American Politics: 1960 to 1985

The concept of sharp dividing lines in politics and sociology is often arbitrary and often incomplete. Nevertheless, few would argue that 1960 represents a sharp dividing line in American politics. Much of what would happen in the early sixties was foreshadowed in the fifties, from the Cold War to Allen Ginsberg, but it was not until the new decade that they burst forth on the mainstream of American life.

JFK's election was to have ushered in a modern Camelot. Ironically, these hopes proved all too true. The Bay of Pigs invasion was bungled and the Soviets erected the Berlin Wall. In the end, the king was assassinated and his heir embroiled the nation in two losing wars, Vietnam and poverty, the former fought without the will to win and the latter mired in failed liberal ideologies.

The great hopes and idealisms of the sixties died in these events. As the flower children of the earlier part of the decade turned toward ugly campus riots and takeovers and the Weathermen constructed and threw their bombs, romantic illusions withered. Nixon persevered over Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern and the rest of the old liberal establishment before succumbing to a botched break-in at Democratic Headquarters.

The aberration that was Jimmy Carter sprang from this event, but the American public rectified this error at the earliest opportunity. The wonder boy from Plains was thrown out in favor of the man who many liberals saw as the epitomy of conservative evil, Ronald Reagan. Conservativism had once again become the dominant force in American politics. As one conservative newspaper columnist put it on election eve, 1980, amid the defeats of many of the major liberals of the previous decade -- McGovern, Frank Church, and the rest -- "We are the mainstream."

The Sixties

With the money I'm spending I could elect my chauffeur.
Joseph P. Kennedy, attributed to on son JFK's election

I have just received the following telegram from my generous Daddy. It says, "Dear Jack: Don't buy a single vote more than is necessary. I'll be damned if I'm going to pay for a landslide."
John F. Kennedy

There is no city in the United States where I get a warmer welcome and fewer votes than Columbus, Ohio.
John F. Kennedy

When we got into office, the thing that surprised me most was to find that things were just as bad as we'd been saying they were.
John F. Kennedy

I can evade questions without help; what I need are answers.
John F. Kennedy

We were eyeball to eyeball and the other fellow just blinked.
Dean Rusk, during the Cuban Missile Crisis

I think I made his back feel better.
Marilyn Monroe, about John F. Kennedy

It's hard to understand all this fuss about John F. Kennedy. After all, Richard Nixon didn't just concentrate on women. He tried to do it to everybody.
Richard Aregood, on stories about JFK's womanizing

Barry Goldwater has definitely decided to be a candidate in '64. He will campaign in all thirteen states.
George Carlin

...the traces to the East haven been broken, the Republican party will never again be dominated by the editorial writers for the New York Herald Tribune. Free at last.
William F. Buckley Jr., 1964

They [Theodore White and Lou Harris] took turns weeping, and finally concluded that Rockefeller got the votes of everyone in California who is a Negro, a Jew, a Mexican, and a college graduate, while Goldwater got the votes of every millionaire. Which certainly makes California the land of opportunity.
William F. Buckley Jr., on Goldwater's defeat of Rockefeller in the 1964 California primary

I understand Jacqueline Kennedy has redone the White House in eighteenth-century style. Why, then, I'd fit in perfectly.
Barry Goldwater

We now have a president who tries to save money by turning off lights in the White House, even as he heads toward a staggering addition to the national debt. "L.B.J." should stand for Light Bulb Johnson.
Barry Goldwater

Of course, I may go into a strange bedroom every now and then that I don't want you to write about, but otherwise you can write everything.
Lyndon B. Johnson, to the press

John ain't been worth a damn since he started wearing $300 suits.
Lyndon Johnson, on then Governor of Texas John Connally who opposed much of the "Great Society"

You know when you're milking a cow and you have all that foamy white milk in the bucket and you're just about through, when all of a sudden the cow switches her tail through a pile of manure and slaps it into that foamy white milk. That's Bill Fulbright.
Lyndon Johnson

Nobody in the world can put on a political rally like that great executive Dick Daley of Chicago. He makes it so much fun being a Democrat that you don't see how anybody could be anything else.
Lyndon Johnson

