Essential Political Maxims


“The greatest political storm flutters only a fringe of humanity.” G.K. Chesterton

“Almost nothing is as important as almost everything in Washington is made to appear. And the importance of a Washington event is apt to be inversely proportional to the attention it receives.” George Will

“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.” Eugene McCarthy

“All politics is actually based on the indifference of the majority.” John Reston

“Americans view politics with boredom and detachment. For most of us, politics is increasingly abstract, a spectator sport barely worth watching. Since the average voter “believes that politics will do little to improve his life or that of his community, he votes defensively, if at all.” E. J. Dionne

“The Constitution is not an instrument for government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government‑‑lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” Gouvenor Morris

“Liberty necessitates the diminutization of political ambition and concern. Liberty necessitates concentration on other matters than mere civil governance. Rather, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, freemen must think on these things.” Patrick Henry

“What frustrates many Americans about politics, I think, is that their hard-earned prosperity was supposed to produce widespread decency. It didn’t. And as a result, we’re mad.” James Q. Wilson

“Our national temper is sour, our attention span limited, our fuse short. We yearn childishly, for a cowboy in a white hat to ride into town. We are ripe for political disaster.” Simon Schama

“The voters think Washington is a whorehouse and every four years they get a chance to elect a new piano player. They would rather burn the whorehouse down.” Peggy Noonan

“We are perpetually being told that what is wanted is a strong man who will do things. What is really wanted is a strong man who will undo things; and that will be the real test of strength.” G.K. Chesterton

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