The Inevitably of Corruption in Politics

“Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption and he passeth from the stink of the didie to the stench of the shroud. There is always something.” — Robert Penn Warren, in the Pulitzer Prize-winning All the King’s Men, one of the best novels on politics I ever read. I hear the 1949 film version is far better than the 2006 remake starring Sean Penn.

In the book, a character explains that “politics is always a matter of choices .… And there is always a price to make a choice.” Humans make choices, and those choices will cost friends and votes. “There is always a price.”

The book was based on the character of Huey Long (1893 – 1935) of Louisiana. Nicknamed “The Kingfish”, he was an American politician who served as the 40th governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932 and as a member of the United States Senate from 1932 until his assassination in 1935. He was the subject of a PBS documentary, as well as other documentaries, and a popular song, “Every Man a King” or in contemporary times, “The Kingfish” by Randy Newman.

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