Hubert Humphrey talks so fast that listening to him is like trying to read Playboy magazine with your wife turning the pages.
Barry Goldwater

You know when I first thought I might have a chance? When I realized that you could go into any bar in the country and insult Lyndon Johnson and nobody would punch you in the nose.
Eugene McCarthy

The polls show that 10 percent of the public are ready to vote for me even though they don't know I'm running. We hope that figure won't drop when they learn I'm in the race.
Eugene McCarthy

As much as I cherish your [McCarthy's] right to a platform as an independent candidate I am not going to sit here quietly and listen to you denigrate the two party system. It has served our country well over the last two hundred years.
John Anderson

Bobby Kennedy is so concerned with poverty because he didn't have any as a kid.
Ronald Reagan 1968

Mr. Rockefeller is due to entertain munificently at breakfast, and make his pitch. My advice to one invited guest was: Order caviar, and then say No.
William F. Buckley Jr., 1968

Bobby Kennedy and Nelson Rockefeller are having a row, ostensibly over the plight of New York's mentally retarded, a loose definition of which would include everyone in New York who voted for Bobby Kennedy or Nelson Rockefeller.
William F. Buckley Jr.

I'm not entirely upset by the Kennedy assassinations. In many ways, the two most dangerous men in the country were eliminated.
William Kuntstler

The Nixon Years

Of Richard M. Nixon: A foul caricature of himself, a man with no soul, no inner convictions, with the integrity of a hyena and the style of a poison toad.
Hunter S. Thompson

McGovern was very much like Henry Wallace, a man of aerial, even etherial, intentions who was so boring he made your skull feel like it was imploding.
Tom Wolfe

McGovern couldn't carry the South if Rhett Butler were his running mate.
Spiro Agnew

Mr. Fulbright hasn't said anything new or interesting or clever in five years; his intellectual well dried up the day after Walter Lippmann stopped writing his regular column.
Spiro Agnew

Asking Senator Fulbright's advice on foreign policy is like asking the Boston Strangler to massage your neck.
Spiro Agnew

It takes quite a bit of nerve for Democrats to complain about inflation. This reminds me of germs complaining about the disease.
Spiro Agnew

The President needs me at the White House. It's autumn, you know, and the leaves need raking.
Spiro Agnew

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
Henry Kissinger

We have three things in common: Irish wives, the ability to speak for 17 minutes without a verb, and the fact that we both speak with an accent.
Henry Kissinger, on himself and William F. Buckley Jr.

Dour, taciturn, formidably efficent, [John] Mitchell came across to liberals and civil libertarians as a hard-lining prosecutor with all the human graces of the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
Henry Kissinger

One thing I don't want around me is a military intellectual. I don't have to worry about you on that score.
Henry Kissinger, to Alexander Haig

The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.
Henry Kissinger

The President is aware of what is going on. That is not to say that something is going on.
Ron Ziegler, President Nixon's press secretary, 1971

Interregnum: From the Fall of Nixon to Jimmy Carter

If Lincoln were alive today, he would be turning in his grave.
Gerry Ford

To the great people of the government of Israel. Excuse me -- of Egypt.
Gerry Ford, at a dinner given in his honor by Egyptian president Anwar Sadat

He [Jerry Ford] played too much football with his helmet off.
Lyndon Johnson

Mr. Chairman, I think the record should show that for the first time since McKinley, we have a Republican president worth shooting, and I think that's a good sign.
Rep. James Johnson, after the attempted assassination of Gerry Ford

I've played everything -- baseball, football, basketball. I can still swim a mile a day. That's why I can't walk.
Barry Goldwater

I fear Washington and centralized government more than I do Moscow.
Barry Goldwater

Here is a good bill that's needed in America. If it's unconstitutional, let the U.S. Supreme Court reverse its opinion and get in line with New Hampshire and that will make it constitutional.
Meldrim Thomson, New Hampshire governor on a bill to authorize school prayers

