Photo Credit: Parker Johnson

Welcome to our curated collection of quotes on politics. These are about politics in general - not any particular political party. Many are cynical, and that seems to be the prevailing view of politics. Some are much more hopeful. And some just thoughtful. We hope you enjoy pondering them, and if you find them helpful, please share widely.

Crime does not pay as well as politics.

--Alfred Newman

Sometimes in politics one must duel with skunks, but no one should be fool enough to allow skunks to choose the weapons.

--Joseph Cannon

Politics calls for robust debate and criticism, but this should never descend to personal and demeaning slurs.

--Kim Beazley

The best politics is no politics.

--Henry M. Jackson

In politics, familiarity doesn't breed contempt. It breeds votes.

--Paul Lazarsfeld

Politics is the art of postponing decisions until they are no longer relevant.

--Henri Queuille

Politics is the science of who gets what, when, and why.

--Sidney Hillman

To let politics become a cesspool, and then avoid it because it is a cesspool, is a double crime.

--Howard Crosby

Politics, in a sense, has always been a con game.

--Joe McGinniss

In politics, you must let the other person have your way.

--Claiborne Pell

The politician is a biped; but he is probably an aberrant form of hyena.

--Abraham Miller

The only way to reform a politician is to hang him.

--Abraham Miller

I've always said that in politics, your enemies can't hurt you, but your friends will kill you.

--Ann Richards

There can be no wise politics without thought beforehand.

--Annie Besant

All art is political in the sense that it serves someone's politics.

--August Wilson

Frankly, if you do politics, you should not be thinking about your dignity.

--Aung San Suu Kyi

A politician is like quicksilver: if you try to put your finger on him, you find nothing under it.

--Austin O'Malley

Nobody likes, you know, the ugly parts of politics.

--Barbara Bush

Ideas are great arrows, but there has to be a bow. And politics is the bow of idealism.

--Bill Moyers

Politics is the womb in which war develops.

--Carl von Clausewitz

In politics it is necessary either to betray one's country or the electorate. I prefer to betray the electorate.

--Charles de Gaulle

Politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.

--Charles de Gaulle

Never underestimate the ego of a politician.

--Dan Brown

A politician is a person with whose politics you don't agree; if you agree with him he's a statesman.

--David Lloyd George

You have to believe that it's through politics that societies can lead social and economic and political change.

--David Miliband

You are who you are, and in politics, if you stay who you are, you do better.

--Elizabeth Esty

Absolute power does not corrupt absolutely, absolute power attracts the corruptible.

--Frank Herbert

Politics is a herd mentality. Politicians don't really lead. Politicians reflect what they think is consensus opinion.

--Gary Johnson

It is not in the nature of politics that the best men should be elected. The best men do not want to govern their fellowmen.

--George MacDonald

Politics should share one purpose with religion: the steady emancipation of the individual through the education of his passions.

--George F. Will

By the time a man gets to be presidential material, he's been bought ten times over.

--Gore Vidal

Modern politics is, at bottom, a struggle not of men but of forces.

--Henry Brooks Adams

Longer Version:

Modern politics is, at bottom, a struggle not of men but of forces. The men become every year more and more creatures of force, massed about central powerhouses. The conflict is no longer between the men, but between the motors that drive the men, and the men tend to succumb to their own motive forces.


Practical politics consists in ignoring facts.

--Henry Brooks Adams

Longer Version:

Practical politics consists in ignoring facts, but education and politics are two different and often contradictory things.


Politics... have always been the systematic organization of hatreds.

--Henry Brooks Adams

To err is human. To blame someone else is politics.

--Hubert Humphrey

In politics, an organized minority is a political majority.

--Jesse Jackson

Politics isn't about left versus right; it's about top versus bottom.

--Jim Hightower

Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.

--John Kenneth Galbraith

Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory.

--John Kenneth Galbraith

Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.

--John Kenneth Galbraith

Politics, as the word is commonly understood, are nothing but corruptions.

--Jonathan Swift

Where there is politics or economics, there is no morality.

--Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

Politics is the only field in which the more experience you have, the worse you get.

--Kinky Friedman

Finance is a gun. Politics is knowing when to pull the trigger.

--Mario Puzo

Enter politics, and you enter the glass house; there are no secrets and no places to hide.

--Nancy Gibbs

The crossroads of science and politics is a dodgy place.

