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January 10, 2016

An honest politician is…

Simon Cameron honest politician quote WM

THE FAMOUS DISHONESTLY-ATTRIBUTED QUOTE:

“An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought.” 
      
Simon Cameron (1799-1889) 
       American businessman and politician who served as U.S. Secretary of War under President “Honest Abe” Lincoln 
       A legendary quip that has long been linked to Cameron, though
it appears that he never said it. In his excellent book, The Quote Verifier, quotation maven Ralph Keyes notes that there is no record of Cameron making any such remark. Keyes speculates that it was probably falsely attributed to Cameron by one of his many political enemies and over time was assumed to be an actual quote.

Mike Keefe cartoon. George Carlin Oxymorons

THE GEORGE CARLIN CONNECTION:

“An honest politician is as much an oxymoron as jumbo shrimp.”
       Harrison Finzel
       Arizona journalist
       In an article in The State Press newspaper, October 20, 2015
       George Carlin's Oxymorons cartoon by Mike Keefe

Joey Adams-8x6

THE JOEY ADAMS VARIATION:

“An honest politician is one who’s never been caught.”
      
Joey Adams (1911-1999)
       American comedian   
       From his column “Strictly for Laughs”
       The New York Post, January 5, 1999

Taylor Caldwell-8x6

CALDWELL’S COUNTERQUOTE:

“An honest politician is either a hypocrite — or he is doomed.”
      
Taylor Caldwell (Janet Miriam Taylor Caldwell; 1900-1985)
       British-born American novelist
       From her novel Captains and the Kings (1972)

H.L. Mencken-8x6

MENCKEN’S OBSERVATION:

“An honest politician is regarded as a sort of marvel, like a calf with five legs, and the news that one has appeared is commonly received with derision.”
     
H.L. Mencken (Henry Louis Mencken; 1880-1956)
       American journalist, editor, language maven and curmudgeon
       In his book The American Language (1919)

Richard Reeves-8x6[1]

REEVE’S OBSERVATION:

“In the good old days, an honest politician was one who lied only when he had to. But now lies are becoming the accepted language of government at the highest levels, the theory being that sooner or later the people of the country will become so confused and disillusioned that they will just mind their own business, and leave governing to well-placed liars.”
      
Richard Reeves (b. 1936)
       American newspaper columnist
       “Bush & Co. Are Turning Washington into a Liar's Club”
       From his syndicated column, December 17, 1989

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Rleated reading: some recently-published political quote books...

 

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