No, no! Jimmy Stewart for Governor-- Reagan for his best friend.
Jack L. Warner, on Reagan's election as California governor

The Carter Years (1976 to 1980)

Last night when I was commenting on the FBI and the CIA, the sound went off for 27 minutes. I should have known better.
Jimmy Carter, after the first election debate, 1976

If, after the election, you find a Cy Vance as Secretary of State and a Zbigniew Brzezinski as head of National Security, then I would say we failed. And I'd quit.
Hamilton Jordan, before Jimmy Carter's 1976 election

I am convinced that UFO's exist, because I have seen one.
Jimmy Carter

We've created a Frankenstein monster with a Southern drawl.
Richard Hatcher, on Jimmy Carter

Jimmy used to drink liquor. Now he's running for president and he drinks Scotch, and I've never trusted a Scotch-drinker.
Billy Carter

I'm not the Carter who'll never tell a lie.
Billy Carter

Jimmy Carter, who embraced all manner of schemes to make America a second or third-rate country, came down so squarely in favor of the double nickel [the 55 mph National Speed Limit]...This is the same Jimmy Carter whose limosine with him in it, just a little later in his presidency, was timed at an average of 72 mph for the 21.5 mile trip from Detroit Metro to the Detroit Plaza Hotel. He didn't want to be late for a campaign appearance.
Patrick Bedard

President Carter says he doesn't "panic in a crisis." But that's not the problem. The problem is that he panics without a crisis.
Clayton Fritchey

...Muskie has the ideal temperment for the Carter administration's manner of dealing with issues of our times ranging from Iran to inflation.
When the going gets tough he cries.
Jim Finnegan, Manchester Union Leader editorial on the appointment of Muskie as Carter's Secy. of State

If you're in the penaut business you learn to think small.
Eugene McCarthy, on Jimmy Carter

The reason he [Jimmy Carter] says he never lies is because he thinks the truth originates with him.
Lester Maddox

He [Jimmy Carter] says his lust is in his heart. I hope it's a little lower.
Shirley MacLaine

...reelecting President Carter would be the equivalent of giving the Captain of the Titanic an award as Sailor of the Year.
William Loeb

Most of us had never seen a sober redneck before, and we have the Reagan Landslide to testify that none of us ever wants to see one again. It was a horrifying apparition. And ever since Jimmy Carter, all of us rednecks have had to be very careful to be drunk rednecks lest we turn into some kind of awful creature with big buck teeth and a State Department full of human-rights yahoos.
P.J. O'Rourke

In the current [Carter] administration, who can use the White House swimming pool and tennis courts is decided at the very highest level. President Ford did not bother himself with such minor details. He let me swim in the pool. He only got upset when I tried to walk across the water.
Henry Kissinger

Hamilton Jordan and Jimmy Carter: Coke and a smile.
Temple University student, after Hamilton Jordan was accused of using cocaine

Now that Mr. Carter has made a book of his diary, an adoring memoir entitled Keeping Faith, the notes read like a collection of letters sent from scout camp.
Lewis H. Lapham

The Reagan Landslide -- 1980

I'm convinced Mr. Reagan would never be elected-- I don't think his views are held by a majority of the American's the Republican party that's going to be committing suicide by nominating candidates of that genre.
John Anderson, Feb. 1980

Anyone dumb enough to get his political information from a comic strip deserves what he gets at the polls.
Gary Trudeau, when accused of aiding and abetting the Anderson campaign in 1980 through his Doonesbury comic strip

Anderson isn't a candidate, he's costume jewlery.
Jeffrey Hart

Reagan is the least likely of the three candidates to win.
Roger Masters, Dartmouth Government Professor before the 1980 presidential election

I think Ronald Reagan can make this country what it once was -- an arctic region covered with ice.
Steve Martin

We're going to get that little bug before that little bug gets my poll ratings down any further.
Gov. Jerry Brown, on the medfly

[Jerry Brown] is California's way of celebrating the Year of the Child.
Jimmy Carter

Teddy [Kennedy] doesn't want to be President; he just doesn't want anybody else to be President.
John Culver