--Nancy Gibbs

Politics hates a vacuum. If it isn't filled with hope, someone will fill it with fear.

--Naomi Klein

Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable -- the art of the next best.

--Otto von Bismarck

Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.

--Otto von Bismarck

Politics is the art of the next best.

--Otto von Bismarck

Politics is -- once in a while -- a forum for serious debate about political philosophy.

--P. J. O'Rourke

Politics is the one field you don't age out of.

--P. J. O'Rourke

Politics is a necessary evil, or a necessary annoyance, a necessary conundrum.

--P. J. O'Rourke

Politics won't allow for the truth.

--P. J. O'Rourke

Politics is the attempt to achieve power and prestige without merit.

--P. J. O'Rourke

The sad duty of politics is to establish justice in a sinful world.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long, has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong.

--Richard Armour

The difference between a rebel and a patriot depends upon who is in power at the moment.

--Sidney Sheldon

That mysterious independent variable of political calculation, Public Opinion.

--Thomas Huxley

In politics, sometimes you have to lie, or you make a promise that you cannot keep.

--Youssou N'Dour

Power, in a nutshell, is the ability to get things done, and politics is the ability to decide which things need to be done.

--Zygmunt Bauman

You may not be thinking about politics, but politics is thinking about you.

--Kerry Washington

We have, I fear, confused power with greatness.

--Stewart Udall

Politics is about the participation and engagement of the wider citizenry -- to miss that point would doom us to irrelevance.

--David Blunkett

Politics is only worthwhile if you are doing what you believe, regardless of the slings and arrows.

--David Blunkett

You don't go into politics unless you want to win.

--Rand Paul

Forget the consultants, the pundits and the pollsters; good policy is good politics.

--Jim DeMint

Politics is a blood sport.

--Aneurin Bevan

Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.

--A. J. Liebling

Politics is the art of realizing what there is to realize.

--Adam Michnik

Politics and ethics belong to different worlds.

--Adam Michnik

There are no true friends in politics. We are all sharks circling, and waiting, for traces of blood to appear in the water.

--Alan Clark

Politics is a lot tougher than physics.

--Burton Richter

Secrecy is the foundation of politics.

--Bing Gordon

Politics doesn't matter, policy does.

--Brian J. White

Is there decency left in American politics?

--Byron Dorgan

There's very little reason in politics these days.

--Cate Blanchett

Politics means facing up to hard choices and facing down prejudice, short-termism, the easy, tempting court of knee-jerk public reaction.

--Charles Kennedy

Politics is much too serious to be taken too seriously; equally, there are many aspects of it so laughable as to be lamentable.

--Charles Kennedy

Well, the role of money in politics is pretty corrupting right now.

--Caroline Kennedy

Politics is the most corrupt profession on Earth, no matter where you are.

--Charles Dance

Economics, politics, and personalities are often inseparable.

--Charles Edison

When politics is no longer a mission but a profession, politicians become more self-serving than public servants.

--Emmanuel Macron

As you make your bed, so you must lie in it.

--Daniel J. Boorstin

Politics will sooner or later make fools of everybody.

--Dick Armey

In politics you learn to always smile.

--Eliot Spitzer

Sometimes in politics, you think you've seen it all. Turns out I was wrong.

--Eliot Spitzer

The intersection of religion and world politics has often been a bloody crossroads.

--Elliott Abrams

The thing about politics is to plan 10 years ahead, and assume every year is your last.

--Ed Balls

Religion and politics are supposed to be separate.

--Eleanor Clift

People want change but not too much change. Finding that balance is tricky for every politician.

--Eleanor Clift

When something really comes from the soul, I think it has a truth that you cannot find in politics.

--Frank Rich

Politics and power is a realm of relative influence.

--Fareed Zakaria

The way politics divides the world is into friend and enemy.

--Francis Parker Yockey

Politics is activity in relation to power.

--Francis Parker Yockey

What matters most in politics is personality. It's not issues; it's not image. It's who you are and what you represent.

--Frank Luntz

Hope springs eternal, even in politics.

--Gwen Ifill

Politics makes estranged bedfellows.

--Goodman Ace

Politics is not a game for naive thinkers. You may go in as an idealist, but you certainly won't come out as one.

--Honeysuckle Weeks

A purely objective viewpoint does not exist in the cosmos or in politics.

--Howard Fineman

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