The Best of Notable Quotables; December 15, 1997

Vol. Ten; No. 25

The Harold Ickes "System Made Me Do It" Award

"In fact, Senator Specter, as Senator Torricelli mentioned, two
votes have left campaign finance reform legislation pretty much
DOA. Do you think that prompts the American people to wonder
about the sincerity of Congress to really enact change and
suspect that perhaps this is an intentional effort to embarrass
the Democratic Party?"
"But it's so ridiculous, you know people watching this just think
that reform is necessary. They can't understand why you guys
can't get your acts together!"  

--Katie Couric to Senator Arlen Specter, Oct. 8 Today. [77]


"We begin tonight with stalemate in the Senate. The majority
thwarted. Politics prevails. Campaign finance reform, which the
public wants, dead as a doornail, all of the above. After many
months of talking about it, the first real effort to reform how
campaigns for federal office are financed, the push to get some
of the big money out of election campaigns has gone nowhere."  

--ABC's Peter Jennings, October 7. [56]

"Your hearings clearly reinforced the public's already low
opinion of politicians and politics. Beyond that, what did it
accomplish?....At the same time you were criticizing the misdeeds
of the Clinton administration, leaders of your own party were
opposing changes in the law to outlaw these huge contributions
that helped create this scandal. Do you think that undercut your
credibility with the public?"  

--Questions from NBC's Lisa Myers to Senator Fred Thompson, November 7 Today. [54]

"At times it will seem as if an individual, or a presidential
campaign, or a political party is being investigated. That's only
partly true. What's really in the dock beginning today isn't any
politician but the system that politicians built. What's
important beginning today isn't what one party can show about the
other, but what the campaign-finance system shows about our
political system....The hearings that begin this morning aren't
really about John Huang and Charlie Trie or Abraham Lincoln's
bedroom but about the political loophole unregulated
'soft-money' contributions to the parties, not to the candidates
that makes them important. Soft money exploded in 1996..."  

--Boston Globe Washington Bureau Chief David Shribman, July 8 "news analysis." [50]