"Good government is good politics” was a newspaper headline in 1890 and has been used by many politicians since then. Republican President Herbert Hoover used the line in 1931, Democratic President Harry S. Truman used the line in 1952, and presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson also used the line in 1952. “Good government is good politics” was spoken by New York politician James A. Farley (1888-1976) in 1937, New York politician Carmine DeSapio (1908-2004) in 1955, and Chicago politician Richard J. Daley (1902-1976) in 1960.
Wikipedia credits James A. Finnegan (1906-1958) with the phrase “Good Government is Good Politics,” but Finnegan neither coined nor popularized the saying.
Wikipedia: James A. Finnegan
James A. Finnegan (December 20, 1906 – March 26, 1958) was a Democratic politician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1931, and then served the United States Air Force as Lieutenant Colonel in the Troop Carrier Command in the United States, England, and France from 1942–46.
Finnegan served in succession as Secretary of the Delaware River Navigation Commission under then Governor George H. Earle III, administrative assistant to then Senator Francis J. Myers, administrative assistant to former Congressman Michael J. Bradley, and chair of the Philadelphia County Democratic Executive Committee. A member of Philadelphia City Council, he was elected its president in 1951, serving until January 1955.
Taking the oath of office on January 18, 1955, Council President Finnegan became Secretary of the Commonwealth under Governor George M. Leader. He resigned this position that same December to assume the duties of campaign manager for Illinois Governor Adlai E. Stevenson’s pre-convention and later presidential campaign in 1956. Leader reappointed Finnegan Secretary of the Commonwealth on December 28 1956. He served in this capacity until his death, at age 52, on March 26, 1958.
He is credited with the phrase “Good Government is Good Politics.”
Wikiquote: Richard J. Daley
Richard J. Daley, (May 15, 1902 - December 20, 1976) mayor of Chicago, Illinois from 1955 to 1976; 21 years as the undisputed Democratic boss of Chicago and is considered by historians to be the “last of the big city bosses.” He played a major role in the history of the Democratic Party, especially with his support of John F. Kennedy in 1960 and of Hubert Humphrey in 1968.
Good government is good politics and politics is good government.
. An ofttimes repeated maxim of Daley’s to describe his view on the inseparability of politics and government.
14 October 1890, Critic-Record (Washington, DC), pg. 2:
GOOD GOVERNMENT IS GOOD POLITICS
Governor CAMPBELL of Ohio, in calling the State Legislature together to get rid of the Board of Public Improvements of Cincinnati, which he believes to be corrupt, has performed one of the bravest public acts any governor of a State has done since Governor TILDEN of New York smashed the corrupt rings which had fastened themselves upon the State and city of New York.
National Civil Service League
Surely, in these branches of the classified service the best only should be sought, and once obtained automatically proves the old adage that “Good government is good politics.”
16 June 1931, New York (NY) Times, “Hoover Commends Party in Indiana,” pg. 3:
The purpose of party organization must be to promote the national welfare. Nothing is more certain than that good government is good politics.
The state papers and other public writings of Herbert Hoover
By Herbert Hoover
Edited by William Starr Myers
Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran & Co.
Nothing is more certain than that good government is good politics.
Farley and Tomorrow
By John T. Casey and James Bowles
Chicago, IL: The Reilly & Lee Co.
Farley, in every way as idealistic as More, has done much to advance better government because he is practical in his application of altruistic ideas on public affairs. His guiding motto is “Good government is good politics.”
17 September 1937, New York (NY) Times, “His Secretary Tells Why ‘People’ Back La Guardia,” pg. 17:
This attitude on the part of the Mayor was revealed yesterday by Lester Stone, his secretary, in a radio address broadcast from Station WNEW.
“After all, that is the important thing,” Mr. Stone added. “The people want him. Mayor La Gurrdia’s inevitable re-election on Nov. 2 will prove one thing—good government is good politics.”
The wit and wisdom of Stevenson of Illinois
By Adlai E. Stevenson
Edited by Bessie Rowland James and Mary Waterstreet
New York, NY: H. Schuman
Here from my parents and grandparents, from...the friends of my boyhood...I learned that good government is good politics, and that public office doubled the responsibility that a man felt in his own home, his own neighborhood, his home town.
3 May 1952, New York (NY) Times, pg. 22:
Following is the text of President Truman’s address to the National Civil Service League at its seventieth anniversary in Washington last night, as trqanscribed by THE NEW YORK TIMES:
Let me tell you something I have learned in my thirty years of public office: Good government is good politics; and the best politics is what is best for all the people.
6 June 1955, Life magazine, pg. 163, col. 1:
The substance of his whole approach can be summed up in his constantly repeated catch-phrase, “good government is good politics.”
(Manhattan politician Carmine De Sapio—ed.)
The search for leadership
By James Q. Wilson
Glencoe, IL: Free Press
Daley came to the Cook County Democratic Central Committee with the slogan that “good government is good politics.”
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Thursday, January 13, 2011 • Permalink