Eugene McCarthy

American politician (1916-2005)

Eugene Joseph "Gene" McCarthy (29 March 191610 December 2005) American politician from the U.S. state of Minnesota, serving in the U.S. House of Representatives (1949–1959) and the U.S. Senate from 1959 to 1971 and playing a major role in the 1968 presidential election, unsuccessfully seeking the Democratic nomination on an anti-Vietnam War platform.

I'm kind of an accidental instrument, really, through which I hope that the judgment and the will of this nation can be expressed.

QuotesEdit

  • Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game, and dumb enough to think it's important.
    • "Washington Post" (12 November 1967)
  • Have you ever tried to split sawdust?
    • Response to accusations that he had split the US Democratic Party by campaigning for president. NBC TV (23 October 1969)
  • [T]here should be absolute freedom of expression without any kind of restraint or limitation. This position is generally defended by the uncritical assertion that every person has the right to express his views or judgment on any subject, and the rather obvious limitations are usually demonstrated by irrelevant examples, such as denying a person the right to shout ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre when there is no fire.
    • Censorship: For And Against, edit. Harold H. Hart, Hart Publishing Company, Inc., New York (1971), chapter 6, p. 113
  • The real basis of freedom of speech and of expression is not, however, the right of a person to say what he thinks or what he wishes to say but the right and need of all persons to learn the truth. The only practical approach to this end is freedom of expression.
    • Censorship: For And Against, edit. Harold H. Hart, Hart Publishing Company, Inc., New York (1971), chapter 6, p. 113
  • There is danger in the concentration of control in the television and radio networks, especially in the large television and radio stations; danger in the concentration of ownership in the press… and danger in the increasing concentration of selection by book publishers and reviewers and by the producers of radio and television programs.
    • Censorship: For And Against, edit. Harold H. Hart, Hart Publishing Company, Inc., New York (1971), chapter 6, p. 119
  • The two-party system has given this country the war of Lyndon Johnson, the Watergate of Nixon, and the incompetence of Carter. Saying we should keep the two-party system simply because it is working is like saying the Titanic voyage was a success because a few people survived on life-rafts.
    • Chicago Tribune (10 September 1978)
  • The only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is inefficiency. An efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty.
    • Time magazine (12 February 1979)
  • It is dangerous for a national candidate to say things that people might remember.
    • From “Ten Commandments for New Hill Members,” in The Washington Post (4 January 1981), as cited in The Official Rules: 5,427 Laws, Principles and Axioms to Help You Cope With Crises, Deadlines, Bad Luck, Rude Behavior, Red Tape and Attacks by Inanimate Objects, Paul Dickson, Courier Corporation (2013), p. 223
  • Remember that the worst accidents occur in the middle of the road.
    • From “Ten Commandments for New Hill Members,” in The Washington Post (4 January 1981), as cited in The Official Rules: 5,427 Laws, Principles and Axioms to Help You Cope With Crises, Deadlines, Bad Luck, Rude Behavior, Red Tape and Attacks by Inanimate Objects, Paul Dickson, Courier Corporation (2013), p. 223
  • We do not need presidents who are bigger than the country, but rather ones who speak for it and support it.
    • The New York Times (11 December 2005)
  • I'm kind of an accidental instrument, really, through which I hope that the judgment and the will of this nation can be expressed.
    • The New York Times (11 December 2005)

PoemsEdit

Selected poems online

  • The maple tree that night
    Without a wind or rain
    Let go its leaves
    Because its time had come.
    • "The Maple Tree"
  • Now it is certain.
    There is no magic stone.
    No secret to be found.
    One must go
    With the mind's winnowed learning.
    • "Courage After Sixty"
  • The glove has been thrown to the ground,
    The last choice of weapons made.
    A book for one thought.
    A poem for one line.
    A line for one word.
    • "Courage After Sixty"
  • "Broken things are powerful."
    Things about to break are stronger still.
    The last shot from the brittle bow is truest.
    • "Courage After Sixty"
  • I have left Act I, for involution
    And Act II. There, mired in complexity
    I cannot write Act III.
    • "Lament for an Aging Politician"

AttributedEdit

  • "a light rinse" would be sufficient. Said in response to George Romney's claim that he had been "brainwashed" by the US military leaders in Vietnam. It is not clear where or when exactly the quote was supposedly said. See this entry from MediaMythAlert.

External linksEdit

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