"Springing another Long innovation on the Senate, he had prepared and mounted a number of charts showing the continuing concentration of wealth in the country, and as he explained the bills, he pointed in schoolmaster fashion to data on the charts. His speech was largely a rehash of things he had said before, but in one section he struck a new and significant theme. He demonstrated on his charts that the middle-income group was being gradually squeezed out; a few members of it worked themselves up into the ‘plutocracy of one per cent’ that owned most of the wealth, but most of them sank back into the ‘general class,’ the ninety-nine percent of the people that owned very little of the wealth. “There is no Middle Class,” he proclaimed."
— “Huey Long”, T. Harry Williams
"Willie went out and buttonholed folks on the street and tried to explain things to them. You could see Willie standing on a street corner, sweating through his seersucker suit, with his hair down in his eyes, holding an old envelope in one hand and a pencil in the other, working out figures to explain what he was squawking about, but folks don’t listen to you when your voice is low and patient and you stop them in the hot sun and make them do arithmetic."
— “All the King’s Men”, Robert Penn Warren
“What we need is a balanced tax program. Right now the ratio between income tax and total income for the state gives an index that-“
“Yeah,” I said, “I heard the speech. But they don’t give a damn about that. Hell, make ‘em cry, make ‘em laugh, make ‘em think you’re their weak erring pal, or make ‘em think you’re God-Almighty. Or make ‘em mad. Even mad at you. Just stir ‘em up, it doesn’t matter how or why, and they’ll love you and come back for more. Pinch ‘em in the soft place. They aren’t alive, most of ‘em, and haven’t been alive in twenty years. Hell, their wives have lost their teeth and their shape, and likker won’t set on their stomachs, and they don’t believe in god, so it’s up to you to give ‘em something to stir ‘em up and make ‘em feel alive again. Just for half an hour. That’s what they come for. Tell ‘em anything. But for Sweet Jesus’ sake don’t try to improve their minds.”
— “All the King’s Men” – Robert Penn Warren
"You could see Willie standing on a street corner, sweating through his seersucker suit, with his hair down in his eyes, holding an old enveloped in one hand and a pencil in the other, working out figures to explain what he was squaking about, but folks don’t listen to you when your voice is low and patient and you stop them in the hot sun and make them do arithmetic."
— “All the King’s Men” – Robert Penn Warren
Of (Warren Harding’s) oratory, Mencken said:
“It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the lines; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it.”
— “My Reading Life” – Bob Carr
"‘This is a victory for the true believers; the people who in difficult times have kept the faith, and for the Australian people through hard times, it makes their act of faith that much greater.’ He left no doubt that he was claiming it, in fact he might have been still campaigning. ‘It will be a long time before an Opposition tries to divide the country again.’"
— “Recollections of a Bleeding Heart” - Don Watson
"The great funeral oration of Pericles, delivered over those fallen in the war, stands out as unlike all other commemoration speeches ever spoken. There is not a trace of exaltation in it, not a word of heroic declamation. It is a piece of clear thinking and straight talking. The orator tells his audience to pray that they may never have to die in battle as these did. He does not suggest or imply to the mourning parents before him that they are to be accounted happy because their sons died for Athens. He knows they are not and it does not occur to him to say anything but the truth. His words to them are: Some of you are of an age at which they may hope to have other children, and they ought to bear their sorrow better. To those of you who have passed their prime, I say: Congratulate yourselves that you have been happy during the greater part of your days; remember that your life of sorrow will not last long, and take comfort in the glory of those who are gone. Cold comfort, we say. Yes, but people so stricken cannot be comforted, and Pericles knew his audience. They had faced the facts as well as he had."
— “The Greek Way” - Edith Hamilton
"I’d been at a lot of (Hawke’s) important speeches: the Hyde Park rally in ’75, when he’d memorably said (some things you remember), apropos of Bjelke-Petersen and daylight saving, ‘Joh thinks the sun shines out of his arse, and he’s not getting up that early for anyone!’."
— “Goodbye Jerusalem: Night Thoughts of a Labor Outsider” – Bob Ellis
“Well, I’m here now, and I’m lookin’ at you, and you wouldn’t believe me if I told you what you wanted to hear in any case, right?” Nods and applause. “So let me tell you this: No politician can bring these shipyard jobs back. Or make your union strong again. No politician can make it be the way it used to be. Because we’re living in a new world now, a world without borders—economically, that is. Guy can push a button in New York and move a billion dollars to Tokyo before you blink an eye. We’ve got a world market now. And that’s good for some. In the end, you’ve gotta believe it’s good for America. We come from everywhere in the world, so we’re gonna have a leg up selling to everywhere in the world. Makes sense, right? But muscle jobs are gonna go where muscle labor is cheap—and that’s not here. So if you all want to compete and do better, you’re gonna have to exercise a different set of muscles, the ones between your ears.
I’m going to tell you this: This whole country is gonna have to go back to school. We’re gonna have to get smarter, learn new skills. And I will work overtime figuring out ways to help you get the skills you need. I’ll make you this deal: I will work for you. I’ll wake up every morning thinking about you. I’ll fight and worry and sweat and bleed to get the money to make education a lifetime thing in this country, to give you the support you need to move on up. But you’ve got to do the heavy lifting your own selves. I can’t do it for you, and I know it’s not gonna be easy.”
— “Primary Colors: A Novel of Politics” - Anonymous