Vote for Kennedy: Put a blonde in every pond.
1980 bumper sticker

There's still a most unpleasant smell.
I grant you, Teddy's been through hell,
But if I'd missed that bridge, I think
I'd write these verses from the clink.
W.H. von Dreele

In Washington I'm thought of as a conservative, but in Tennessee I'm thought of as a Bolshevik.
Howard Baker

Connally will always be remembered for his bright Nixon buttons and his weakness for milk shakes.
William Doty

He [John Connally] likes deep rugs and rich people.
Roy Evans

Hubert Horatio Hornblower...
Jimmy Carter, (Carter gaffe at the 1980 Democratic convention when he meant to refer to Hubert Humphrey)

Reagan has been stressing the orthodox budget balancing and government-trimming theme -- Scrooge economics from Snoresville -- with which the Republicans have been routinely losing elections ever since 1932.
National Review, during the 1980 presidential campaign

Jesse Helms wants me to move to the right, Lowell Weiker wants me to move to the left, and Teddy Kennedy wants me to move back to California.
Ronald Reagan

The [Carter] administration doesn't know the difference between a diplomat and a doormat.
Ronald Reagan

In a state like Vermont, a vote for Carter is a vote for Reagan.
Prof. Frank Smallwood, on the 1980 election

He [Reagan] likes to tell jokes and that's why he told the ethnic joke that got him into some trouble. Perhaps if reporters didn't overreact to a politician's telling the very same joke they routinely hear and tell in the city room, we'd get more humor.
Robert Scheer

Carter has the Midas touch in reverse. Everything Jimmy Carter touches turns to mush.
William Simon

A recession is when your neighbor is out of work; a depression is when you're out of work; and recovery? Recovery is when Carter's out of work.
Ronald Reagan

...during the debates, he [Carter] put my fears to rest. While discussing the disarmament treaty and nuclear warfare he revealed that he had discussed the situation with a close advisor who agreed the arms race was the most critical issue in the campaign.
That advisor, he revealed, was his daughter Amy.
I admire him for having so much faith in the child. But it surely must be chilly sitting up there in that tree house discussing international affairs.
Ken Carolan, Manchester Union Leader

Carter is doing a high-wire act over a cesspool, preaching all the way. Sinclair Lewis, thou shouldst be living in this hour. We have a Warren Harding impersonating Elmer Gantry.
National Review, on Jimmy Carter's campaign tactics

The Reagan Years

Reagan is both too fatalistic and too modest to be a crudaser. He doesn't have that darkness around the eyes of a George McGovern.
William F. Buckley Jr.

The Democratic party is really just a giant day care center for squabbling little groups.
Pat Buchanan

Net result [of the Dept. of Agriculture's Payment in Kind -- PIK -- program]: total farm income, now expected to be around $25 billion, this fiscal year, will exceed total federal subsidies by only a couple of billion. You could argue that those fellows out there on the fruited plain are in effect working for the federal government and that, therefore, the U.S. now has socialized agriculture under the Reagan Administration. Rich, eh?
Daniel Seligman, Fortune

Someone told me it was a round thing that gobbles up money. I thought that was Tip O'Neill.
Ronald Reagan, on Pac-Man

When it comes to giving tax breaks to the wealthy of this country, the President has a heart of gold.
Tip O'Neill

The evil is in the White House at the present time.
Tip O'Neill

Simply put, the cost [of the US invasion of Grenada] is loss of the moral high ground: a reverberating demonstration to the world that America has no more respect for laws and borders, for the codes of civilization, than the Soviet Union.
The New York Times

When we do in Grenada what the Soviet Union did in Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan, we lose moral authority and credibility.
Jesse Jackson

Ronald Reagan has held the two most demeaning jobs in the country-- President of the United States and radio broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs.
George Will

Ronald Reagan is not a typical politician because he doesn't know how to lie, cheat, and steal. He's always had an agent for that.
Bob Hope

Nobody's ever said a word about previous Presidencies and positions commissions took. It wasn't until Ronald Reagan came to office and if somebody happens to agree with Ronald Reagan then you are a pawn of Ronald Reagan.
Clarence Pendleton, Chairman of the Civil Rights Commission

