Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Everett Dirksen, fully Everett McKinley Dirksen

American Political Leader, Senator and Congressman from Illinois

"The mind is no match with the heart in persuasion; constitutionality is no match with compassion."

"There is no force so powerful as an idea whose time has come."

"Life is not a static thing. The only people who do not change their minds are incompetents in asylums who can't and those in cemeteries."

"But the basic difficulty still remains: It is the expansion of Federal power, about which I wish to express my alarm. How easily we embrace such business."

"During a political campaign everyone is concerned with what a candidate will do on this or that question if he is elected except the candidate; he's too busy wondering what he'll do if he isn't elected."

"I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times."

"A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you're talking real money. [Attributed but disavowed by Dirksen]"

"I have said, with respect to authorization bills, that I do not want the Congress or the country to commit fiscal suicide on the installment plan."

"I know how easy it is to say, oh, it is only $20,000,000, or, it is only $80,000,000, or it is only $240,000,000 a year that will be taken out of the pockets of the taxpayer. But where will it finally stop? I do not know."

"I must use beautiful words, I never know when I might have to eat them."

"I've decided to be a dull, morose bore at these press meetings. It's the only safe course. You give me no choice. I tell a joke and you convert it into an international incident. I coin a whimsical term and you make it appear I am at odds with the President. I indulge in some polite banter and you interpret it as a split in the Party."

"Mr. President, economy is an old-fashioned thing. It savors of horse and buggy days. I am only too glad, however, to say a few words in behalf of economy, for in economy, in frugality, and in the thrift of our Government I think we shall ultimately find ourselves and our salvation."

"Mr. President, there is no royal road to a balanced budget. If there is, I have never discovered it in all the time I have been dealing with the millions of little figures that come to us in what looks like an unexpurgated mail-order catalog but what we call the budget of the United States, which contains some 1,100 pages."

"Stronger than all the armies is an idea thatÂ’s time has comeÂ… The time has come for equality of opportunity in sharing in government, in education, and in employment. It will not be stayed or denied. It is here!"

"The oil can is mightier than the sword."

"Victor Hugo wrote in his diary substantially this sentiment, 'Stronger than all the armies is an idea whose time has come.' The time has come for equality of opportunity in sharing of government, in education, and in employment. It must not be stayed or denied."

"We are becoming so accustomed to millions and billions of dollars that 'thousands' has almost passed out of the dictionary."

"We have been through this biennial convulsion four or five different times over the past 10 or 12 years, and now it appears that we are going through this quiet agony all over again."

"When a member of the House moves over to the Senate, he raises the IQ of both bodies."

"When all is said and done, the real citadel of strength of any community is in the hearts and minds and desires of those who dwell there."

"When I face an issue of great import that cleaves both constituents and colleagues, I always take the same approach. I engage in deep deliberation and quiet contemplation. I wait to the last available minute and then I always vote with the losers. Because, my friend, the winners never remember and the losers never forget."