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mark twain on politics

Congress, Ethics and Mark Twain

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Congress, Ethics and Mark Twain

Only three days into the new year and the political shenanigans start again in Washington. (I like to believe they stopped for the Holidays!!)

 

Even though the GOP now seems to have pulled its plan to gut the independent ethics panel, their antics are enough to raise the blood pressure.

When commenting on my book Suppose You Were an Idiot… Mark Twain on Politics and Polticians, I am often asked what would Twain say of today’s  current set of “vultures that now infest the filthy den called Congress.”

As a man who had a decidedly jaundiced (he would say accurate view) of politics, he probably would not be surprised. Here is a selection of this thoughts that might just as well have been written today.  Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. 

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Mark Twain on Politics: A man’s first duty is to his own honor

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M-TOPP: Mark Twain on Politics and Politicians

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A man’s first duty is to his own honor; not to his country and not to his party.

It is easy to despair about the state of the current political environment and with some justification, but for those who believe politics has reached its nadir… well consider that among other things, Abraham Lincoln was referred to as “the obscene ape of Illinois.”

The election of 1884 featured Democrat Grover Cleveland who had fathered a child outside of marriage – “Maw, Maw, where’s my paw?” was a constant refrain from supporters of corrupt Republican candidate James Blaine who had been castigated for accepting bribes from railroad interests.

Given this climate, Mark Twain – who prior to the 1884 election voted Republican – had much to say and that “a man’s first duty is to his own honor; not to his country and not to his party.”

To his good friend William Dean Howells, he wrote:

“Somehow I can’t seem to rest quiet under the idea of your voting for Blaine. I believe you said something about the country and the party. Certainly allegiance to these is well; but as certainly a man’s first duty is to his own conscience and honor—the party or the country come second to that, and never first. I don’t ask you to vote at all—I only urge you to not Continue reading

Mark Twain on Congressmen, Jays, Stealers and Liars

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Today’s M-TOPP: Mark Twain on Politics and Politicians

 

Mark Twain on Jays and Lying Congressmen

A jay hasn’t got any more principle than a Congressman.

A jay will lie, a jay will steal, a jay will deceive, a jay will betray; and four times out of five, a jay will go back on his solemnest promise. – What Stumped the Blue Jay

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Mark Twain on Honest Men in Congress

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Today’s M-TOPP: Mark Twain on Politics and Politicians

 

Mark Twain on Honest Men in Congress

Why, it is telegraphed all over the country and commented on as something wonderful if a congressman votes honestly and unselfishly and refuses to take advantage of his position to steal from the government. – The Gilded Age

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There is where the deep ingenuity of the operatic idea is betrayed. It deals so largely in pain that its scattered delights are prodigiously augmented by the contrasts. A pretty air in an opera is prettier there than it could be anywhere else, I suppose, just as an honest man in politics shines more than he would elsewhere. – A Tramp Abroad 

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Keynote Speaker Conor Cunneen is a big Mark Twain fan. BUY and ENJOY his new book  Suppose You Were an Idiot… Mark Twain on Politics and Politicians

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“Suppose you were an idiot.

And suppose you were a Congressman.

But I’m repeating myself.”

Mark Twain, A Biography

 

Buy today and I will personally AUTOGRAPH your copyConor Cunneen

 

“Whiskey is taken into the committee rooms in demijohns and carried out in demagogues.” 

 

Buy today and I will personally AUTOGRAPH your copyConor Cunneen

 

It is interesting, wonderfully interesting–the miracles which party-politics can do with a man’s mental and moral make-up.  Look at McKinley, Roosevelt, and yourself: in private life spotless in character; honorable, honest, just, humane, generous; scorning trickeries, treacheries, suppressions of the truth, mistranslations of the meanings of facts, the filching of credit earned by another, the condoning of crime, the glorifying of base acts: in public political life the reverse of all this.

Letter to Rev. J. H. Twichell 1904

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Conor Cunneen is also author

What Mark Twain Learned Me ’bout Public Speakin’

“When I say I’ll learn (‘Teach’ is not in the river vocabulary) a man the river, I mean it. And you can depend on it, I’ll learn him or kill him.” Life on the Mississippi  – Mark Twain

Utilizing a unique and memorable MARK TWAIN acronym, author Conor Cunneen demonstrates what the Dean of American Humorists learned him bout public speakin !

