Weekend Words: President

“I might be President by now if it weren’t for this ‘queer’ thing.”

Jean-Antoine Houdon, “Bust of George Washington” (1784), marble, Mount Vernon, Virginia (image via Web Gallery of Art)

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.
(Article 1, Section 3, The Constitution of the United States)

When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President. Now I’m beginning to believe it.

—Clarence Darrow

Democracy means that anyone can grow up to be president, and anyone who doesn’t grow up can be vice president.

—Johnny Carson

My ambition is to be President despite the fact that I’m a Catholic.

—Allen Ginsberg, “America”

I might be President by now if it weren’t for this ‘queer’ thing.

—Gore Vidal

The best reason I can think of for not running for President of the United States is that you have to shave twice a day.

—Adlai E. Stevenson, Jr.

In the year of 1945 a good President laid down and died
I knew how all of the poor people felt
When they received the message we’d lost Roosevelt.
In his life there was all indication
That in Warm Springs Georgia he received salvation.

—Otis Jackson, “Tell Me Why You Like Roosevelt”

All the President is, is a glorified public relations man who spends his time flattering, kissing and kicking people to get them to do what they are supposed to do anyway.

—Harry S Truman, letter to his sister (November 14, 1947)

We need a president who’s fluent in at least one language.

—Buck Henry

My president is black, my Lambo’s blue
And I’ll be goddamned if my rims ain’t too
My money’s light green and my Jordans light grey
And they love to see white, now how much you tryna pay?
Let’s go!

—Young Jeezy, “My President”

I’m not sure I’ve even got the brains to be President.

—Barry Goldwater (1964)

The thought of being President frightens me and I do not think I want the job.

—Ronald Reagan (1973)

Ronald Reagan is the most ignorant president since Warren Harding.

—Ralph Nader

Mothers may still want their sons to grow up to be President, but according to a famous Gallup poll of some years ago, some 73 percent do not want them to become politicians in the process.

—John F. Kennedy, Profiles in Courage (1956)

I understand the loyalties that insist
You burn a child or shoot a president
Or tattoo numbers on a woman’s wrist
I know the sorrow of the good idealist.

—Leonard Cohen, “Song of Destruction”

There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don’t know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president.

—Kurt Vonnegut, ”Cold Turkey,” In These Times (May 10, 2004)

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