Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington quotes

35 total quotes (ID: 793)

Clarissa Saunders
Jefferson Smith
Jim Taylor
Others
Senator Joseph Paine


[Describing his home state] I've been over every single foot of it. You could have no idea. You just have to see it for yourself. I don't know. The prairies and wind leaning on the tall grass and lazy streams down in the meadows, angry little midgets of water up in the mountains, cattle moving down the slope against the sun. Campfires and snowdrifts. You know, everybody ought to have some of that sometime in his life. My dad had the right idea. And it all worked out. He used to say to me: 'Son, don't miss the wonders that surround you because every tree, every rock, every anthill, every star is filled with the wonders of nature.' And he used to say to me: 'Have you ever noticed how grateful you are to see daylight again after coming through a long dark tunnel?' 'Well,' he'd say, 'Always try to see life around ya as if you'd just come out of a tunnel.'


[His voice very hoarse, from his filibuster] Just get up off the ground, that's all I ask. Get up there with that lady that's up on top of this Capitol dome, that lady that stands for liberty. Take a look at this country through her eyes if you really want to see something. And you won't just see scenery; you'll see the whole parade of what Man's carved out for himself, after centuries of fighting. Fighting for something better than just jungle law, fighting so's he can stand on his own two feet, free and decent, like he was created, no matter what his race, color, or creed. That's what you'd see. There's no place out there for graft, or greed, or lies, or compromise with human liberties. And, uh, if that's what the grownups have done with this world that was given to them, then we'd better get those boys' camps started fast and see what the kids can do. And it's not too late, because this country is bigger than the Taylors, or you, or me, or anything else. Great principles don't get lost once they come to light. They're right here; you just have to see them again!

[to Jefferson Smith] Why don't you go home?...This is no place for you - you're half-way decent. You don't belong here. Now go home.

[when Smith is announced as the newly appointed Senator] I want you to let the ballyhoo boys loose, plan a celebration, and declare a holiday.

Boy I feel like a house on fire.

Dad always used to say the only causes worth fighting for were the lost causes. The origin of this quote is Ethel Lina White's The Wheel Spins, published in 1936.

Don Quixote with bill will get to his feet in a minute and speak two important words. Willet Creek. When that happens, the Silver Knight will fall off his tightrope and Puss will jump out of his boots.

Gentlemen, I have lost all patience with this brazen character. I apologize to this body for his appointment. I regret I ever knew him. I'm sick and tired of this contemptible young man and I refuse to stay here and listen to him any longer. I hope every member of this body feels as I do.

I guess this is just another lost cause, Mr. Paine. All you people don't know about the lost causes. Mr. Paine does. He said once they were the only causes worth fighting for. And he fought for them once, for the only reason that any man ever fights for them. Because of just one plain simple rule: 'Love thy neighbor.' And in this world today, full of hatred, a man who knows that one rule has a great trust. You know that rule, Mr. Paine. And I loved you for it, just as my father did. And you know that you fight for the lost causes harder than for any others. Yes, you even die for them. Like a man we both knew, Mr. Paine.

I was hoping you'd be spared all this. I was hoping that you'd see the sights, absorb a lot of history, and go back to your boys. Now you've been living in a boy's world, Jeff, and for heaven's sakes, stay there! This is a man's world. It's a brutal world Jeff, and you've no place in it. You'll only get hurt. Now take my advice. Forget Taylor and what he said. Forget you ever heard of the Willet Creek Dam...I know it's tough to run head-on into facts but, well as I said, this is a man's world Jeff, and you've got to check your ideals outside the door, like you do your rubbers. Thirty years ago I had your ideals. I was you. I had to make the same decision you were asked to make today. And I made it. I compromised - yes! So that all those years, I could sit in that Senate and serve the people in a thousand honest ways. You've got to face facts, Jeff. I've served our state well, haven't I? We have the lowest unemployment and the highest federal grants. But, well, I've had to compromise. I've had to play ball. You can't count on people voting. Half the time they don't vote anyway. That's how states and empires have been built since time began. Don't you understand? [Pause] Well Jeff, you can take my word for it. That's how things are. Now I've told you all this because, well I've grown very fond of you. About like a son, in fact. And I don't want to see you get hurt.

I wonder Diz, if this Don Quixote hasn't got the jump on all of us. I wonder if it isn't a curse to go through life wised up like you and me.

I wouldn't give you two cents for all your fancy rules if, behind them, they didn't have a little bit of plain, ordinary, everyday kindness and a little looking out for the other fella, too.

If he even starts to convince those Senators, you might as well blow your brains out, you know that, don't ya? This is the works, Joe! Either we're out of business or we're bigger than we ever were before. We can't miss a trick. We can't stop at anything until we've smashed this yokel and buried him so deep...

Mr. President. I have risen to a difficult task to say that out of evidence that has come to my attention, I consider Senator Smith unworthy to address this body...Senators, I have conclusive evidence to prove that my colleague owns the very land described in his bill. He bought it the day following his appointment to the Senate. And he's holding it, using this body and his privileged office for his own personal profit! Accordingly, I offer a resolution for an immediate inquiry by the Committee of Privileges and Elections as to the fitness of my colleague to continue to sit in this chamber.

Our steam-roller methods are getting too hard for your sensitive soul. Is that it? The Silver Knight is getting too big for us. My methods have been all right for the past twenty years, Joe. Since I picked you out of a fly-specked hole in the wall and blew you up to look like a Senator. And now you can't stand it.