I'm not a black leader. I'm an American leader.
Clarence Pendleton, when asked why many blacks do not agree with him even though he is a "black leader"

Equal means equal. It does not mean that you have separate lists of blacks and whites for promotion, any more than you have separate accommodations for blacks and whites for eating. Nothing will ultimately divide a society more than this kind of preference and this kind of reverse discrimination.
Morris B. Abram, Vice-chairman Civil Rights Commission

Should we also have a Sitting Bull national holiday to atone to the Indians?
Herbert Bateman, Va. congressman on Martin Luther King's birthday

Under the Democrats, we never lost the America's Cup.
Bob Neuman, Communications chairman of the Democratic National Committee

Koch: But let's leave out rural America with the cows.
Playboy: Cows? God, Ed Koch really is a snob!
Koch: Well, choosing between living with people and living with animals...
Ed Koch, in Playboy interview

Anybody who suggests that I run for governor is no friend of mine. It's a terrible position, and besides, it requires living in Albany, which is small-town life at its worst.
Ed Koch, shortly before running for governor of New York (and losing)

We don't need more politicians insisting we have deficits because you're not taxed enough. Those deficits ballooned from an economy that didn't grow enough and from 50 years of government spending too much.
Ronald Reagan

Revenues should be increased not by increasing the tax rates on the individual but by building a bigger economy for everybody.
Ronald Reagan

I like a President who tells jokes instead of appointing them.
Bob Hope, at Princeton, 1984

The American people aren't overtaxed. The government in Washington is overfed. The main difference between ourselves and the other side is: we see an America where every day is the Fourth of July. They see an America where every day is April 15.
Ronald Reagan

The three of you instructing the Republican Party on how to broaden its appeal is a little like Ayatollah Khomeini writing a sequel to How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Terry Dolan, to Republican Senators Lowell Weiker, John Chafee, and Robert Stafford

Reagan is not a racist. He just hates people.
Harry Edwards, UC Berkely sociology professor

Now Reagan has come. Now the plague has come to these shores. Now the plague has come as cynics foretold. The vision of an unspoiled paradise is gone to ashes. A child's pure dream of America is annihilated.
Michael Swift

Duarte is a moderate when it comes to civilian control of the military and curbing death squads. On economics, the man is almost a Marxist.
Malcolm S. Forbes Jr.

Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne had to call off her write-in campaign for re-election when it became clear that both her supporters were illiterate.
National Review

The fact that he didn't replace the buffalo with a bulldozer indicated at long last that James Watt may be moderating his views toward wildlife.
Jay Hair, on James Watt's changes to the US Department of Interior's seal to make the buffalo look right instead of left

It was clear from the beginning that this guy was going to have trouble in the nation's capital. He didn't smoke; he didn't drink, not even coffee; and, more important, he didn't compromise.
Eleanor Randolph, of James Watt

Within the Administration, whether Paul Volcker's renamed Federal Reserve chairman this summer or not is no longer the question. Who will replace him is what's being discussed. And is - almost - decided.
Malcolm S. Forbes, before Volker's reappointment March 28, 1983

If somebody had made that [deal] to me when I was a businessman, I would have said he proposed to give me the sleeves from his vest.
George Shultz, commenting on one of Andropov's disarmament proposals

Now I ask you: Do the hypocritical, pandering, gutless wonders in Congress intend to do anything after taking more testimony, from me or anybody else?
William Simon, former Secretary of the Treasury, in response to an invitation to testify on "the problem of the deficit"

Mr. President, we've taken off our "Kick Me" sign.
Jeane Kirkpatrick, to Reagan when asked about the difference between this administration and the last

Do you realize that at the moment we have Barry Goldwater fighting the Moral Majority, with The New York Times rooting for Goldwater? Times have changed.
William Rusher

If our planes were shot down, yes, they's wake me right away. If the other fellows' were shot down, why wake me up?
Ronald Reagan, after US fighters downed two Libyan jets

