A Brief History
On August 11, 1984, President Reagan caused the Soviet Union to raise their security and defense levels by joking about bombing Russia. Whether meant to go public or said in private conversation, politicians throughout history have been known to say incredibly stupid things. Here we list 10 such misstatements made by politicians. (Note: Due to the volume of stupid utterances, we do not claim these are the most stupid, but they are pretty stupid.) Obviously, this list cries out for a sequel.
10. “Read my lips, no new taxes.” George H.W. Bush, 1988.
Campaign pledges are usually not considered all that binding, but this broken pledge was one of the factors that cost Bush senior a second term in the White House.
9. “…put that double barreled shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house…” Joe Biden, 2013.
While explaining why Americans do not need assault weapons (does he even know what one is?), the Vice President told his fellow countrymen and his wife to get a double-barreled shotgun and shoot it from the front door or the balcony if they think intruders are about. Really? Yes, he really said that, and he is still the Vice President!
8. “I think incest can be handled as a family matter within the family.” Jay Dickey, Jr., 1992.
This buffoon was running for Congress when he it, and he still managed to win, representing Arkansas in Congress from 1993 to 2000! He continued by saying, “But I don’t think it’s rape because of the awareness of it within the family.” Sadly, no video of this quotation is currently available on Youtube, but we did find a trailer for a movie about incest…
7. “I know that the human being and fish can coexist peacefully…” George W. Bush, 2000.
In spite of this bizarre statement and others, enough people voted for him to put him in the White House, twice… He gave us so many hysterical quotes, several lists can be made just for him alone. (“They misunderstimate me.” “Is our children learning?” “Will the highways of the Internet become more few?” Well, will they?)
6. “Five days, five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn’t going to last any longer than that.” Donald Rumsfeld, 2002.
The former Secretary of Defense initially tried to sell the war in Iraq by saying it would be a short. (See #5.) Referring again to Iraq, he later said in 2006, “I have never painted a rosy picture…” and added that “It is unknowable how long that conflict will last.” No kidding.
5. “We know there are known knowns: there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns: that is to say there are things we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns– the ones we don’t know we don’t know.” Donald Rumsfeld, 2002.
Good Lord, this moron was Secretary of Defense! In case anyone ever wonders why things did not turn out so well in Iraq and Afghanistan, go back and read this a few times.
4. “…the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.” Michelle Bachman, 2011.
Showing the world that she has no idea whatsoever about U.S. history and the role of the founding fathers, Bachman apparently did not know that slavery was not abolished in the U.S. until after the Civil War. The country was already 90 years old by that time! It must also be mentioned that many of those signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were slave owners.
3. “I can see Russia from my house.” Attributed to Sarah Palin, 2008.
Well, no you cannot, but despite being widely attributed to her, this quotation is actually one she did not say. She did say something about how Alaskans see Putin’s head looking down at them whenever they look up, which of course qualified her to be vice-president. While this particular misquotation is not something she said, she could still give Dubya a run for his money with her actual such stupid statements.
2. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” Bill Clinton, 1998.
Well, yes he did. Looking America in the eye while lying is not a good combination, especially when the truth eventually comes out. This blatant lie hurt Clinton’s credibility and reputation much more than the actual affair. Of course, he is the same guy that said, “I would never approach a small-breasted woman.” That might well be one of the most honest things he has ever said.
1. “…I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. Bombing starts in five minutes.” Ronald Reagan, 1984.
Said during a sound check prior to a National Public Radio address, this statement did not go over the air but was leaked to the public, causing alarm in the Soviet Union and embarrassing the President and his administration. Joking about nuclear annihilation is not funny when it is done by the person who can actually do it.
Question for students (and subscribers): What other quotations would you like to see on the next list? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
If you liked this article and would like to receive notification of new articles, please feel welcome to subscribe to History and Headlines by liking us on Facebook and becoming one of our patrons!
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please read…
Dirksen, Eli. Gaffeiferous: Over 50 of the Best Gaffes from Our Smartest Leaders. 2012.
Frantzich, Stephen E. O.O.P.S.: Observing Our Politicians Stumble: The Worst Candidate Gaffes and Recoveries in Presidential Campaigns. Praeger, 2012.
The featured image in this article, a photograph of President Ronald Reagan during a Radio Address to The Nation from Rancho Del Cielo, 8/11/1984, is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.