Day by day, the presidential wannabes are marching across the land pontificating, posturing and promising. They’re shaking hands, kissing babies, sharing a cup of coffee or a beer — depending on the group of constituents they are trying to impress.
If you’re like me — and many friends I’ve spoken with — the thought that these increasingly strident campaigns will continue to bombard us for 11 more exhausting months is enough to make an isolated cabin in the woods sound like an inviting hideaway till Nov. 6, 2012.
Of course, frustration with the political scene is certainly nothing new. Through the years countless citizens, both great and common, have voiced their views on the system and those who operate inside of it.
I recently went on a search for the best recorded thoughts I could find dealing with politics and politicians. The words of wit and wisdom express what many of us have felt.
For instance, actor Larry Hagman summed things up with, “My definition of a redundancy is an airbag in a politician’s car.”
And Henry Kissinger, who knows a thing or two about the topic, once said, “Ninety percent of the politicians give the other 10 percent a bad reputation.”
Long ago, political heavy weight Morris Udall came up with a “Prayer for Politicians” It entreated, “Teach us to utter words that are tender and gentle. Tomorrow we may have to eat them.”
Eugene McCarthy pointed out an ever-present problem of politicians when he admitted, “It’s dangerous for a national candidate to say things that people might remember.”
Long ago entertainer Texas Guinan said, “A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country.”
David Border made an interesting point when he said, “Anybody that wants the presidency so much that he’ll spend two years organizing and campaigning for it is not to be trusted with the office.”
Margaret Thatcher, who had first hand knowledge of the subject, once said, “In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man; if you want anything done, ask a woman.”
As we all know, politics often brings out the insults — like this one from Will Durst. During a long ago race for the White House, he said of a leading candidate, “Walter Mondale has all the charisma of a speed bump.”
During that same campaign, Jay Leno added his own brand of humor with, “Dukakis is the Greek word for Mondale.”
Another wit summed up the road to political success with, “Get all the fools on your side and you can be elected to anything.”
Calvin Trillin weighed in with this one. “The way I read Billy Carter’s testimony, he was a model citizen himself until the voters went and ruined his life by making his brother President.”
Senator Robert C. Byrd had a good rule of thumb when he said, “Don’t run a campaign that would embarrass your mother.”
Napoleon Bonaparte had a point when he noted, “In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.”
But one of my favorite quotes came from former President Ronald Reagan who said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.