… is from page 43 of the 1996 Johns Hopkins University Press edition of H.L. Mencken’s 1956 collection, On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe ; here, Mencken is discussing typical American voters:
They like phrases which thunder like salvos of artillery. Let that thunder sound, and they take all the rest on trust. If a sentence begins furiously and then peters out into fatuity, they are still satisfied. If a phrase has a punch in it, they do not ask that it also have a meaning. If a word slides off the tongue like a ship going down the ways, they are content and applaud it and await the next.
Politics is indeed nearly all theater. And it would be fabulously entertaining if only its cast members did not demand audience participation.