arcana imperii :: the book of j


the 100 rules of politics

a crash course in political reality [and mediocrity]

  1. a better-liked candidate will almost always beat a more competent candidate. ~bill straub

  2. whenever two candidates agree on an issue, there's no debate on that issue, so the contest shifts to other issues. ~clifford d may

  3. winning elections is about moving "swing voters." winning is not about reaching the voters already for you or against you, but by focusing on the undecideds, the swing vote. ~the democracy center

  4. whoever controls the agenda, controls the outcome. ~professor david c leege

  5. never make more campaign promises than necessary. ~the wyeth wire

  6. the only two real political questions are: "who's getting screwed?" and "who's doing the screwing?" ~molly ivins

  7. simplify your campaign message. if you can't get your message down to two or three sentences, you're more interested in hearing yourself talk than you are in communicating. ~sal gazzetta

  8. in politics, an organized minority is a political majority. ~jesse jackson

  9. avoid controversy. ~david ammons

  10. fundraise often. the candidate should spend four to five hours, six days a week, fundraising. a candidate who is serious about winning will do this. ~bob mcdevitt

  11. become reality-driven. don't kid yourself. find out what's what, and base your decisions and actions on that. ~gary e johnson

  12. if you don't delegate, you'll lose. ~craig varoga

  13. if in doubt, don't. if still in doubt, do what's right. ~donald rumsfeld

  14. campaign behaviour for wives: always be on time. do as little talking as humanly possible. lean back in the parade car so everybody can see the president. ~eleanor roosevelt

  15. when only one side fights, they win. ~james zogby

  16. good intentions do not necessarily produce good results. ~daniel r simmons

  17. always change a losing game plan. ~alan tonelson

  18. do not lose touch with reality. take voters as they are. for most voters, politics is only a small and not very important part of life. ~rainer erkens

  19. define yourself and your priorities before your opposition defines you. ~joe murray

  20. the more campaigning, the better. ~unknown

  21. what really counts is not how many people line up on each side of an issue, but how intensely each side holds its opinions. ~james m lindsay

  22. always ask the question: how does this make people happy? at the end of the day, elections are about making people happy. ~garry f douglas

  23. politics is practised to be in power. politics is practised to remain in power. one way or the other, politics is the game of power. ~nepal news

  24. people with power never give it up without a fight. ~mark latham

  25. take care of your supporters. ~john stackhouse

  26. to get votes, you must offer people something and be respected by your constituency. ~arthur nitzburg

  27. avoid energising the opposition's base. ~solveig singleton

  28. talk about what voters care about. ~sal gazzetta

  29. the winner is not always the swiftest, surest, or smartest. it's the one willing to get up at 5:00 am and go to the plant gate to meet the workers. ~unknown

  30. get elected. get re-elected. ~everett dirksen

  31. with the press, there is no «off the record». ~donald rumsfeld

  32. most people vote against somebody rather than for somebody. ~franklin pierce adams

  33. listen to the people and focus on their prime needs. voters are pretty down to earth. the successful politician listen to voters, identifies the «bread and butter issues», and addresses them. ~rainer erkens

  34. before you announce your campaign, be prepared to answer the question: «why are you running?» you should have a one-sentence, 30-second, 2-minute, and 10-minute version of this answer. ~ron crickenberger

  35. the fact that you're on their side doesn't mean that they're on your side. ~t. nielsen hayden

  36. beware when any idea is promoted primarily because it is «bold, exciting, innovative, and new». there are many ideas that are bold, exciting, innovative, and new, but also foolish. ~donald rumsfeld

  37. don't run against a popular incumbent unless you are well known and have a strong base of support. ~arthur nitzburg

  38. when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. ~dennis green

  39. the pen is mightier than the sword, but money beats them both. ~bradley canon

  40. speak in simple terms! use short sentences. avoid complicated technical terms people can't even pronounce, let alone understand. ~rainer erkens

  41. in politics, there is no heavier burden than stratospheric expectations. ~george korda

  42. the first rule of politics is to know thine enemy. ~newt gingrich

  43. don't be fooled by your own propaganda. ~dave stewart

  44. persuasion is a two-edged sword ~reason and emotion. plunge it deep. ~professor lewis sarett, sr.

