Everett Dirksen

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Everett McKinley Dirksen (4 January 18967 September 1969) was an Illinois Republican Senator and civil rights proponent.


  • Stronger than all the armies is an idea thats time has come. … The time has come for equality of opportunity in sharing in government, in education, and in employment. It will not be stayed or denied. It is here!
  • We have been through this biennial convulsion four or five different times over the past 10 or 12 years, and now it appears that we are going through this quiet agony all over again.
    • Remarks in the Senate on a resolution to amend Senate Rule 22 (cloture), Congressional Record (January 11, 1967), vol. 113, p. 182.
  • I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times.
    • As quoted in Caught Between the Dog and the Fireplug, or, How to Survive Public Service (2001) by Kenneth H. Ashworth, p. 11.
  • When I face an issue of great import that cleaves both constituents and colleagues, I always take the same approach. I engage in deep deliberation and quiet contemplation. I wait to the last available minute and then I always vote with the losers. Because, my friend, the winners never remember and the losers never forget.
    • As quoted in Business Wit & Wisdom (2005) by Richard S. Zera, p. 164.


  • A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you're talking real money.
    • Although often quoted, it seems Dirksen never actually said this. The Dirksen Congressional Research Center made an extensive search when fully 25% of enquiries to them were about the quotation. They could find Dirksen did say "a billion here, a billion there", and things close to that, but not the "pretty soon you're talking real money" part. They had one gentleman report to them he had asked Dirksen about it on an airflight and received the reply: "Oh, I never said that. A newspaper fella misquoted me once, and I thought it sounded so good that I never bothered to deny it."

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