"Don’t compare me to the Almighty, compare me to the alternative” is a political saying meaning that no candidate is perfect (like the Almighty), but he or she—however flawed—might still be better that all the other candidates (the alternatives).
One of Canadian Prime Minster Pierre Trudeau’s cabinet ministers said in 1972, “Don’t compare the Prime Minister to the Almighty. Just compare him to the alternative.” In 1979, Boston Mayor Kevin White borrowed from Trudueau’s slogan and said, “Don’t compare me to the Almighty. Compare me to the alternative.” U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and then President Barack Obama used the line in 2010 and 2012. In 2011, a Maclean’s magazine writer credited Canadian politician Keith Davey (1926-2011) for creating the line about Trudeau.
Wikipedia: Keith Davey
Keith Douglas Davey, OC (April 21, 1926 – January 17, 2011) was a Canadian politician, Senator, and campaign organizer.
Wikipedia: Pierre Trudeau
Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau CC, CH, PC, QC, FSRC ( /truːˈdoʊ/; French pronunciation: [tʁydo]; October 18, 1919 – September 28, 2000), usually known as Pierre Trudeau or Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was the 15th Prime Minister of Canada from April 20, 1968 to June 4, 1979, and again from March 3, 1980 to June 30, 1984.
Wikipedia: Kevin White (mayor)
Kevin Hagan White (September 25, 1929 – January 27, 2012) was a United States politician best known as the Mayor of Boston, an office he was first elected at the age of 38, and that he held for four terms, amounting to 16 years, from 1968 to 1984.
29 October 1972, New York (NY) Times, “Trudeau’s Rival: A Mild Man Rides a Bandwagon” by William Borders, pg. 14:
“Don’t compare the Prime Minister to the Almighty,” one of his Cabinet ministers is fond of telling crowds. “Just compare him to the alternative.”
3 April 1979, Oregonia (Portland, OR), “National unity theme puts Trudeau on line” by William Safire, pg. B7, col. 5:
Further, his Liberal Party has launched a savage, he’s-only-a-boo campaign against the 39-year-old Tory leader, Joe Clark. “Don’t compare Pierre Trudeau with the Almighty,” goes the Liberal message, “just compare him to the alternative.”
22 May 1979, Boston (MA) Globe, “White says he’ll seek 4th term” by Peter Cowen, pg. 1:
“I can t adopt a slogan of another candidate, but I like the one (Canadian Pierre Elliott) Trudeau had, which was ‘Don’t compare me to the Almighty. Compare me to the alternative.’”
(Boston Mayor Kevin H. White—ed.)
8 July 1979, Boston (MA) Globe, “The mayoral media war heats up” by David Rogers, pg. A6:
“Don’t compare me to the Almighty, compare me to the alternative,” White said when announcing, but maybe he waited too long to show this modesty.
Playing for Keeps:
The making of the Prime Minister, 1988
By Graham Fraser
Toronto, Ont.: McClelland & Stewart
“I guess in terms of the two competitors for the job we’re seeking I’ve had more experience in government. You don’t have to compare me to the Almighty. You’ve just got to compare me against the alternatives.”
Federal News Service
August 20, 2010 Friday
WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING
REMARKS BY VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN AT THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE (DNC) SUMMER MEETING;
LOCATION: ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
REMARKS BY VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN AT THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE (DNC) SUMMER MEETING LOCATION: ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI TIME: 11:27 A.M. EDT DATE: FRIDAY, AUGUST 20, 2010
You know, there used to be a mayor of Boston when I was a—when I got elected to the Senate, and was mayor up to that time—this is way back in ‘72. His name was Kevin White. He said, don’t compare me to the Almighty; compare me to the alternative. (Laughter, cheers.) Don’t compare me to the Almighty. Compare me to the alternative.
Dalton McGuinty: Partial Comeback Kid
by Paul Wells on Friday, October 7, 2011 12:14am
As he himself has said, ‘Don’t compare me to the almighty. Compare me to the alternative.’” Yes, that’s the line Keith Davey cooked up for Pierre Trudeau in 1980. There are no new lines any more.
The Right Scoop
Krauthammer thankful Obama is encouraging us not to compare him to God
Posted by The Right Scoop on May 15th, 2012 in Politics
Krauthammer responds to Obama quoting Joe Biden earlier on The View saying “Joe has a favorite expression, don’t compare me to the Almighty, compare me to the alternative.” It’s short, but it’s awesome: ...
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Thursday, May 17, 2012 • Permalink