Some men would rather be right than be President, while others are not so particular.  — Evan Esar

The PEANUTS comic strip in this morning’s paper had Peppermint Patty asking Roy what you do when something you “really believed was going to happen didn’t happen?” Roy answers, “Well, you could admit you were wrong.” Peppermint Patty replies, “Besides that, I mean.”

Now that’s humor that hits the nail on the head, which may be a cliche (like DENIAL IS NOT A RIVER IN EGYPT), but it’s a cliche because it’s right on target. Guilt-evasion, admission-advoidance and denial practicioners excel in many professions — one of my favorites is end-of-the-world prophets who always manage to come up with excuses why their predicted Armageddon dates come and go, yet we’re still here — but life is too short to delve into many professions. Politicians alone comprise a category of equivocation beyond belief, so it’s enough to let their cup runeth over onto this page….in their own words:

It depends on what the meaning of “is” is.  — Bill Clinton

I hope you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you’ve heard is not what I meant.  — Richard Nixon

First, it was not a strip bar, it was an exotic club. And second, I’m a night owl.”  — Washington D.C. mayor Marion Barry (when accused of inappropriate behavior at a strip joint)

I was walking around dictating responses and simply wanted to make sure the pieces of paper were not weighing me down.  — British Cabinet Secretary Oliver Letwin, after having been caught dumping sensitive Government papers in park bins.

I haven’t committed a crime. What I did was fail to comply with the law.  — former NYC mayor David Dinkins

Oh, did I say Norwegian army? What I really meant was that he’s with Britain’s special forces on a totally secret foreign mission, so I can’t tell you where he is or anything.  — Norwegian parliament member Saera Khan, who claimed, after Norwegian parliament refused to pay her $7750 cellphone bill, the charges were satellite phone calls to her boyfriend, a Norwegian special services soldier (she finally admitted the calls were to psychic hotlines after the British ISAF repudiated her claim)

Why do Sunnis kill Shiites? How do they tell the difference? They all look the same to me.  — Mississippie Senator Trent Lott

I simply misremembered it wrong.  — Illinois Senator Mark Kirk, regarding claims he’d made about his military record, including having been Naval Intelligence Officer of the Year, having commanded the Pentagon War Room and served in Desert Storm.

Well, it doesn’t sound [appropriate] now, [if] you bring it up that way.  — Texas state representative Joe Driver, in response to revelations that he’d been routinely double-billing the government for travel expenses despite his opposition to the “big spending habits of liberals in government.”

I never know what I’m going to say until I say it, so I am kind of interested in hearing what I think.  — South Carolina state representative John G. Altman