On This Page: This little chapter on being selected or elected to a position by others is a chapter on dependency. Those who are appointed depend on the continued support of the man who did the appointing. Those who are elected depend on the voters for reelection to their coveted positions. This chapter reminds you of this dependency and suggests that you keep it always in your mind if you are an nominee or candidate. It also reminds voters that our candidates have their own interests - not ours - at heart. There isn’t much more to say, so enjoy a grab-bag of election wisdom below.


Lyndon Johnson

The Story of Landslide Lyndon

Representative Lyndon Johnson ran for the Senate against popular Texas governor Coke Stevenson in 1948. After the votes were counted, Johnson seemed to have lost by only 190 votes. Then, six days later, it was discovered that 202 voters in precinct 13 in Alice, Texas had all voted for Lyndon at the last moment before the polls closed. These Johnson supporters, amazingly, arrived at the voting booth alphabetical order and signed the voter’s list in the same handwriting. Johnson’s opponent sued in Texas court, but Johnson’s attorney persuaded the state judge that the Senate election was a federal, not state, matter. In federal court, the same attorney persuaded the federal judges that the Texas Senatorial election was a state, not federal, matter. Therefore, no court ever considered the matter of the suspicious voting patterns of the 202 voters of precinct 13 in Alice, Texas. In the end, Coke Stevenson retired from politics a bitter, angry man. Lyndon Johnson went on to become the leader of the western world. Johnson later appointed his attorney, Abe Fortas, to the US Supreme Court.


The story is well known and is masterfully told in Robert Caro’s magnificent biography of Johnson.



A Short Lesson in Democracy


I selected these because I enjoyed reading each of them. I don’t agree with all of them, but they are all provocative.

Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain cool and unruffled under all circumstances.” -- Thomas Jefferson. Take a lesson in democracy from the man who invented its modern form.

It is often easier to fight for principles than to live up to them.” -- Adlai Stevenson, Democrat, presidential candidate

Don't be afraid to see what you see.” -- Ronald Reagan, US President

Mary Matalin and James Carville. Love occasionally conquers all.When your opponent is drowning, throw the son of a bitch an anvil.” -- James Carville, Democrat, husband of Mary Matalin

Follow me if I advance, kill me if I retreat, avenge me if I die” -- Mary Matalin, Republican, wife of James Carville

“I have never met anybody in politics that lasted that was just a fluff-head. You've got to be grounded, and people aren't going to reelect you if you are not delivering. As Lyndon Johnson used to say, and I quote him, ‘You can't shine [expletive].’ That's just the reality.” -- Mary Matalin, a southern belle and a lady, could not bring herself to say “You can’t shine shit,” at least not on television. Even people who didn’t like Johnson still quote his political wisdom.

There are two types of speeches. “The Mother Hubbard speech which, like the garment, covers everything but touches nothing; and the French bathing suit speech which covers only the essential points.” -- Lyndon Johnson, US President

Elections belong to the people. It is their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” -- Abraham Lincoln, US President

"I don't know much about Americanism, but it's a damn good word with which to carry an election." Warren G. Harding, US President

"If you don't say anything, you won't be called on to repeat it." Calvin Coolidge, US President

One-fifth of the people are against everything all the time.” -- Robert Kennedy, late Senator and Attorney General

I want real loyalty. I want someone who will kiss my ass in Macy's window, and say it smells like roses.” -- Lyndon Johnson

Every man … is first and principally recommended to his own care; and every man is certainly … fitter and abler to take care of himself than of any other person.” –Adam Smith, eighteenth century economist. This is also true for women.

This is an age in which one cannot find common sense without a search warrant” -- George Will, political columnist, brilliant conservativeGeorge Will, brilliant conservative writer

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.” -- Abraham Lincoln

Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” -- John Quincy Adams, US President

"What is right and what is practicable are two different things." -- James Buchanan, US President

"As to the presidency, the two happiest days of my life were those of my entrance upon the office and my surrender of it." -- Martin Van Buren, as a happy ex-President

"You know you win some, and you lose some, and the there's that little-known third category." -- Al Gore, Vice President

Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.” -- Andrew Jackson, US President

I'm a compromiser and a maneuverer. I try to get something. That's the way our system works.” -- Lyndon Johnson

Better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside pissing in.” Lyndon Johnson (on Edgar Hoover Head of the FBI)

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing." -- Abraham Lincoln

I wish my mother and father could read this [newspaper article praising LBJ]. My father would enjoy it and my mother would believe it.” -- Lyndon Johnson

I never think of politics more than eighteen hours a day.” -- Lyndon Johnson

You're asking the leader of the Western world a chicken-shit question like that?” -- Lyndon Johnson

The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” -- John Kennedy, US President

I have just received the following telegram from my generous daddy. It says, 'Dear Jack: Don't buy a single vote more than necessary. I'll be damned if I'm going to pay for a landslide.’” -- John F. Kennedy

"How do you tell if Lyndon [Johnson] is lying? If he wiggles his ears, that doesn't mean he's lying. If he raises his eyebrows, that doesn't mean he's lying. But when he moves his lips, he's lying.'' -- Robert Kennedy

Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.” -- Ronald Reagan

Convictions cause conflict.” -- George Will

Winston Churchill has a hundred ideas a day, of which four are good.” -- Franklin Roosevelt, US President

The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal - that you can gather votes like box tops - is, I think, the ultimate indignity to the democratic process.” -- Adlai Stevenson

Defeat begins in the heart... we must not allow the recklessness of despair to find any lodging in our hearts.” -- Adlai Stevenson

The sources of information are the springs from which democracy drinks.” -- Adlai Stevenson

"The best audience is intelligent, well-educated, and a little drunk." -- Albert W. Barkley, US Vice President

Buckley is arguably the father of modern American ConservatismI won't insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.” -- William F. Buckley

"The attention span of the American people is 'Which movie is coming out next week?' " Republican Senator Alan Simpson

Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive.” -- William F. Buckley

Liberals, it has been said, are generous with other peoples' money, except when it comes to questions of national survival when they prefer to be generous with other people's freedom and security.” -- William F. Buckley

A society that thinks the choice between ways of living is just a choice between equally eligible "lifestyles" turns universities into academic cafeterias offering junk food for the mind. -- George Will

Conservatives define themselves in terms of what they oppose.” -- George Will

Leadership is, among other things, the ability to inflict pain and get away with it - short-term pain for long-term gain.” -- George Will

Politicians fascinate because they constitute such a paradox; they are an elite that accomplishes mediocrity for the public good.” -- George Will

Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first. -- Ronald Reagan


Chapter 9





Download or read online: Machiavelli’s Prince in English translation by W. K. Rowling


Read a brief summary of Machiavelli’s life and works,

written by W. K. Rowling as the Introduction to his translation of The Prince


A readable summary of Machiavelli’s Prince can be found at






The Modern Prince:

Better Living Through Machiavellianism


Click to read a couple of sample chapters. Click here to read a couple of chapters


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