A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 12, 2015
“A conservative is someone who believes in reform. But not now”

Comedian and social satirist Mort Sahl said in 1958 that a conservative Republican is one “who doesn’t believe anything should be tried for the first time,” and a liberal Republican is one who “does believe something should be tried for the first time, but not now.” The remark has been popular in the paraphrase:

“A conservative is someone who believes in reform. But not now.”


Wikipedia: Mort Sahl
Morton Lyon “Mort” Sahl (born May 11, 1927) is a Canadian-born American comedian and social satirist, considered to be the first modern stand-up comedian since Will Rogers, a humorist in the early 20th century. Sahl pioneered a style of social satire which pokes fun at political and current event topics using improvised monologues and only a newspaper as a prop.

8 April 1958, Boston (MA) Daily Record, Earl Wilson’s “It Happened Last Night,” pg. 24, col. 4:
Mort Sahl, the brilliant young wit from San Francisco, enchanted the Studio Set by defining a conservative Republican as one “who doesn’t believe anything should be tried for the first time.” (And a liberal Republican as one who “does believe something should be tried for the first time but not now.")

15 June 1958, Pasadena (CA) Independent and Star-News, “The Lively Arts,” Scene sec., pg. 13, col. 1:
One quickly gathers that Mort, who dresses casually in denims, and a turtle-neck sweater, is not a Republican. He says that there are two wins of the Republican party. The conservative wing believes that “nothing should be done for the first time.” The moderate wing thinks that, “things SHOULD be done for the first time, but NOT NOW.’

7 April 1991, Kokomo (IN) Tribune, Frank Gregory’s “Talk of the Town,” pg. 17, col. 5:
Instant thot: A conservative is someone who believes in reform—but not now.

14 July 1992, Independent Record (Helena, MT), “The Light Side,” pg. 4B, col. 1:
A conservative doesn’t want anything to happen for the first time; a liberal feels it should happen, but not now. — Mort Sahl

22 April 1993, Cedar Rapids (IA) Gazette, “Crypto-quote,” pg. 7C, col. 7:
“A conservative is someone who believes in reform, but not now.”—Mort Sahl

Google Books
The Mammoth Book of Comic Quotes
By Geoff Tibballs
London: Constable & Robinson Ltd.
2004
Pg. ?:
A conservative is someone who believes in reform. But not now.
MORT SAHL

Google Books
The Snark Handbook:
Politics and Government Edition:
Gridlock, Red Tape, and Other Insults to We the People

By Lawrence Dorfman
New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing
2012
Pg. ?:
A conservative is someone who believes in reform. But not now.
Mort Sahl

Twitter
Jewish Comedians
‏@JewishComedians
Mort Sahl: A conservative is someone who believes in reform. But not now. | #Quotes
2:53 PM - 12 Dec 2015

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Saturday, December 12, 2015 • Permalink