Reagan's half a disciple of Benjamin Franklin. He believes in early to bed.
Lyn Nofziger, Reagan presidential assistant

Welfare recipients are a faceless mass waiting for a handout.
Ronald Reagan

You know, politics has been called the second oldest profession. Sometimes there is a similarity to the first.
Ronald Reagan

It seems to me there are good deficits and bad deficits. Now, we have a deficit that comes from the militarization of our society and our policy and our approach to the global arena.
Victor Navasky, editor of The Nation

Put the president of the Sierra Club in a sealed garage with a tree. Put Ronald Reagan in a sealed garage with a running automobile. Wait to see which one of them yells to get out first.
San Jose Mercury News, editorial in reference to Reagan's statement about trees causing pollution is the Far Right today that establishes the terms of the nuclear debate. And in this context, in a room ringing with hysterical pleas on behalf of Reagan's eerie laser-beam technology, the MacBundys of the world seem eminently, refreshingly sane.
David Talbot, Mother Jones

Well, it is alarming to have a president [Reagan] who doesn't know what he is doing.
McGeorge Bundy

Poverty is the problem, not Communism.
Gary Hart, on Central America

They [Nicaragua] haven't had elections because they are in a state of seige by the United States. They would have had elections if the U.S. had left them alone. But the U.S. has mounted a full scale war against them. So how can you ask them to behave normally?
Allen Ginsberg

Authorities have finally declared Washington a disaster area. No, no, no, the other one.
National Review, after the eruption of Mt. St. Helens

It's just like old times: a German socialist government cooperating with Moscow to crush Poland. But the old crowd had better uniforms.
National Review, on the German government's refusal to oppose the destruction of Solidarity

The 1984 Campaign

Reagan "has conducted an arms race on earth," boomed Mondale. A race generally implies two parties. The Soviets contributed a little bit to this problem, if Mondale had not noticed.
Hugh Sidey, Time

The national Democratic leadership is going so far left, they've left America. Don't let them bury the American dream in their graveyard of gloom and envy.
Ronald Reagan

The leaders of the Democratic Party aren't soft on Communism. They're soft on Democracy.
Jack Kemp

Third parties in America gravitate not only to the extremes, but to irrelevance. (John Anderson's upcoming presidential campaign will undoubtedly confirm both tendencies.)
Charles Krauthammer, Time essay [Anderson decided not to run in 1984]

There are two barometers: national poll ratings and money in the bank. Clearly, it's Mondale and Glenn. It's a two man race.
Boston Globe correspondent, before the Iowa caucuses, 1984

The meeting [in San Antonio of the National Women's Political Caucus] featured a cattle show at which a herd of Democratic candidates-- Glenn, Cranston, Mondale, Hart, and Hollings-- pantingly pantomined their fidelity to feminism, stopping just short of a pledge to use nuclear weapons against any states that omit to ratify the Equal Right Amendment.
Daniel Seligman

Would anyone else like to say anything nice about women?
Ted Koppel, Democratic debate at Dartmouth

My good friend Walter Mondale is a good lapdog. He'll give them [special interest groups] everything they want. He'll lick every hand.
Fritz Hollings

[Mondale] was not born; he was appointed.
Fritz Hollings

Reaganism is not only at odds with the Judeo-Christian heritage, it will not work.
George McGovern, Address to the Democratic Convention

If Reagan wins, I'd sell the farm and buy a bomb shelter.
George McGovern, to farmers in Ames, Iowa

Heading for retirement, George McGovern says he looks forward to having "time to think." Better late than never.
National Review

I've paid my dues. I've earned your votes. Send me.
Jesse Jackson, announcing his candidacy

Jesse Jackson's `Rainbow Coalition' is showing all the colors of a rainbow at midnight.
National Review

We picked their cotton. We cooked their food. We nursed their babies. Now we can run their cities. We can run their states. We will run the country.
Jesse Jackson

I'm a Third World person. I grew up in an occupied zone [Greenville, South Carolina] and had to negotiate with the superpower, really the colonial power.
Jesse Jackson

