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How to Get Elected

Posted by Rick · June 18th, 2004 · 2 Comments

I’m prepping for a motion hearing this afternoon, so no time for a “real” blog entry. Instead, I give you this gem from Mencken:

After damning politicians up hill and down dale for many years, as rogues and vagabonds, frauds and scoundrels, I sometimes suspect that, like everyone else, I often expect too much of them. Though faith and confidence are surely more or less foreign to my nature, I not infrequently find myself looking to them to be able, diligent, candid, and even honest. Plainly enough, that is too large an order, as anyone must realize who reflects upon the manner in which they reach public office. They seldom if ever get there by merit alone, at least in democratic states. Sometimes, to be sure, it happens, but only by a kind of miracle. They are chosen normally for quite different reasons, the chief of which is simply their power to impress and enchant the intellectually underprivileged. — H. L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy (1982) at pp. 148-149, quoted in Clausen, “The Long and Winding Road: Political and Campaign Ethics Rules for Wisconsin Judges, Appendix C” (1999) 83 Marq. L. Rev. 1, at pp. 47-48. (Emphasis added by me.)

I found this little gem while hunting for a citation on another Mencken quote which may appear in a future blog entry on gang injunctions which are all the rage in Fresno right now (if I write such a thing).

Categories: Politics-In-General


2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mark // Jun 18, 2004 at 8:11 am

    Gang injunctions? Isn’t that what our governor (here in California) used to brag about doing?

  • 2 Mark // Jun 18, 2004 at 8:14 am

    My personal favorite Mencken quote was from a form letter he used to reply to hate mail. Mencken was quite a celebrity in his day, and not everyone who wrote him had nice things to say.

    His form reply was:

    “I am sitting in the smallest room in my house with your letter before me. It shall soon be behind me.”

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