In taking stock of a politician, the first question is not whether he was a good man who used righteous means, but whether he was successful in gaining power, in keeping it, and in governing; whether, in short, he was skilful at his particular craft or a bungler.
Men who are engaged in public life must necessarily aim at reducing opposition to a minimum, and one of the most obvious means to that end is by misrepresenting, discrediting or ruining their opponents.
No politician has ever yet been able to rule his country, nor has any country ever yet been able to face the world, upon the principles of the Sermon on the Mount.
It is true that the politician, in his professional character, does not always, or even very often, conform to the most approved pattern of private conduct.
A wise politician will never grudge a genuflexion or a rapture if it is expected of him by prevalent opinion.
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