“All politics is local” is a popular political saying, most often associated with House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr. (1912-1994). O’Neill used the saying in his first political campaign, in 1935.
Byron Price (1891-1981), the Associated Press’s Washington bureau chief and author of the newspaper column “Politics at Random,” wrote “politics is local” and “all politics is local politics” in February 1932, and “all politics is local in the last analysis” in July 1932. Price likely coined and/or popularized the saying.
Wikipedia: Byron Price
Byron Price (1891-1981) was director of the Office of Censorship for the United States government during World War II. For his role, he was recognized with a Pulitzer Prize in 1944. After the war he was appointed as the Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations. In 1946, President Harry S. Truman presented Byron Price with the Medal for Merit for “exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services as Director, Office of Censorship, from December 20, 1941, until August 15, 1945.” After his tenure he served as vice-president of the Motion Picture Association of America.
Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame
On March 25, 1891, Byron Price was born in Topeka, Indiana, a rural, Amish-Mennonite community in North Central Indiana.
In 1922, Price was promoted to news editor of the Washington Bureau and then in 1927 was made chief of that bureau. After ten years as chief of the Washington AP office, in 1937, the AP’s general manager chose him to be executive news editor of the entire organization. He served in that position, with headquarters in New York City, until 1941.
For many years, he wrote a twice weekly column for the Associated Press entitled “Politics at Random,” and a column for Sunday papers, “The Week in Washington.”
The Yale Book of Quotations
Edited by Fred R. Shapiro
New Haven, CT; Yale University Press
Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr.
U.S. politician, 1912-1994
“All politics is local.”
Quoted in Wall Street Journal, 6 Dec. 1976. Although this line is associated with O’Neill, it appeared much earlier, such as in the Frederick (Md.) News, 1 July 1932.
Boston College - John J. Burns Library
Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr. Papers
In 1935 O’Neill entered political life with his first campaign, trying for a seat on the Cambridge City Council as a Senior at Boston College. This was his first and only loss. This was the campaign in which O’Neill learned that “People like to be asked” and “All politics is local.” In November of the next year, 1936, after graduating from Boston College, he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, the first of 25 consecutive elections spanning 50 years of public service. The Great Depression had hurt his constituents and O’Neill became a strong advocate of New Deal liberalism.
Google News Archive
16 February 1932, Sarasota (FL) Herald, “Politics at Random” by Byron Price (Chief of Bureau, The Associated Press. Washington), pg. 7, col. 3:
POLITICS IS LOCAL
What appears above is no attempt to support or deny the justice of the arguments made against Smith. It is an attempt solely to show how a lot of seemingly unrelated facts have brought about a rather surprising result.
It all emphasizes again that it is the little rills of political action far back in unsung precincts which go to make up the mighty stream of national political action.
In its last essence all politics is local politics, and every ward and township politician is looking for the combination which will help him at home.
Google News Archive
2 July 1932, Florence (AL) Times, pg. 1, col. 5:
BY BYRON PRICE
(Chief of Bureau, The Associated Press, Washington)
Why does the bandwagon exert such a pull in the political scene? It is not merely sentiment and enthusiasm. The varying facets of political belief, patronage and prestige all play in the general picture, but all politics is local in the last analysis, and local considerations come first.
Politics Is Your Business
By William Henry Baumer and Donald G. Herzberg
New York, NY: Dial Press
The underlying principle of the Chamber workshop is a belief that politics is organized group action and that politics is local.
24 December 1973, New York magazine, “The Man Who Could Push Richard Nixon Over the Edge” by Martin F. Nolan, pg. 42, col. 3:
Although O’Neill subscribes to the adage that all politics is local, he doesn’t worry about being overshadowed by a fellow Bay Stater.
A History of Iowa
By Leland Livingston Sage
Published by The Iowa State University Press
But, as it was observed many years ago, all politics is local politics, and, it might be added, personal politics.
All politics is local, and other rules of the game
By Tip O’Neill with Gary Hymel
New York, NY: Times Books
“All politics is local” is probably the lesson most assoicated with me. Actually, my father first told it to me and it helped me greatly along along the line. I can’t tell you how many people come up to me and repeat it, giving me the credit.
New York City • Government/Law/Military/Religion /Health • Saturday, June 13, 2009 • Permalink