Mar 242013

Fleas can be taught nearly anything that a Congressman can.

mark Twain Fleas Congress

Fleas can be taught nearly anything that a Congressman knows. Illustration from AMERICAN EXAMINER, 1910 from the Dave Thomson collection

– What Is Man?

…the smallest minds and the selfishest souls and the cowardliest hearts that God makes.
– Letter fragment, 1891

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
– Mark Twain, a Biography

Congressman is the trivialist distinction for a full grown man.
– Notebook #14, Nov. 1877 – July 1878

All Congresses and Parliaments have a kindly feeling for idiots, and a compassion for them, on account of personal experience and heredity.
– Mark Twain’s Autobiography; also in Mark Twain in Eruption
The lightning there is peculiar; it is so convincing, that when it strikes a thing it doesn’t leave enough of that thing behind for you to tell whether–Well, you’d think it was something valuable, and a Congressman had been there.
Mark Twain’s Speeches, “The Weather”

It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.
– Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar

It is the foreign element that commits our crimes. There is no native criminal class except Congress.
More Maxims of Mark, Johnson, 1927

Whiskey is carried into committee rooms in demijohns and carried out in demagogues.
– Notebook, 1868

…I never can think of Judas Iscariot without losing my temper. To my mind Judas Iscariot was nothing but a low, mean, premature, Congressman.
– “Foster’s Case,” New York Tribune, 10 March 1873

A man with a new idea is a crank — until the idea succeeds.

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