Quotes: American Political System

You vote where you shoot.
—Slogan of the American Civil War

    open/close all folders 

    Film — Live-Action 

How can you refuse to fund my research? or not invite me to participate in yours? You National Institutes of Health received my first request for money 2 years ago. It took you 1 year just to print out application forms. It's taken you 3 years for my first reported case just to show up here for a look. And the paltry amount of money you are forcing us to beg for out of the $4 billion you receive every year to protect the health of the American people won't come to anyone before only God knows when. A promising virus has been discovered in France. Why do you refuse to cooperate with the French? Why are we told not to cooperate with the French? Just so you can steal a Nobel Prize while something is being passed around that causes death?
Dr. Bruckner, The Normal Heart

American politics. Governors, Senators, Congressmen... No wonder nothing ever gets done.

Rick Davis: Listen, I too wish that the American people would choose the future Abraham Lincoln or Thomas Jefferson, but unfortunately, that's not the way it works anymore. Now it takes movie-star charisma to get elected President, and Obama and Palin, that's what they are — they're stars.
Steve Schmidt: Primary difference being Sarah Palin can't name a Supreme Court decision, whereas Barack Obama was a constitutional law professor.
Davis: Fuck you.

    Live-action TV 

I've paid approximately million and a half dollars in income tax over the past twenty-five years. If I get sick, they oughta have a nurse come to my house and blow me for free!
Jim Cornette on American health care

This administration doesn't even need an opposition party, do you know that? We do fine by ourselves.
Toby Ziegler, The West Wing

The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn't for any religious reasons; they couldn't find three wise men and a virgin.
Jay Leno

It was one of the funniest/strangest/most disgusting and confusing things I've ever seen in my life.
Rachel Maddow after the 2012 Republican National Convention

    Stand-up Comedy 

We have a two-party system: the Democratic Party, which is a party of no ideas, and the Republican Party, which is a party of bad ideas. And the way it works is — the Republican stands up in Congress and goes, "I got a really bad idea!" And the Democrat says, 'And I can make it shittier!'
Lewis Black, Black on Broadway

You want politics in America? I'll show you politics in America. Here it is, right here. "I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs." "I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking." "Hey, wait a minute, there's one guy holding out both puppets!"
Bill Hicks, "Rant in E-Minor"


You see, we piddle, twiddle, and resolve
Not one damn thing do we solve
Piddle, twiddle, and resolve
ever solved in
Foul, fetid, fuming, foggy, filthy
John Adams, 1776

"Forward, America! Forward! ...to the hallowed principles of our forefathers! Forward! ...to the sweet tranquility of the status quo! Forward! ...to yesterday!"
Sen. Billboard Rawkins, Finians Rainbow

    live-action tv 

The Tea Party — sort of like UKIP with guns.
Ian Hislop, Have I Got News for You

Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has taken a new job at a Wall Street investment bank. Now he can finally have some influence in Congress.

As heirs to a legacy more than two centuries old, it is understandable why present-day Americans would take their democracy for granted. A president freely chosen from a wide-open field of two men every four years; a Congress with a 99% incumbency rate; a Supreme Court comprised of nine politically appointed judges whose only oversight is the icy scythe of Death—all these reveal a system fully capable of maintaining itself. But our perfect democracy, which neither needs nor particularly wants voters, is a rarity. It is important to remember that ... dozens of foreign countries still long for a democracy such as ours to be imposed on them.
Jon Stewart et al, America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction

    video games 

It's all a show. 'Democracy' is just a filler for textbooks! Think about it! Do you actually believe that public opinion influences the government?
President James Johnson, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

Alex Shrub: If you read the Constitution, it's a sacred document that should not be changed. Under our constitution, women couldn't vote! But then the liberals come in cryin' crocodile tears... We need to get scare-mongers and non-believers—men like you Chavez—under control! I've got a good mind to get your funding removed.
Maurice Chavez: We don't get any funding.
Alex: Exactly! Uh... Good! Heh, you won't see a penny out of me!
Pressing Issues, GTA Radio

    web animation 

I think conservatives in America have been hoist by their own petard. They just kept knocking down any chance of gun legislation and effectively forced America to accept that the massacres are just something it's gonna have to accept now and again! And then they wonder why no one seems concerned with seeking revenge for 9/11 anymore.

    web original 

Every political revolution in America consists now of one party just trying to undo all the shit the other political party did. No actual law has been preserved in this country since, like, 1968.
Drew Magary, Make It Stop

This is why we can’t have nice things.

No seriously, the biggest block there is to fixing the myriad of things wrong with everything in our society is the fact that a dedicated bloc of our populace reacts like winged howler monkeys whenever an ever-growing list of verboten words are invoked. As such, something like this which is literally the least anyone could do about the problems surrounding rape in schools this country the world is deemed instantly bad evil wrong and needs to be destroyed simply because it involves 'White House' 'college' and 'sexual'.
Sadly, No! rebuts Jonah Goldberg's "What War on Women?"