MARK ——– BEFORE you go on stage

Message preparation

Audience research and knowledge

Relate to audience

Know your objective

TWAIN ——— ON STAGE

Titter and humor wins the audience

Wait – The power of the Pause

Anecdotes connect

Involve, Inform, Inspire your audience

Narration and stagecraft.

BUY: What Mark Twain Learned Me ’bout Public Speakin’

Mark Twain: Whiskey, demijohns & Demagogues

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Today’s M-TOPP: Mark Twain on Politics and Politicians

 

Congress, Whiskey, Demijohns and Demagogues

From: Mark Twain Notebook

“Whiskey is taken into the committee rooms in demijohns and carried out in demagogues.”

 From: Roughing It 

That was a fine collection of sovereigns, that first Nevada legislature. They levied taxes to the amount of thirty or forty thousand dollars and ordered expenditures to the extent of about a million. Yet they had their little periodical explosions of economy like all other bodies of the kind. A member proposed to save three dollars a day to the nation by dispensing with the Chaplain. And yet that short-sighted man needed the Chaplain more than any other member, perhaps, for he generally sat with his feet on his desk, eating raw turnips, during the morning prayer. 

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Conor Cunneen is a big Mark Twain fan. BUY and ENJOY  his new book  Suppose You Were an Idiot… Mark Twain on Politics and Politicians

twain-front-10-27-compressed

“Suppose you were an idiot.

And suppose you were a Congressman.

But I’m repeating myself.”

Mark Twain, A Biography

 

Buy today and I will personally AUTOGRAPH your copyConor Cunneen

 

 

“Whiskey is taken into the committee rooms in demijohns and carried out in demagogues.”

Mark Twain Notebook

Conor Cunneen is also author

What Mark Twain Learned Me ’bout Public Speakin’

“When I say I’ll learn (‘Teach’ is not in the river vocabulary) a man the river, I mean it. And you can depend on it, I’ll learn him or kill him.” Life on the Mississippi  – Mark Twain

Utilizing a unique and memorable MARK TWAIN acronym, author Conor Cunneen demonstrates what the Dean of American Humorists learned him bout public speakin !

Message preparation

Audience research and knowledge

Relate to audience

Know your objective

Titter and humor wins the audience

Wait – The power of the Pause

Anecdotes connect

Involve, Inform, Inspire your audience

Narration and stagecraft.

Mark Twain on Religion and Politics

twain-front-180-10-27

Today’s M-TOPP: Mark Twain on Politics and Politicians

 

Mark Twain on Religion and Politics

Congress don’t know anything about religion. – My Late Senatorial Secretaryship

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I have no prejudices in politics, religion, literature, or anything else. – Mark Twain Speeches: Literature Speech, London May 4, 1900

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But, indeed, the truth is, almost all the men and women of our nation or of any other get their religion and their politics where they get their astronomy—entirely at second hand. Being untrained, they are no more able to intelligently examine a dogma or a policy than they are to calculate an eclipse. – Christian Science 

mark-twain-signature

***

Conor Cunneen is a big Mark Twain fan. BUY and ENJOY his new book  Suppose You Were an Idiot… Mark Twain on Politics and Politicians

twain-front-10-27-compressed

“Suppose you were an idiot.

And suppose you were a Congressman.

But I’m repeating myself.”

Mark Twain, A Biography

 

Buy today and I will personally AUTOGRAPH your copyConor Cunneen

 

“Whiskey is taken into the committee rooms in demijohns and carried out in demagogues.”

 

==========.

***

Conor Cunneen is also author

What Mark Twain Learned Me ’bout Public Speakin’

“When I say I’ll learn (‘Teach’ is not in the river vocabulary) a man the river, I mean it. And you can depend on it, I’ll learn him or kill him.” Life on the Mississippi  – Mark Twain

Utilizing a unique and memorable MARK TWAIN acronym, author Conor Cunneen demonstrates what the Dean of American Humorists learned him bout public speakin !

MARK ——– BEFORE you go on stage

Message preparation

Audience research and knowledge

Relate to audience

Know your objective

TWAIN ——— ON STAGE

Titter and humor wins the audience

Wait – The power of the Pause

Anecdotes connect

Involve, Inform, Inspire your audience

Narration and stagecraft.

BUY: What Mark Twain Learned Me ’bout Public Speakin’