Say What?

I’ve seen a lot of commentary recently on the lack of civility in politics.  In reality, politicians have been uncivil for centuries (just ask Julius Caesar), but we’ve lost the art of the clever insult. It’s easy to call someone names (Rocket Man) or insult their appearance or policies. It takes more skill and finesse to verbally dissect them without lowering yourself to their level. A quality public rebuke should take a second or two to sink in.  Insults thinly disguised as compliments are also very effective.  Here are some of my favorites:

Commentator Jim Hightower on George HW Bush: “If ignorance ever goes to $40 a barrel, I want drilling rights on George Bush’s head.”

Bob Dole on Carter, Ford and Nixon: “History buffs probably noted the reunion at a Washington party a few weeks ago of three ex-presidents: Carter, Ford, and Nixon — See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and Evil.”

Pat Buchanan on Bill Clinton: “Bill Clinton’s foreign policy experience is pretty much confined to having had breakfast once at the International House of Pancakes.”

Former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli on Former British Prime Minister William Gladstone: “If Gladstone fell into the Thames, that would be a misfortune. If anybody pulled him out, that, I suppose, would be a calamity.”

Lyndon Johnson on Gerald Ford: “He’s a nice guy, but he played too much football with his helmet off.”

Abraham Lincoln on Stephen Douglas: “His argument is as thin as the homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had been starved to death.”

And my all-time favorite:

Lady Nancy Astor to Winston Churchill: “Winston, if you were my husband, I’d poison your tea.” Churchill: “Nancy, if I were your husband, I’d drink it.”

Cheers to the clever insult!!!