"Be for what is going to happen” is a political rule of uncertain origin. The saying means that a politician should take the side of a cause that is ultimately going to win.
“The old pol’s rule of ‘Be for what is going to happen’” was cited in 2008. “The cynic’s first rule of politics is: ‘Be for what is going to happen’” was cited in 2010. “A wise, old political sage told me once, “Be for what’s going to happen’” was cited in 2012.’Republican political consultant Lee Atwater (1951-1991) was credited in 2013 with this being the first of Atwater’s five rules of politics, but it’s uncertain when Atwater developed this rule.
February 12, 2008
“8 Questions the Potomac Primary Could Answer.”
Yes—if he keeps winning....
... “It’ll be a combination of true enthusiasm [for Obama] and the old pol’s rule of ‘Be for what is going to happen,’ “ [wrote Republican consultant Mike Murphy].
George J. Mitchell Oral History Project
Interview with Bob Tyrer by Brien Williams
BT: Well, it was interesting and dramatic when it was happening (1979-80—ed.), because there were other people who wanted it, including the governor of Maine who wanted it for himself. Senator Muskie, who had a very tactical way of using his temper said to the White House, “Okay, if Senator Mitchell’s not the appointee, I’m not going to be your secretary of state, so you guys go work this out.” So the Carter White House had to scramble pretty hard. They’d already signaled that they wanted to appoint Senator Muskie and they had to put the hammer down on the governor pretty hard to say, “Let’s be for what’s going to happen here. Senator Mitchell’s going to be the, Judge Mitchell’s going to be the senator.” So there was, that played out semi-publicly for a few days.
Washington (DC) Post
How to change ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’
Sunday, February 7, 2010
White House staffer to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush; chairman of BGR Group
The cynic’s first rule of politics is: “Be for what is going to happen.” And it is inevitable that gays will openly serve in the U.S. armed forces.
Minneapolis/St. Paul (MN) Business Journal
40 Under Forty
Mar 28, 2010, 11:00pm CDT UPDATED: Mar 25, 2010, 10:46pm CDT
Best quote, tweet or random thought you’ve heard in the past year.
Be for what is going to happen.
posted by Rich Miller
Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 12:32 pm
5. A wise, old political sage told me once, “Be for what’s going to happen.” Look at the Gallup poll that indicates gay marriage is favored by upwards of 70% for those under age 30. The ballot initiatives on 11/6 sent a clear indication of where the country is headed. The courts are clearly paying attention.
Comment by LincolnLounger Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 12:44 pm
Washington (DC) Post
The Insiders: Lee Atwater’s Five Rules of Politics
By Ed Rogers August 8, 2013
Rule #1. Be for what is going to happen. Simply put, always try to pick the winner. If you’re a selfishly motivated, hyper-ambitious career-manager, it helps a lot to work on the campaign of the winning candidate. Enough said.
The Hill—Congress Blog
June 18, 2014, 10:30 am
Tim Johnson’s last chance
By Michael Whatley
There is an old saying in politics, “be for what is going to happen.”
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • Wednesday, January 21, 2015 • Permalink