Topic: Book Club

Sticky Politics: Most Memorable Lines?

Posted by Anonymous on 500 Points
My colleague Cam Beck reminded me that today marks 20 years since Ronald Reagan delivered the famous "Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!" line in Berlin. In the book the authors cite the famed Clinton campaign line of "It's the Economy, Stupid."

What (sticky!) they delivered during a campaign or in office...are burnt in your memory? Which sticky lines led to change (e.g. tearing down a wall) or even led to a candidate having to eat their sticky words (e.g. George H. Bush's "Read my lips, NO new taxes!")?

Moderator Note: This discussion refers to the book Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath (topic: communications). Click the title to learn more. Then join the conversation. We'd LOVE for you to participate!

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  • Posted on Accepted
    Abraham Lincoln:

    "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

    "Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing."
  • Posted on Author
    Good Ol' inspiring Abe...thanks Mario (and thanks for making time for Book Club, I know you're doing lots in the month of June :-).

    Btw, who said "What unites us is far stronger than that which divides us."? Darn if I can recall.

    I guess we should also give credit to Ben Franklin's "death and taxes" line, too.
  • Posted on Author
    oooh, that irony is good, Nancy. And yep, JFK's stickiness (and soulfulness) lives on and on. Also loved how he vowed to reach for the stars when NASA was not at all ready to go to the moon. But reach the moon, we did!
  • Posted on Accepted
    "These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

    "Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."

    Both by Thomas Paine in "The Crisis"
  • Posted on Accepted
    Clinton's sticky line (no pun intended) could be, "I did not have sex with that woman."

    George Bush's sticky line could be "Mission Accomplished" or any number of lies he's perpetrated on the American public.

    Nixon's (remember him?) was "I am not a crook."

    Reagan's was "Welcome to the General Electric Theater."
  • Posted by Mark Goren on Accepted
    Great thread, CK. How about "I have a dream"?

    Here's the paragraph:

    "Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: - 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'" – Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Posted on Accepted
    "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy" - Senator Lloyd Bentsen to vice-presidential candidate Senator Dan Quayle
  • Posted on Author
    Cam: I love "these are the times that try men's souls".

    David: Yup, I remember the "Monica" line more than "It's the economy, stupid". And how could I forget the Nixon, one?

    Mark: "I have a dream". Four words that mean so much. Simple words with a profound meaning that everyone can relate to (everyone has dreams). What a way to align everyone.

    Bill: Love it...that was a sticky line that "stuck" it to Quayle.
  • Posted on Member
    Not necessarily memorable, but I find stickalicious
    Winston Churchill:

    An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.

    Everyone has his day and some days last longer than others.

    He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.

  • Posted on Author
    Steve: Well, Jesus was one sticky-message person. Look at how many of his gems have stuck it out through the ages (and his book is still THE bestselling book). Love the "Houston" line!

    Mario: Churchill is a most terrific addition to this thread ;-). I've had his biography on my list of reads for too long. I especially like the virtues/vices line.
  • Posted on Accepted
    Mark: I just saw the video of Dr. King's speech at the Wharton Leadership Forum -- what a gift!

    "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
    -Mahatma Gandhi
    [in case you are wondering, he was a leader, too]

    "A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities, and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties."
    -Harry S. Truman

    "However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results."
    -Winston Churchill

    "The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.”
    - Plutarch

    "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever."
    -Napoleon Bonaparte

  • Posted by Drew McLellan on Accepted
    The reality is...especially if we tried to do it from memory, I'll bet we remember Clinton's "I did not have sex" and Nixon's "I am not a crook" more than any others.

    They were short, delivered during a frenzy of attention and were both about negative/tough times in each President's political career.

    They (and the events around them) inspired strong emotional reactions in both cases and I suspect still color many people's views of each President.

    Why are the negative ones more memorable, do you think?

  • Posted by Chris Blackman on Accepted
    Negative moments stick faster because they often shake from us the beliefs that we previously held, and embody extremely powerful emotions.

    Think of the image of the young Vietnamese girl Phan Thi Kim Phuc running along the road, screaming in terror as her back is burning with napalm. A photo from the sixties etched forever into the minds of anyone who has ever seen it.

    And the young Vietnamese boy, carrying his wounded younger brother "He ain't heavy, he's my brother".

    Incredibly powerful and sticky moments, not to be proud of.
  • Posted by steven.alker on Accepted
    How about the great Thatch? (The Blessed Margaret Thatcher that is)

    On hearing about a rumour of a government U turn on policy:

    “You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning”

    From possibly the best president the USA never had!

    Steve Alker

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