Neoconservative: Originally used to describe left-wingers who crossed the floor, neocons are on the authoritarian right, rather than the traditionally conservative libertarian right. They tend to be very pro-war and adopt the mentality of "We're better than you and we know it."

Some more vulgar people call them Neocunts.

America Speaking Out is a website created in 2010 by the U.S. Republican Party to solicit citizen input. The site is buggy, runs very slowly, often rejects posts as inappropriate because they contain words like 'basement', 'satisfied', 'growth', 'enlargement', or 'excited'...This atrocious example of Poe's Law flypaper was paid for with tax dollars.

There was a time when calling the president un-American was a beyond-the-pale transgression; now it’s not even news when a news anchor or an elected official does it. [John] Birchian conspiracies once left to fester at the lunatic fringe of our politics have encroached onto center stage.
Elbert Ventura

Even from before his run for lieutenant governor Jackson was known for his Biblically inspired campaigns in favor of greed. “Money magnifies the character of an individual,” said Jackson, arguing that charity shouldn't go to the poor but instead upward, to the wealthy, since they are the “job creators”. In his book he even suggests — not particularly surprisingly — that giving your money directly to him if you start feeling a deep connection to God, and that doing so will convince God to let you “prosper”. He has also taken a firm stand against federal disaster relief since such relief turns government into God, the idea being presumably that disasters are God’s just punishment anyways and it would be very ungodly (playing God or questioning His judgment) to help the disaster victims.

That should of course have made him all set for the aforementioned run for lieutenant governor.
Encyclopedia of American Loons on E.W. Jackson

Think about everything you hear about Washington in the news: The disingenuous, corrupt, racist white jerkoffs bankrupting the country. The gutless fucks who say that there's 'no simple solution' to people with AR-15s shooting up public places... but legislate what gay people can order at Chipotle. The defense lobbyists and 'think tank' fucks who never grew out of playing with toy soldiers, who go home at the end of each day to their house in Reston and jack off thinking about dropping bombs on brown people.

Think about all that, and then imagine the sports franchise they deserve.

Voila. Redskins.

Chris: Somewhere in Middle America, a bunch of schoolchildren are watching the nuclear arms conference (?!), and their teacher, who looks to be about sixteen years old, suggests they write to their congressman. In response, young Jeremy stands up and, in a speech that is hilariously overdubbed and way deeper than you’re expecting, demands that they write to Superman instead.
David: It does seem like an idea that a kid would have, just not stated so eloquently. I do love what a facile idea writing to someone’s Congressman is, though. “Let’s teach these children disappointment and the ineffectiveness of government at an early age!”
—Chris Sims and David Uzumeri on Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

Our electoral system really begins to resemble professional wrestling the more you look at it. John Kerry, a popular, long-serving Senator from Massachusetts turned into a bumbling idiot when he ran against fellow Bonesman George Bush in 2004. You could almost read from the script he was following.

Another popular Massachusetts pol, Mitt Romney, played the mustache-twirling evil rich guy role to the hilt in 2012, despite having served in an overwhelmingly Democratic state as a classic Northeast moderate. He even went so far to run against Obamacare, which was modeled on his own (successful) health care program! He too seemed ordered to take the big dive and ensured he would lose by enlisting Ayn Rand radical Rep. Paul Ryan, whose budget plans scared all of the seniors and others dependent on Social Security. Otherwise, like Kerry, there's a good chance he would have won...Again, it's like some script is being followed.
Christopher Loring Knowles, "A Very Sirius Election — Pretending The Wars Are Done"

America has no landed aristocracy. We are shallowly rooted in our own soil, a highly mobile people, and we cannot delude ourselves about an organic connection with the land as the descendants of the displaced original inhabitants still live among us. And our family arrangements, well, let’s just say that absolute patriarchal authority doesn’t have pride of place these days.

So what could possibly motivate monarchical yearnings among American conservatives? A fear that the American people have failed and needs to be properly directed by the right people. A fear that existing privilege cannot be maintained without explicit resort to violence as a political principle. A resolute inability to identify with the majority of the citizenry, the abiding conviction that one is a member of the natural but unrecognized elite.
Noah Millman, "Monarchists, Neo-Reactionaries and Neo-Fascism"

Unlike the Democrats, who never stray far from career politicians when selecting a presidential candidate, Republicans always seem to be looking for some sort of otherworldly savior to waltz in and take the country by storm. Someone unsullied by, you know, much (if any) actual experience in holding office, winning elections, and governing on a daily basis. Though GOP voters typically end up selecting major-state governors (Reagan, Bush II) or long-serving, partly mummified senators (Dole, McCain), they spend a hell of a lot time in primary season dancing with some pretty strange suitors.

Perhaps it’s the analogue to the longstanding and still-potent jibe that Republicans don’t really want to govern. They disdain the political process to such a degree that it takes them forever to pull the switch for a politician. Even the 2012 nominee Mitt Romney was touted more for his supposed business acumen as a turnaround specialist at Bain Capital than he was for his record as governor of Massachusetts. I’d argue, too, that Romney’s refusal to stand for reelection as governor in 2006 mirrored his party’s damaging dislike of politics. If you want to be president but can’t be bothered to actually learn how to govern, well good luck with that.

