy to achieve the spoils of office.
Politics 20 ...politics, which is the strategy of party and the lust for the spoils of office. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Plato.

In politics we assume that anyone who can garner votes can administer a government office.
Politics 21 Plato complains that whereas in simple matters--like shoemaking--we think only a specially-trained person will serve our purpose, in politics we presume that every one who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Plato.

People use politics to magnify their own importance.
Politics 80 There is an invariable tendency among inferior men to magnify their own importance and puissance by organizing a [special-interest political] party. Mencken, Minority Report.

Almost all politicians are quickly forgotten.
Politics 149 The politician is the most transient of the world's great men[:] who knows who was Speaker of the House under Hayes? Mencken, Minority Report.

Ballot box revolutions produce as much excess as bullets.
Politics 151 It is sometimes overlooked that revolutions of the ballot often show just as much excess as those of the bullet. Mencken, Minority Report.

Party politics is manipulated for the gain of a few.
Politics 993 Is party the madness of many for the gain of the few? Emerson, The Conduct of Life: Wealth.

Politics is everywhere in life.
Politics 363 …another impressive demonstration of the universal fact that politics is life, everywhere in our time, that it is affected by everything and affects everything, even the hunger of a child. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

The art of politics is making what is necessary possible.
Politics 465 “The art of politics consists in making the necessary possible.” Charles Maurras. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

If age were the guiding rule, many famous Americans who were under the age of 44 would not have been able to make their contributions to our society.
Politics age 172 JFK: And if age, not experience, is the standard...then a maturity test excluding “from positions of trust and command all those below the age of forty-four would have kept Jefferson from writing the Declaration of Independence, Washington from commanding the Continental Army, Madison from fathering the Constitution...and Christopher Columbus from even discovering America.” Sorenson, Kennedy

Using alliteration in nominating speeches.
Politics and alliteration 92 Another approach to nominating is the alliterative...Richard Nixon... one who had demonstrated courage in crisis from Caracas to the Kremlin. Newman, Strictly Speaking.

Polls emphasize candidates who are perceived to be ahead rather than their proposals.
Politics and polls 73 Polls...put...the emphasis in an election in the wrong place, on who is thought to be ahead, rather than on what the candidates propose and what their election might mean. Newman, Strictly Speaking.

Candidates should emphasize their proposals rather than try to adopt the ideas that the public wants to hear and that will get them elected.
Politics and polls 73 Politicians should be encouraged to stand for what they believe in, not try to smell out the exact mosaic of attitudes and positions that will appeal to the greatest number. Newman, Strictly Speaking.

When he was elected to the Presidency, JFK was surprised to learn that things were as bad as he had said they were.
Politics humor 329 JFK: “The only thing that surprised us when we got into office was that things were just as bad as we had been saying they were.” Sorenson, Kennedy

Catholic Boston in 1948 supported Baptist Harry Truman because of the man he was.
Politics religion 164 Catholic Boston, he [Kennedy] said, had in 1948 overwhelmingly supported Baptist Harry Truman “because of the man he is.” Sorenson, Kennedy

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