I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times.
As quoted in Caught Between the Dog and the Fireplug, or, How to Survive Public Service (2001) by Kenneth H. Ashworth, p. 11.
When I face an issue of great import that cleaves both constituents and colleagues, I always take the same approach. I engage in deep deliberation and quiet contemplation. I wait to the last available minute and then I always vote with the losers. Because, my friend, the winners never remember and the losers never forget.
As quoted in Business Wit & Wisdom (2005) by Richard S. Zera, p. 164.
Stronger than all the armies is an idea that's time has come. … The time has come for equality of opportunity in sharing in government, in education, and in employment. It will not be stayed or denied. It is here!
A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you're talking real money.
Although often quoted, it seems Dirksen never actually said this. The Dirksen Congressional Research Center made an extensive search when fully 25% of enquiries to them were about the quotation. They could find Dirksen did say "a billion here, a billion there", and things close to that, but not the "pretty soon you're talking real money" part. They had one gentleman report to them he had asked Dirksen about it on an airflight and received the reply: "Oh, I never said that. A newspaper fella misquoted me once, and I thought it sounded so good that I never bothered to deny it."
All of his senatorial colleagues were present and the galleries were packed on June 10, 1964, when Everett Dirksen rose to speak to the most far-reaching legislative proposal since the New Deal. The senior senator from Illinois was a celebrated orator, having honed a style since his high school years in Pekin that alternated homespun observations with rhetorical flights.
Little known by many today is the fact that it was Republican Senator Everett Dirksen from Illinois, not Johnson, who pushed through the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In fact, Dirksen was instrumental to the passage of civil rights legislation in 1957, 1960, 1964, 1965 and 1968. Dirksen wrote the language for the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Dirksen also crafted the language for the Civil Rights Act of 1968 which prohibited discrimination in housing.
Democrats today ignore the pivotal role played by Senator Dirksen in obtaining passage of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act, while heralding President Johnson as a civil rights advocate for signing the bill. The chief opponents of the 1964 Civil Rights Act were Democrat Senators Sam Ervin, Albert Gore, Sr., father of former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, and Robert Byrd who filibustered against the bill for 14 straight hours before the final vote.