Jesse Jackson has to get back to "I am somebody" instead of "I am some color."
Ernest Hollings

If Lt. Goodman [American airman whose release from Syria Jesse Jackson arranged] had not been black Jackson would have cared about as much what happened to him as he cared what happened to an empty can of 7-up.
Richard Grenier

Workers, black and white, need some kind of international affirmative action to protect them from unfair competition with unorganized or slave labor abroad and unfair competition with robots at home.
Jesse Jackson

The most critical problem we face, not only in the barrios, but in Nicaragua and Central America, is that of the threat of an invasion by the United States.
Jackie Jackson, wife of Jesse Jackson

When it came to the division of power, we did not get from the Jews the slice of cake we deserved... the Jews do not share with us control of wealth, broadcasting stations and other centers of power.
Jesse Jackson

Mr. Jackson offered a vision of democracy as a spoils system, of rhetoric as arousal without persuasion, of politics as an exercise in the cultivation of false hopes, and of policy as sterile, marginal posturing beyond the fringes of the national consensus.
The New Republic

With the help of Minister Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, Mr. Jackson has turned his rainbow into a violent black thunderhead.
The New Republic

Unfortunate. Unfortunate. Sometimes people struggling for freedom lose their way.
Jesse Jackson, of the Khymer Rouge's genocide in Cambodia

The Jews don't like Farrakhan, so they call him Hitler. Well, that's a good name. Hitler was a very great man.
Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam and supporter of Jesse Jackson in a Chicago radio address during March

If I were a white candidate, I'd have won the Democratic nomination.
Jesse Jackson

The boring white guys have finally got to Jesse. He's as boring as they are.
Washington Post reporter, at Dartmouth College Democratic debate

Fear and hatred are the legacy of Ronald Reagan. America's vision of peace and freedom [is being] blasted by the guns of the U.S. Navy in Lebanon, the guns of U.S. paratroopers in Grenada, and the guns of U.S. helicopters in Honduras and El Salvador.
Alan Cranston

It could well be the end of justice in America. Do not let Mr. Reagan get his hands on that court.
Walter Mondale, on letting Ronald Reagan pick Supreme Court justices

Glenn must think he's still in space. He's orbiting the issues faster than he orbited earth.
Fritz Hollings

Have you had a phone call from the Mondale campaign? If you haven't, just wait.
Glenn commercial, on Mondale's extensive phone-calling campaign

I've seen the film. And I'll tell you this, I'm glad Chuck Yeager isn't running for President.
Walter Mondale, When asked what influence he thought the film The Right Stuff would have on the Glenn campaign

Gary Hart is going to be all over the political spectrum fuzzing it up just like Jack Kennedy.
Robert Novak, predicting Hart's campaign strategy after New Hampshire

Over the next few months we're going to be distracted from our primary task which is attacking Ronald Reagan.
Mark Siegel, lamenting Hart's success

There may not be a 1988 if we give this man [Reagan] one more term in office.
Gary Hart

Without doubt, Hart's views on questions of nuclear disarmament and improving Soviet-American relations arouse interest and sympathy.
Sovetskaya Rossiya, Soviet Communist Party newspaper March 28, 1984

Are you attracted by his new ideas or his new poll ratings?
Pat Buchanan, to Ernest Hollings on his support for Gary Hart

Hart is still like that little tub of vaguely milklike gunk that comes with airline coffee. It is labeled a "nondairy" product. Fine: we know what is is non, but what is it?
George Will

On March 8 a poll showed Hart 9 points ahead of Reagan. So perhaps 60 million Americans, 55 million of whom had not heard of Hart a month ago, have suddenly decided thay want him to be leader of the free world. The public mind is not just soft wax, it's runny.
George Will

We won that state pretty decisively.
Gary Hart, after winning the Arizona primary on 4/15/84 at which he gained 17 delegates to Mondale's 15

I had a new idea on the way to this meeting this morning, but that doesn't mean we should put it in the platform.
Michael D. Barnes, Representative (Democrat - MD) on Gary Hart wanting some of his "new ideas" written into the party platform

