DT and WA refer to newspaper columns:
DT = Daily Telegram; WA = Weekly Article
"I'm not a member of any organized political party.... I'm a Democrat."
"Democrats never agree on anything, that's why they're Democrats. If they agreed with each other, they'd be Republicans."
"There is only one redeeming thing about this whole election. It will be over at sundown, and let everybody pray that it's not a tie, for we couldn't go through with this thing again.
And, when the votes are counted, let everybody, including the candidates, get into a good humor as quick as they got into a bad one.
Both gangs have been bad sports, so see if at least one can't redeem themselves by offering no alibis, but cooperate with the winner, for no matter which one it is the poor fellow is going to need it.
So cheer up. Let's all be friends again. One of the evils of democracy is you have to put up with the man you elect whether you want him or not. That's why we call it democracy." DT #1953, Nov. 7, 1932
"If you ever injected truth into politics you have no politics" WA # 31, July 15, 1923
"Politics has got so expensive that it takes lots of money to even get beat with nowadays." DT #1538, June 28, 1931
"Politics pretty quiet over the week-end. Democrats are attacking and the Republicans are defending. All the Democrats have to do is promise "what they would do if they got in." But the Republicans have to promise "what they would do" and then explain why they haven't already "done it."
I do honestly believe the Republicans have reformed and want to do better. But whether they have done it in time to win the election is another thing. The old voter is getting so he wants to be saved before October every election year." DT #1917, Sept. 26, 1932
"This country has gotten where it is in spite of politics, not by the aid of it. That we have carried as much political bunk as we have and still survived shows we are a super nation." DT #1948, Nov. 1, 1932
[Randall Reeder gives a lot of talks as "Will Rogers" that are entertaining and help people feel good about who they are and what they do. Email or call him to ask about speaking to your group, association or convention: email@example.com 614-477-0439 (cell)]
"I would love to see Mr. (Henry) Ford in there, really. I don't know who started the idea that a President must be a Politician instead of a Business man. A Politician can't run any other kind of business. So there is no reason why he can run the U.S. That's the biggest single business in the World." WA #5, January 14, 1923
"I make a living off (politicians), so I can't knock 'em. Every time we elect some fellow we think he's terrible and then when we get another one in he's worse. So, I am always in favor of keeping the one we've got and let the other go." NBC Radio, May 16, 1932 (Pomona, CA)
"When you straddle a thing it takes a long time to explain it." Convention Articles, June 29, 1924
"America has the best politicians money can buy." (Undated notes)
"Coolidge made less speeches and got more votes than any man that ever run. (William Jennings) Bryan was listened to and cheered by more people than any single human in politics, and he lost. So there is a doubt just whether talking does you good or harm." DT #673, Sept. 21, 1928
"Congress is so strange; a man gets up to speak and says nothing, nobody listens, and then everybody disagrees."
"Congress meets tomorrow morning. Let us all pray: Oh Lord, give us strength to bear that which is about to be inflicted upon us. Be merciful with them, oh Lord, for they know not what they're doing. Amen."
"We all joke about Congress but we can't improve on them. Have you noticed that no matter who we elect, he is just as bad as the one he replaces?"
"I read where they are going to limit debate in the Senate. It used to be that a man could talk all day, but now, as soon as he tells all he knows, he has to sit down. Most of these birds will just be getting up and nodding now. Why, some of them won't be able to answer roll call."
"We cuss Congress, and we joke about 'em, but they are all good fellows at heart, and if they wasn't in Congress, why, they would be doing something else against us that might be even worse."
"Now these fellows in Washington wouldn't be so serious and particular if they only had to vote on what they thought was good for the majority of the people in the U.S. That would be a cinch. But what makes it hard for them is every time a bill comes up they have things to decide that have nothing to do with the merit of the bill. The principal thing is of course: What will this do for me personally back home?"
"The "Ways & Means Committee" is a committee that's supposed to find the Ways to divide up the Means."
"Never blame a legislative body for not doing something. When they do nothing, they don't hurt anybody. When they do something is when they become dangerous."
"The Senate just sits and waits till they find out what the president wants, so they know how to vote against him."
"In Washington, one man could do what ten of them do. There could be only a quarter or a third as many congressmen or senators, and we would pick better ones then. But it's the system that we have always used, and there is no use getting all overcome with perspiration over it. Things kinder run themselves, anyhow."
"Senators are a never-ending source of amusement, amazement, and discouragement."
"Funny thing about being a U.S. senator, the only thing the law says you have to be is 30 years old. Not another single requirement. They just figure that a man that old got nobody to blame but himself if he gets caught in there."
"Our president delivered his State of the Union message to Congress. That is one of the things his contract calls for -- to tell congress the condition of the country. This message, as I say, is to Congress. The rest of the people know the condition of the country, for they live in it, but Congress has no idea what is going on in America, so the president has to tell 'em."
"A president just can't make much showing against congress. They lay awake nights, thinking up things to be against the president on."
"You know Lincoln's famous remark about "God must have loved the common people, because he made so many of them?" Well, you are not going to get people's votes nowadays by calling 'em common. Lincoln might have said it, but I bet it was not until after he was elected."
"There wasn't any Republicans in Washington's day. No Republicans, no Boll Weevil, no income tax, no cover charge, no disarmament conference, no luncheon clubs, no stop lights, no static, no head winds. My Lord, living in those days, who wouldn't be great?"
"The Democrats and the Republicans are equally corrupt where money is concerned. It's only in the amount where the Republicans excel."
