As they say in the mother country, let us eat and then spit on political dissidents!

First you win. Then you do good.

Be skeptical of concepts that divorce war from its political nature, particularly those that promise fast, cheap victory through technology.

My husband doesn’t apologize. Even to me.

If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.

I was privileged to consider him a friend and I am grateful that I had a few more times to be with him, on Tuesday and again last night, before he finally left New York for someplace better – although he’d probably argue that’s not possible.

In the light of the morning, he [Robin Li] realized that as a Chinese citizen, he had no choice, and from that point he implemented the government’s request without complaint. “It’s not an issue to me,” he says. “It’s just Chinese law. I’m not in politics. I’m not in a position to judge what’s right and wrong.

If you hear that something might be about to happen, call a press conference and demand it!

The admiration of his peers as a man rather than as a mere politician came easily to Bentsen as it had never come to men like Nixon or Clinton, who had to hold positions of power to gain respect.

Judging how the world will judge what you do – how a position will “play” – is an essential political skill. If you can’t predict what will work, you can’t survive in office. If you don’t keep your job, you can’t achieve what you think is right. The danger is when you stop caring about the difference between being right and being employed, or fail to notice that you don’t know what the difference is any more.

In Washington politics, it is easy to confuse limits with impotence. Accepting limits is equated with weakness. It is considered virtually un-American to argue that the United States might be incapable of doing whatever it wants.

“I come out of the Democratic Party, which in this century has produced Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. And which supported and sustained these programs which I’ve described tonight. Mr. Nixon comes out of the Republican Party. He was nominated by it. And it is a fact that through most of these last twenty-five years, the Republican leadership has opposed federal aid for education, medical care for the aged, development of the Tennessee Valley, development of our natural resources.”

The camera now presented a Richard Nixon whose chin framed a single bead of sweat, like a big white pearl. Whose eyes shifted nervously before fixing into an expression that could only be described as a glower, and whose microphone, for some reason, squeaked like chalkboard as he mustered his smug reply: “I have no comment.” Then he swallowed, and the microphone picked that up – a gulp heard round the world. “I felt so sorry for Nixon’s mother tonight,” Mrs. Rose Kennedy later remarked.

“I think Mr. Nixon is an effective leader of his party” – (let’s see Dick try to back out of that one) – “I hope he would grant me the same. The question before us is which point of view, and which party, do we want to lead the United States.”

Hayek said we needed to think of the world more as gardeners tending a garden and less as architects trying to build some system.

The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something. The millions who are in want will not stand idly by silently forever while the things to satisfy their needs are within easy reach.

We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization. We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is capable of perfect disinterestedness in its exercise, nor become complacent about particular degrees of interest and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimized.

It isn’t enough even to be a poet…that’s why politics still casts such a shadow over our lives.  But even having said this, neither would find it in him to add what he could not admit even to himself: It’s because we failed to find happiness in poetry that we find ourselves longing for the shadow of politics.

That’s one of my Goddam precious American rights, not to think about politics.

[Bill Clinton] clutched his throbbing manhood. Monica said, “I can see why they call you a New Democrat. You lean to the right.”

But Martin treated everyone the same.

Even diplomats.

It was an odd democratic tic he had.

The closest Muffler Boy got to politics was an occasional reference to the “sixties generation,” which had gained control of the nation’s capital. Butler was a member of the Brady Bunch generation, an afterthought at the end of the baby boom, and he had a different set of resentments: he was sardonic, not inspirational – a reaction to the pompous self-regard of Charlie’s contemporaries. And he had a nice feel for politics.

There was an elegance to good politics. It was celestial navigation – indirect, subtle, measuring your path by flickering lights, calibrating moving targets. It was all about finding the most artful way to frustrate your enemies, to achieve what you wanted. But the game had been mechanized and denatured by the marketers; it had grown ugly and stale.

ROB REINER: If those were the only people speaking at this convention, I would agree, that would be — but as we say, the Democratic Party has a very large tent. We are the party of inclusion. I mean, when we hold a convention, it’s not like a Utah Jazz basketball game, where there’s a lot of black people on the floor and white people in the stands. We do actually have inclusion. We have a Southern Baptist and a northeastern Jew, and we really are — I mean, I was concerned when I saw them talking about diversity, like the Republicans were talking about the party of diversity and the party of inclusion, I mean, how do they define diversity? Having two guys to head the ticket from two different oil companies? Is that the definition of diversity?

MARY MATALIN: You’ve been practicing your lines, Rob.

Heroism is a human exception. A person who lives a normal life, which is made up of twenty thousand little compromises every day, is untrained to suddenly not compromise at all, let alone to withstand torture.

Words were weapons, for him, even though he meant them to be weapons of peace in the midst of war.

This was the perfect medium for changing the way most Americans thought about the nation’s founding acts. Lincoln does not argue law or history, as Daniel Webster did. He makes history. He does not come to present a theory, but to impose a symbol, one tested in experience and appealing to national values, with an emotional urgency entirely expressed in calm abstractions (fire in ice). He came to change the world, to effect an intellectual revolution. No other words could have done it. The miracle is that these words did. In his brief time before the crowd at Gettysburg he wove a spell that has not, yet, been broken – he called up a new nation out of the blood and trauma.

“…losing everything overnight would not seem so strange to me. Y’understand? Y’understand me? I can go back to the Midwest. I can work in the mills. And if I have to, I will. Anything but to become a rabbit like this guy. That’s what you are not politically,” he said, looking at last at Goldstine – “not a man, a rabbit, a rabbit of no consequence.”

In sharp contrast with others, we are ready to take risks and to calculate the risk. Others are brave in the dark; thinking would just slow them down. But the truly brave are those who face danger undeterred by full recognition of life’s terrors and it’s delights.

In Europe during most of the twentieth century (here come a few shameless generalizations), the political thinkers of the right and the left have pictured the best of all societies as something other than democracy. The better world of their fancy might have been (depending on party affiliation) feudal, fascist, Communist, or revolutionary socialist in one of several versions – but it was not likely to be democratic in any ordinary sense. In the European imagination, democracy was a politics of compromise and true. It evoked a spirit of tolerance, moderation, caution, sobriety, rationality, and fatigue, which might amount to wisdom, but also to mediocrity. Democracy was something to arrive at only when the bright dream of exterminating one’s enemies no longer seemed within reach and the notion of a truly superior society had been abandoned. It was a “secondary love derived from a primary hatred,” in Andre Gluckmann’s phrase.