Rand Paul and Sharon Angle and Pat Toomey. Political monsters that make the Reagan-Thatcher axis of the 1980s — the politics so bad that they formed the dystopic vision of Cyberpunk in the minds of artists — look like cuddly kittens. Far-right wing Republicans of the 1980s are now ostracized from the party as excessively moderate, downright liberal. This is a death god too...The only possible salvation is this — that the eschaton moves so quickly now that by Wednesday they will already be out of power.

If we are to insist that everyone is entitled to whatever he can obtain in a free market, then at least we ought to try having a free market. And a free market cannot tolerate some of the most common historical features of capitalism: aggressive land theft on a massive scale, arbitrary regulatory and licensure systems that function as high cost barriers to market entry and preclude opportunities for self-employment, various direct and indirect subsidies that redistribute wealth to connected firms, and a government-created system of financial laws and institutions which produces the Wall Street cartel we have today. It turns out, then, that capitalism doesn’t quite square with what libertarians really want when we endorse free markets. We’re not as close to a free market system as even many libertarians like to pretend. It is not a matter of making a few tweaks and free market reforms here and there, of privatizing a few governmental monopolies and deregulating a few industries. Rather to get there from here would mean a thoroughgoing, systematic departure from the capitalistic tyranny we have and have had for a long time, a system which indeed is the direct successor of statist systems before from feudalism to mercantilism.
David S'Amato, "Left Wing Individualism"

Jesus Christ once told his followers: No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. - Luke 16:13.

Increasingly, the religious right is trying to do exactly that, intertwining Evangelical fundamentalism with unfettered capitalism — with disastrous results for the environment. Thus, American political life is increasingly dominated by Christians who reject the religious ethos, in favor of capitalist ethos...Conservative Evangelicals are not concerned with dwindling biodiversity, the destruction of ecosystem, rampant pollution, global warming and the numerous other environmental challenges we face. Rather they, with the business community, are concerned with the bottom line. The future is irrelevant (unless we’re talking about government debt).
Sean McElwee, "5 Biblical Concepts Fundamentalists Just Don’t Understand"

    real life 

Washington, D.C. is Hollywood for ugly people.
Unknown origin

Sir, I agree to this Constitution, with all its faults, — if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of government but what may be a blessing to the people, if well administered; and I believe, farther, that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other.
Benjamin Franklin, speech to the Constitutional Convention (1787)

I bet after seeing us, George Washington would sue us for calling him 'father'.
Will Rogers

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.
Alexis de Tocqueville

Democracy is beautiful in theory; in practice it is a fallacy. You in America will see that some day.

The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can 'throw the rascals out' at any election without leading to any profound or extreme shifts in policy... Either party in office becomes in time corrupt, tired, unenterprising, and vigorless. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.
Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time

Dan Rather: "Well, here they are. Your candidates for President, every one of them as dumb as a porcupine stuck to a watermelon. These are the types of idiots we produce for public office. Do your duty in November: move away."

The hatred Americans have for their own government is pathological, if understandable. At one level it is simply thwarted greed: since our religion is making a buck, giving a part of that buck to any government is an act against nature.

The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced.
Zen Masters: The Wisdom of Frank Zappa

Why am I forced to walk the Earth with this conscience? Maybe, if there's such a thing as reincarnation, I can come back down to Earth and just trample all over people without giving a damn about anyone but myself. That would be awesome. That's it — in my next life, I'm coming back as a conservative.
Mick Foley, The Hardcore Diaries

Traffic costs our drivers over $100 billion annually. Airport delays cost another $22 billion. Or we could get to work on education. If graduation rates don’t increase, we will have a shortage of 5 million workers by 2020 — not because we lack the manpower, but because the jobs will require education that our students aren’t receiving. We could clean up our air: MIT researchers found that pollution kills more than 200,000 Americans every year — more than traffic accidents, homicides, suicides and our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. There are so many real problems that need solving.

But distracting, divisive laws like the one Indiana initially passed aren’t just bad for the country, they’re also bad for our party...We must be the party that originally attracted this young Austrian immigrant.
Arnold Schwarzenegger on Indiana's Religious Freedom Law

Hurricane Katrina has just hit New Orleans, what do you do? If you said "privatize public schools", you might just be a conservative.
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

In Canadian politics, comparing universal medicine to a Nazi plot gets you thrown out of the party. In the United States, it makes you the front-runner.
Jonathan Kay

Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is that, in a democracy, the whores are us.
P. J. O'Rourke

I think the Reagan administration was sort of a peek into the future...Here's a brilliant thought that nobody had ever had before, as far as I know: let's make elections completely symbolic activities. The population can keep voting, we'll give them all the business, they'll have electoral campaigns, all the hoopla, two candidates, eight candidates—but the people they're voting for will then just be expected to read off a teleprompter and they won't be expected to know anything except what somebody tells then, and sometimes not even that.
Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power