Reading and hearing about US President Donald Trump’s almost daily insults of others got me wondering his schoolyard bullying tactics were something new or if political insults have always leaned more towards the childish. Turns out, in the past, political insults could really be quite poetic and eloquent. Below are a few gems that I mined from the Internet.
“Garfield has shown that he is not possessed of the backbone of an angleworm.”
– Ulysses S. Grant (1822-85), 18th American president, on James A. Garfield (1831-81), 20th American president
“He is a self-made man and worships his creator.”
– attorney John Bright on Benjamin Disraeli (1804-81)
“He occasionally stumbled over the truth, but hastily picked himself up and hurried on as if nothing had happened.”
– Winston Churchill on Stanley Baldwin (1867-1947)
“He slept more than any other president, whether by day or night. Nero fiddled, but Coolidge only snored.”
– H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) on Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933)
“[His ideas of popular sovereignty are] as thin as the homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had starved to death.”
– Abraham Lincoln, on his political rival Senator Stephen Douglas.
“Take from him his sophisms, futilities, and incomprehesibilities and what remains? His foggy mind.” -Thomas Jefferson, aiming high at Plato.
“McKinley has a chocolate eclair backbone.”
-Theodore Roosevelt on his predecessor William McKinley.
““That Washington is not a scholar is certain. That he is too illiterate, unlearned, unread for his station is equally beyond dispute.”
– John Adams on George Washington
“His soul is poisoned with ambition.”
– John Adams on Thomas Jefferson
“He can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”
– Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards on misstatements made by George Bush, Sr.
“A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward.”
-President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Ahhhh, the good old days. I would love to see this kind of writing in today’s political environment, it would be hilarious.