We should have at least one new idea in the job training part of the platform. Otherwise, why don't we just take the 1964 platform and adopt it?
Timothy Wirth, Representative (Democrat - CO), Hart supporter

Fritz Mondale is not some synthetic Masked Marvel or Mystery Man. He is not made of silicon and micro-chip flakes. He is made of flesh and blood and brains.
Lane Kirkland, comparing Mondale and Hart

A bunch of nitwits.
Manchester Union Leader, summary of the Democratic field

Tomorrow, I'm going to a soup kitchen in Mobile. I think that will symbolize the insensitivity of this administration to human needs.
Walter Mondale

I can't wait until I see the guys at a legitimate soup kitchen when the press shows up and Mondale arrives in a limosine.

If you're tempted to believe with Governor Cuomo that government is just like Mom and Pop rather than Big Brother, just ask yourself one question: When was the last time all the IRS wanted from you was a hug and a kiss.
Sen. Paul Laxalt

[If the Democratic nominee turns out to be] Walter Mondale, I hope he picks Representative Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate. It would be a desperate move, but that's what it'll take to get rid of Reagan. Ms. Ferraro is no more unqualified than a lot of Vice Presidential candidates have been, and anyhow Mondale's in good health.
Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Republic 11 June 1984

It looks like Edith and Archie have turned out to be Pamela and Averell Harriman.
George Bush, after Geraldine Ferraro disclosed that she and her husband were worth $3.8 million

Why should Gerry Ferraro have to be qualified? Jimmy Carter wasn't.
i> National Review

The Democrats in San Francisco talked a lot about the future. Their theme seemed to be that America's future belongs to the wishers, the wasters, the whiners and the weak.
Gerry Ford, Speech to the Republican Convention

When the San Francisco Democrats treat foreign affairs as an afterthought, as they did, they behaved less like a dove or a hawk than like an ostrich -- convinced it could shut out the world by hiding its head in the sand.
Jeane Kirkpatrick, Speech to the Republican Convention

It was not malaise we suffered from; it was Jimmy Carter -- and Walter Mondale.
Jeane Kirkpatrick, Speech to the Republican Convention

Meanwhile, there is the other gender gap, among the nation's largest and most victimized minority, white males, who, according to a New York Times/CBS poll, prefer Mr. Reagan to Mr. Mondale by the astonishing margin of almost three to one.
National Review, October 5, 1984

Right now, if there's a gender gap problem, it's not Ronald Reagan with women; it's with Walter Mondale with men.
Patrick Caddell, Democratic pollster

"Soft on Communism" used to be a McCarthyite charge. Now it's becoming a Democratic campaign pledge.
National Review

The Democratic party today is not so much a political party as a milling herd, and the herd is easily stampeded.
R.Emmett Tyrrell Jr.

We are creating a political demolition derby, not a presidential debate. Those strange impulses in the American soul that have produced mud wrestling and The Gong Show seem to have claimed the national campaign.
Hugh Sidey, Time

The good news is that the president gets another chance. The bad news is that he'll be two weeks older.
Johnny Carson, after the first 1984 presidential debate

[Deficits are] a yawner. We, as Republicans, have talked about deficits and balanced budgets since the days of Roosevelt, and the people simply haven't listened, because they can't relate to those huge numbers.
Paul Laxalt, chairman of Reagan's campaign committee & Nevada senator

[The Democrats] will say that the Reagan administrtion has given benefits to the rich at the expense of the poor -- a term that they define broadly to include middle-income people, women, minorities, the aged, the young, farmers, steelworkers, and others.
Herbert Stein, Fortune

For almost 50 years polls have shown that a large majority of the public believe that the budget should be balanced, and for all that time they have elected office seekers who would not balance it. The public cares about deficits, but doesn't care much.
Herbert Stein, Fortune

Carter couldn't elect a dog-catcher.
Ed Koch, when asked how important he thought Jimmy Carter's support is

There was a time when "sound as a dollar" was a description, not a joke.
Ronald Reagan

You can never underestimate the ability of the Democrats to wet their finger and hold it in the wind.
Ronald Reagan

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