"It's getting so if a man wants to stand well socially, he can't afford to be seen with either the Democrats or the Republicans."
"Their greatest trait to recommend the Democrats is optimism and humor. You've got to be an optimist to be a Democrat, and you've got to be a humorist to stay one."
"There is something about a Republican that you can only stand him just so long; and on the other hand, there is something about a Democrat that you can't stand him quite that long."
"Democrats never agree on anything, that's why they're Democrats. If they agreed with each other, they would be Republicans."
"A politician is not as narrow-minded as he forces himself to be."
"Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously, and the politicians as a joke, when it used to be vice versa."
"Say, did you read what this writer just dug up in George Washington's diary? I was so ashamed I sat up all night reading it."
"Many a politician wishes there was a law to burn old records."
"A politician is just like a pickpocket; it's almost impossible to get one to reform."
"Politics is the best show in America. I love animals and I love politicians, and I like to watch both of 'em at play, either back home in their native state, or after they've been captured and sent to a zoo, or to Washington."
"The difference between a Republican and a Democrat is the Democrat is a cannibal. They have to live off each other, while the Republicans, why, they live off the Democrats."
"There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the entire government working for you."
"A Republican moves slowly. They are what we call conservatives. A conservative is a man who has plenty of money and doesn't see any reason why he shouldn't always have plenty of money. A Democrat is a fellow who never had any, but doesn't see any reason why he shouldn't have some."
“Funny to watch these Senators switching back and forth on Prohibition. Politics is a great character builder. You have to take a referendum to see what your convictions are for that day.” May 29, 1930
The 2008 Presidential Election
"(Louisiana Senator) Huey Long, who is the king of the planners, had tough going this last week, with his 'Share the Wealth' plan. Interior Secretary (Harold) Ickes and Relief Commissioner (Harry) Hopkins, who handles more money than any man in the world, they said, "No, Huey, you're not goin' to share any of our wealth." Well, that's the wealth Huey was kinda figurin' on sharin'. You know, the national problem in this country today is not who shall be relieved and whose money shall relieve him, but who shall be the one that plays Santa Claus and actually hands out the presents. That's the main problem today, it's who hands out the presents." Radio, April 21, 1935
"We know that everybody should 'share the wealth.' Now, Huey's [Sen. Huey Long] plan to "share the wealth," it's a marvelous idea. Huey's a smart guy, don't overlook that. And our own downright conscience tells us that there's no reason why anybody should have more than you. There ain't nothing wrong with the plan, only this one little defect: Nobody ain't going to share it with you, that's all. I know a lot of tremendously rich people that should share their wealth with me, but they just don't see it that way. And I know folks that ain't got as much as I have that think I ought to share it with them. Well, I just can't hardly see it their way either. That is, even if I can see it that way, I'm not doing it." Radio, April 21, 1935
(On his radio show Will described a lunch he had in the Capitol with 5 Senators, both Republican and Democrat, and concluded with this...) "We had a great lunch. (Senator) Capper paid for it. The Republican pays, as usual. And everything that the Democrats are doin' now, the Republicans pay for it. Everybody asks me, "Will, how long is this going to go on, spending all this money and everything going like this?" I says, "Well, it will go on just as long as the Republicans has got any money. That's all I know about it." Radio, March 31, 1935
"It looks to me like any man that wants to be President in times like these lacks something." DT #1803, May 4, 1932
"If this depression stays with us, the loser Tuesday is going to be the winner." DT #1951, Nov. 4, 1932
"If you have a radio, the next three months is a good time to have it (quit working). All you will hear from now until the 4th of November will be: 'We must get our government out of the hands of predatory wealth.' 'The good people of this great country are burdened to death with taxes. Now what I intend to do is ...' What he intends to do is try and get elected. That's all any of them intend to do. Another one that will hum over the old static every night will be: 'This country has reached a crisis in its national existence.'" WA #86, August 3, 1924
"Here's another way of putting it. Roosevelt wants recovery to start at the bottom. In other words, by a system of high taxes, he wants business to help the little fellow to get started and get some work, and then pay business back by buying things when he's at work. Business says, 'Let everybody alone. Let business alone, and quit monkeying with us, and we'll get everything going for you, and if we prosper, naturally the worker will prosper." That's exactly what business says, and they're justified from their angle in saying that.
One wants recovery to start from the bottom, and the other wants it to start from the top. I don't know which is right. I've never heard of anybody suggesting that they might start it in the middle, so I hereby make that suggestion. To start recovery halfway between the two, because it's the middle class that does everything anyhow. But I don't know anything about it...
I know things are going to get better in spite of both sides. Then when things do get better, then you'll hear the yell that will go up. The Democrats will swear that recovery was due to them. Now the Republicans, they'll say it was due to them. Nobody wanted to claim the credit for the country blowing up, but wait until it starts picking up and they'll both be on it then. See?
I don't think either one of them knows what it's all about, to be honest with you. Both sides are doing nothing but just looking towards the next election." Radio, June 9, 1935
"You know the more you read and observe about this Politics thing, you got to admit that each party is worse than the other. The one that's out always looks the best. My only solution would be to keep em both out one term and hire my good friend Henry Ford to run the whole thing, and give him a commission on what he saves us." WA #3, December 31, 1922
[Randall Reeder presents talks as Will Rogers. Whether you think of him as a "Will Rogers impersonator", "Will Rogers impressionist", or "Will Rogers speaker" does not matter. What you get is authentic Will Rogers, with a bonus of a little current-day Will Rogers style commentary. For information on available dates, call him at 614-477-0439.]