A popular Texas phrase that’s not originally from Texas is: “Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game and dumb enough to think it’s important.” It was said by Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy (1916-2005), who was running for president in 1967-68.
It’s easy to see how and why Texas adopted the phrase. Football and politics are two popular Texas pastimes. Also, the U.S. president at that time was Lyndon B. Johnson, a Texan. The late Texas governor Ann Richards and Texas gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman are two people who have used the phrase.
Wikipedia: Eugene McCarthy
Eugene Joseph “Gene” McCarthy (March 29, 1916 – December 10, 2005) was an American politician and a long-time member of the United States Congress from Minnesota. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1949 to 1959 and the U.S. Senate from 1959 to 1971.
In the 1968 presidential election, McCarthy unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for president of the United States to succeed incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson on an anti-Vietnam War platform. He would unsuccessfully seek the presidency five times altogether. In 1980, he endorsed Ronald Reagan for the presidency.
Yale Book of Quotations
edited by Fred Shapiro
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
U.S. politician, 1916-2005
Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game and dumb enough to think it’s important.
Quoted in Washington Post, 12 Nov. 1967
Texas Wit & Wisdom
by Wallace O. Chariton
Plano, TX: Wordware Publishing, Inc.
At a recent roast for Bum Phillips, one of the featured speakers was Ann Richards, the Texas state treasurer. She sort of put things into perspective when she closed her speech. “Now, all I can say, Bum, is that football is a helluva way to make a living. And I know you’re glad to be out of it and into something real simple like ranching, where you can deal with the front end of horses. But I understand why you love it. After all, you know what they say. Politics is a lot like football. You have to be smart enough to play the game and dumb enough to think it’s important.”
You Can Lead a Politician to Water, But You Can’t Make Him Think
by Kinky Friedman
New York, NY: Simon and Schuster
A good politician, they say, should be like a good football coach. He should be smart enough to understand the game, yet dumb enough to think it means something.
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Monday, October 01, 2007 • Permalink