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Politicians can say the stupidest things

“If you take out the killings, Washington has a very low crime rate.”
Marion Barry, Mayor of Washington, D.C.

“I always wait until a jury has spoken before I anticipate what they will do.” — U. S. Attorney General Janet Reno

“Reader, suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” — Mark Twain

Robert McGowan

Obviously, not all members of Congress are idiots, but we will concentrate on a few idiotic things said by politicians.

I have a small book containing more than 700 of the stupidest things that politicians, bureaucrats and others associated with government have ever said.

The book is titled “The Stupidest Things Ever Said By Politicians,” by Ross and Kathryn Petras, published by Simon and Schuster. (Incidentally, perhaps you have noticed that I often give information in my columns regarding the sources of my information. This is done in case you might want to order the book.)

Now, let us continue:

  • “It’s a very good historical book about history.” — Vice President Dan Quayle on Paul Johnson’s “Modern Times”
  • “I think that the free-enterprise system is absolutely too important to be left to the voluntary action of the marketplace.” — Congressman Richard Kelly (R. Fla.)
  • “We will not close any base that is not needed.” — Secretary of Defense Les Aspin
  • “I don’t want to cast asparagus at my opponent!” — unnamed Chicago politician during a debate
  • “I deny the allegations and I defy the alligators!” — indicted Chicago alderman
  • “It’s time for the human race to enter the solar system.” — Vice President Dan Quayle on the concept of a manned mission to Mars
  • “More education is not a pancreas.” — Mississippi state legislator commenting on a proposed state education plan
  • “The president doesn’t want any yes-men and yes-women around him. When he says no, we all say no.” — Elizabeth Dole, then assistant for public liaison to President Reagan
  • “This is still the greatest country in the world, if we just steel our wills and lose our minds.” — President Bill Clinton
  • “I have opinions of my own — strong opinions — but I don’t always agree with them.” — President George Bush
  • “It isn’t pollution that’s harming our environment. It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.” — Vice President Dan Quayle
  • “I will not tolerate intolerance.” — Senator Bob Dole on Pat Buchanan, his 1996 rival for the Republican presidential nomination
  • “A tree’s a tree. How many more do you need to look at?” — Ronald Reagan

Hanging on a wall in my study is a plaque presented to me on May 31, 1965, by Memphis State University. It states: “Distinguished Teaching Award, On Selection by His Fellow Teachers, Students, and Alumni for Distinguished Teaching Service During the Year 1968-1969.” Maybe I was fortunate that there wasn’t a recorder in my lecture room during those days that would record “some stupid things said by professors.”


Written by Robert McGowan, a Bartlett resident, former professor of biology at the University of Memphis and regular columnist for The Bartlett Express. Contact him at (901) 828-6039 or via email at ellen1324@gmail.com.

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