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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1393
AUTHOR: Ambrose Gwinett Bierce (1842–c. 1914)
QUOTATION: POLITICIAN, n. An eel in the fundamental mud upon which the superstructure of organized society is reared. When he wriggles he mistakes the agitation of his tail for the trembling of the edifice. As compared with the statesman, he suffers the disadvantage of being alive.
ATTRIBUTION: AMBROSE BIERCE, The Devil’s Dictionary, p. 259 (1948). Originally published in 1906 as The Cynic’s Word Book.
SUBJECTS: Politicians