Reflections on Elections

Sunday, November 11, 2012 – Reflections on Elections

I know nothing grander, better exercise, better digestion, more positive proof of the past, the triumphant result of faith in human kind, than a well-contested American national election. ~ Walt Whitman

Elections are a good deal like marriages. There’s no accounting for anyone’s taste. Every time we see a bridegroom we wonder why she ever picked him, and it’s the same with public officials. ~ Will Rogers

An election is nothing more than the advanced auction of stolen goods. ~ Ambrose Bierce

Do you ever get the feeling that the only reason we have elections is to find out if the polls were right? ~ Robert Orben

We think that democracy can change a lot of things, but we’re being fooled, because democracy is not the election. We’ve been taught that democracy is having elections. And it isn’t. Elections are the most horrendous aspect of democracy. It’s the most mundane, trivial, disappointing, dirty aspect. ~ Gael Garcia Bernal

Elections are held to delude the populace into believing that they are participating in government. ~ Gerald F. Lieberman

You will expect me to discuss the late election. Well, as nearly as I can learn, we did not have enough votes on our side. ~ Herbert Hoover

Win or lose, we go shopping after the election.” ~ Imelda Marcos

A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters. ~ Abraham Lincoln

If elected I shall be thankful; if not, it will be all the same. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Free election of masters does not abolish the masters or the slaves. ~ Herbert Marcuse

Voters inclined to loathe and fear elite Ivy League schools rarely make fine distinctions between Yale and Harvard. All they know is that both are full of rich, fancy, stuck-up and possibly dangerous intellectuals who never sit down to supper in their undershirt no matter how hot the weather gets. ~ Russell Baker

Once demagogy and falsehoods become routine, there isn’t much for the political journalist to do except handicap the race and report on the candidate’s mood. ~ George Packer

My opponent called me a cream puff. Well, I rushed out and got the baker’s union to endorse me. ~ Claiborne Pell

Every two years the American politics industry fills the airwaves with the most virulent, scurrilous, wall-to-wall character assassination of nearly every political practitioner in the country – and then declares itself puzzled that America has lost trust in its politicians. ~ Charles Krauthammer

In our brief national history we have shot four of our presidents, worried five of them to death, impeached one and hounded another out of office. And when all else fails, we hold an election and assassinate their character. ~ P. J. O’Rourke

Maybe a nation that consumes as much booze and dope as we do and has our kind of divorce statistics should pipe down about character issues. Either that or just go ahead and determine the presidency with three-legged races and pie-eating contests. It would make better TV. ~ P. J. O’Rourke

The American President has to take all sorts of abuse from liars and demagogues.… The people can never understand why the President does not use his supposedly great power to make ‘em behave. Well, all the President is, is a glorified public relations man who spends his time flattering, kissing and kicking people to get them to do what they are supposed to do anyway. ~ Harry S. Truman

In a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy. ~ Matt Taibbi

To be robbed and betrayed by a fiendish underground conspiracy, or by the earthly agents of Satan, is at least a romantic sort of plight – it suggests at least a grand Hollywood-ready confrontation between good and evil – but to be coldly ripped off over and over again by a bunch of bloodless, second-rate schmoes, schmoes you chose, you elected, is not something anyone will take much pleasure in bragging about.” ~ Matt Taibbi

An election is coming. Universal peace is declared and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry. ~ George Eliot

The whole framework of the presidency is getting out of hand. It’s come to the point where you almost can’t run unless you can cause people to salivate and whip on each other with big sticks. You almost have to be a rock star to get the kind of fever you need to survive in American politics. ~ Hunter S. Thompson

Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable – the art of the next best. ~ Otto von Bismarck

When the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of legislators; the instruments, not the guides, of the people. ~ Edmund Burke

Each candidate behaved well in the hope of being judged worthy of election. However, this system was disastrous when the city had become corrupt. For then it was not the most virtuous but the most powerful who stood for election, and the weak, even if virtuous, were too frightened to run for office. ~ Niccolo Machiavelli

If you put your politicians up for sale, as the US does (alone in this among industrialized democracies), then someone will buy them–and it won’t be you; you can’t afford them. ~ Juan Cole

You don’t have to fool all the people all of the time; you just have to fool enough to get elected. ~ Gerald Barzan

To win in this country these days you have got to campaign down to a thirteen year-old’s level of mental development. ~ Willie Brown

The politician is trained in the art of inexactitude. His words tend to be blunt or rounded because if they have a cutting edge they may later return to wound him. ~ Edward R. Murrow

Do not run a campaign that would embarrass your mother. ~ Robert C. Byrd

Democracy is a process by which the people are free to choose the man who will get the blame. ~ Laurence J. Peter

If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal. ~ Emma Goldman

Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other. ~ Oscar Ameringer

A politician should have three hats. One for throwing into the ring, one for talking through, and one for pulling rabbits out of if elected. ~ Carl Sandburg

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. ~ Winston Churchill

Don’t vote – it only encourages them. ~ Billy Connolly

A new poll showed that if the election was held today, people would be confused because it is normally held in November. ~ Kevin Nealon

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