One Tract Mind

When a politician or other public figure has a message so important that he has to insert it into all his speeches, no matter how irrelevant to what they're supposed to be about.

Compare Author Tract and Writer on Board, which is when the people at the keyboards are prone to this.


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  • Animal Farm: Many of Napoleon's speeches end with the dire warning that "Jones will come back" if the animals do not obey whatever his latest diktat is.

     Live Action TV  

  • David Letterman has a recurring bit where he shows a clip from "the new Osama bin Laden tape" where he talks about his Oscar picks, the Super Bowl, etc. He finishes, starts to lower the mic, then raises it again to say, "Oh, and Death to America."
  • Charlie Brooker's Newswipe - The time: February 2010, the man: David Cameron. The overriding compulsion: to use the phrase "Broken politics" at any and every opportunity. Even worse, this is a spin-off of his next favorite meme, "Broken Britain".
  • Inevitably came up a few times on The West Wing, such as in one episode where the Democrats were about to come out with their tax plan and Will, the new deputy communications director, was working with a staff of only four inexperienced interns to write tax policy into every measly statement the president or the White House was going to make in the coming days.
    Toby: Read me what you've got for the swearing in of the ambassador.
    Will: "Ambassador Stanis will help to build and sustain a new era of cooperation between the United States and Hungary, and let's please all remember that cutting capital gains taxes is a bad idea."
    Toby: ...Okay, you're gonna polish that up?
    Will: Yeah.


  • Parodied in Last Action Hero; Ah-nuld uses a mention of Hollywood to plug his restaurant, right after his wife told him not to. "It was a good opportunity."


  • One issue of MAD featured a comic strip depicting then-recent then-President George W. Bush as a superhero. His power was that as long as he kept saying "9/11!", he was invincible.

     Newspaper Comics  

  • A Doonesbury cartoon just before the 2004 election has George W. Bush's press secretary answer every single question with "9/11". The punch line:
    "Uh, Scott, is 9-11 the answer to every question now?"
    "Yes, it's 9-11, 24-7."
    "Until when?"
    "11-2." [Election day]

     Web Original  

     Western Animation  

  • In the Family Guy episode "It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One," Brian advises Lois, in her campaign for mayor, to pander to undecided voters by giving them short, simple answers. She tests out a few phrases, and when she gets the most applause with "9/11 was bad," she decides to make "9/11" the answer to all remaining questions.

     Real Life  

  • Cato the Elder, ancient Roman senator, made a habit of inserting the phrase "Carthago delenda est" ("Carthage must be destroyed") or "Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam" ("Moreover, I am of the opinion that Carthage be destroyed") into all his speeches, even on completely unrelated matters.
    • Different accounts put it as "It is for these reasons that I am of the opinion that Carthage be destroyed", which he would say at the end of a speech. Those listening must have been pretty confused after hearing that Carthage should be destroyed for totally unrelated events.
      • But he got his wish, although he didn't live to see the end of the third Punic War - the outcome was never in doubt, so he probably died satisfied. And the war itself was provoked by Roman request. Carthage couldn't hurt a fly at the time, and had even proven herself to be a faithful ally of Rome's. The excuse they used for war was that Carthage was defending its southern borders from barbariannote  incursions...
  • Polish politician Andrzej Lepper, for some time, ended all his speeches with "Balcerowicz has to leave." (For a reason.)