  45. politics is the art of the possible. ~otto von bismarck

  46. there are no permanent victories in washington. ~edwin j feulner

  47. never argue with a fool. people might not know the difference. ~unknown

  48. voters want to know where you stand on the two or three compelling issues that matter in their lives. tell them what you will do about the problem in one or two short sentences. ~dotty e lemieux

  49. everyone has a scheme that will not work. ~unknown

  50. never let the extreme wing of your party have any part in the campaign. the extremists have nowhere else to go. they are a given. the group you're after is the middle, and you don't get them by making them think that your party kooks will ever really have a role in governing. ~rafe mair

  51. find your message and stay on it. ~suzi parker

  52. don't talk about what you care about; talk about what they care about. ~sal gazzetta

  53. if you are a candidate, focus on only two things: raising money and effectively communicating your message to the voters. everything else should be handled by staff or volunteers. ~kamioner & associates

  54. it's better to have your enemies inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in. ~lyndon b johnson

  55. a good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow. ~general george patton

  56. don't do anything you wouldn't want to read about in the local newspaper. ~george skelton

  57. if everyone in your community looks like a penguin, don't run as an aardvark. ~sal gazzetta

  58. feelings aren't right or wrong. they just are. don't dismiss anyone's feelings on an issue. no matter how wrong you may believe they are, feelings generally are stronger motivators than facts. ~garry f douglas

  59. everyone believes they are in the middle of the road politically. ~unknown

  60. the ground rules of politics generally begin and end with doing what it takes to win. ~john l smith

  61. whenever anyone says it's not about the money, it's about the money. ~bill clinton

  62. no attack should go unanswered. ~steve bousquet

  63. the art of politics consists in knowing precisely when it is necessary to hit an opponent slightly below the belt. ~konrad adenauer

  64. don't use words no one else does. ~gregory dunn

  65. money is still the mother's milk of politics. if you don't have at least a bare-bones budget, you will end up exhausted, broke, and un-elected. ~dotty e lemieux

  66. when your interview segment is finished, assume your microphone is still on. ~doug & d.m. collins

  67. never get into an argument with people who buy ink by the barrel. ~lane kirkland

  68. everybody is for change in general, but they're scared of it in particular. ~bill clinton

  69. the more you actually accomplish, the louder your critics become. learn to ignore them. maintain your integrity and continue to do what's right. ~gary e johnson

  70. first rule of politics: you can't win unless you're on the ballot. ~donald rumsfeld

  71. for every human problem there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. ~h.l. mencken

  72. campaign money is used to target people who are going to vote. ~amy goldstein & richard morin

  73. beware every policy's unintended consequences. ~joyce purnick

  74. when politicians need to «find» money, they always seem able to. ~george howland, jr.

  75. a rule of thumb: in a winning race, expect to spend at least $1 per person in your district. per person; not per voter. ~sal gazzetta

  76. when your enemy is busy digging himself into a ditch, let him keep digging. ~stephen moore

  77. image is everything. ~linda williamson

  78. analyse your strong and your weak points, and try to reduce or eliminate those weak points which prevent you from succeeding. ~rainer erkens

  79. how you do in one election does not always translate into how you will
    do in another one. ~ron faucheux

  80. keep your sense of humour. as general joe stillwell said, «the higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind». ~donald rumsfeld

  81. no matter how many yard signs you put up, some will eventually disappear. ~joe garecht

  82. consultants don't lose elections; candidates do. ~michael tomasky

  83. politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising to protect each from the other. ~oscar ameringer

  84. all politics is local. ~tip o'neil

  85. those who cast the votes decide nothing. those who count the votes decide everything. ~josef stalin

  86. behold the turtle. he makes progress only when he sticks his neck out. ~james b conant

  87. raise 20% of your total campaign funds up front as seed money. if you can't get 20% of that money as seed money up front, you shouldn't be running to win. ~sal gazzetta

  88. secure your base. ~madeleine albright

  89. money matters most in modern elections. ~derek cressman

  90. what you say doesn't matter; it's what your opponents can claim you say which counts. ~simon hoggart

  91. if you know what you're doing, do more of it. but if you don't know what you're doing, do less. ~james pinkerton

  92. concentrate on three issues which are of interest to your voters and stick to them. ~rainer erkens

  93. perception is reality. don't ignore the importance of perceptions. ~garry f douglas

  94. if you step in front of a microphone, get your facts straight. ~ron word

  95. determine your goal. develop a plan to reach that goal. then act; don't procrastinate. ~gary e johnson

  96. voters expect immediate and tangible benefits for themselves. voters want to know exactly what you will do for them. ~rainer erkens

  97. dance with the one that brung you. ~darryl royal

  98. anything that will be revealed eventually should be revealed immediately. ~henry kissinger

  99. an organised minority trumps a disorganized majority. ~sam freedman

  100. never turn down a free meal and never miss an opportunity to visit the bathroom. ~lyndon b johnson

source: the fundamental rules of politics by bill winter, libertarian party news editor.