"There are two kinds of congressmen—show horses and work horses” was frequently said by Carl Hayden (1877-1972) of Arizona, who was a Representative (1912-1927) and a Senator (1927-1969). Hayden said in 1956 that he got the advice from Frederick Cockey Talbott (1843-1918), a U.S. Congressman from Maryland. A “show horse” gives empty speeches and gets his or her name in the press. A “work horse” concentrates on the job and in earning the respect of his or her colleagues.
The “show horse/work horse” expression is still frequently used in Congress.
Wikipedia: Joshua Frederick Cockey Talbott
Joshua Frederick Cockey “Fred” Talbott (July 29, 1843 – October 5, 1918) was a U.S. Congressman who represented the second Congressional district of Maryland.
27 November 1953, Lubbock (TX) Morning Avalanche, “The Women’s Angle” by Margaret Turner, pg. 4, col. 2:
“There are two kinds of congressmen—those who make the noise and those who make the laws.”—Rep. D. Bailey Merrill (R-Ind.).
19 February 1956, The Sunday Star (Washington, DC), “Last Frontiersman Marks His 44th Year in Congress” by Joseph F. McCaffrey, pg. A-25, col. 7:
Senator Hayden’s (Carl Hayden of Arizona—ed.) most cherished piece of advice came from Representative Frederick C. Talbott of Maryland:
“There are two kinds of Congressmen—show horses and work horses. If you want to get your name in the paper be a show horse. If you want to gain the respect of your colleagues, keep quiet and be a work horse.”
The American Political Arena;
By Joseph R. Fiszman
Boston, MA: Little, Brown
There are two kinds of Congressmen — show horses and work horses. If you want to get your name in the paper, be a show horse. If you want to gain the respect of your colleagues, keep quiet and be a work horse.*
*Senator Carl Hayden of Arizona remembers being told this when he first came to the Congress many years ago.
15 October 1962, Greensboro (NC)
(Vice President Lyndon—ed) Johnson said in Texas they have two kinds of horses—work horses and show horses. He said North Carolina always had work horses in Congress.
2 January 1967, Illinois State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL), “Why Quit Now? Sen. Hayden—Still Going At 89” by Joe Brooks (Copley News Service), pg. 42, col. 3:
Hayden once said that in his first session in Congress a fellow representative told him that there were two kinds of congressmen—work horses and show horses.
“He said if you’re a show horse you’ll make a lot of speeches but get nowhere,” Hayden recalled. “If you work and know what’s in every bill reported out of the committee you belong to, then by and by people will recognize you as a man who knows what he is talking about.”
Google News Archive
27 January 1972, Pittsburgh (PA) Press, “Carl Hayden, D-Ariz.” (editorial), pg. 26, col. 1:
It is possible that until his obituary notices appeared in the papers, Carl Hayden was barely known outside of Arizona, Washington, D. C., and some of the more senior political circles.
Mr.Hayden’s best-known distinction was his long tenure in Congress, 15 years in the House and 41 years in the Senate, 56 all told. His longevity is a record, both in total and in the Senate.
Several years ago Mr. Hayden told Richard Starnes, Scripps-Howard Washington writer, about making his first speech in the House—in 1912.
When he sat down an elderly fellow member told him: “There are two kinds of congressmen, show horses and work horses. If you want to get your name in the newspapers, be a show horse.
“But if you want to gain the respect of your colleagues, keep quiet, be a work horse, and speak only when you have the facts.”
OCLC WorldCat record
Show Horses & Work Horses in the United States House of Representatives
Author: James L Payne
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: Polity, v12 n3 (19800401): 428-456
Database: JSTOR Arts & Sciences VII Collection
Jewish Journal (Los Angeles, CA)
Henry Waxman: The show horse / work horse
by Raphael J. Sonenshein
January 30, 2014 | 2:14 pm
One of the most famous ways political scientists divvy up members of Congress is to call them either “work horses” or “show horses.” Work horses are the wonks who dig into the details of committee work and legislation, get little public recognition, but get a lot done. Show horses chase the cameras, get lots of buzz, blow off committee meetings and the drudgery of legislation and yet rise in the political system.
Courtney Ann Jackson
McCain quotes former AZ Senator and says there’s 2 types of Senators: work horses and show horses. Calls Cochran a workhorse.
9:27 AM - 23 Jun 2014
Jose A. DelReal
Hillary Clinton in NH: “There are two kinds of senators. Show horses and work horses.”
12:47 PM - 2 Nov 2014
Lisa J Stacholy
@nealboortz. Great quote by @jamiedupree on congress “Some people are Show Horses, Some people are Work Horses.”
10:24 AM - 9 Mar 2015
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • Friday, March 13, 2015 • Permalink