Every week Scandal viewers are blown away by the dialog on the popular ABC show. Dedicated fans everywhere have started up blogs dedicated solely to the best Scandal quotes, with the words of Cyrus Beene (played by Jeff Perry) being a favorite among most. Now midway through its third season, Shonda Rhimes and the other writers continue to bring the shock and awe with epic speeches, rants and monologues from various cast members, all touching on themes of love, gender, class, race and politics. Here are ten of the best quotes/rants from the characters of Scandal; here’s what they didn’t teach you in third period Government.
10. “No one elected you! You’re not the president! You don’t weigh in on foreign policy! Your opinion doesn’t matter! You are the first lady. Your job is to plant gardens and decorate rooms and let them blog about your clothes. You’re ornamental, not functional. So, don’t come into the oval and try to use your brain because no one cares.” —President Fitzgerald Grant
Fitz shuts his wife down, suggesting to Mellie that her position as the First Lady is not one that carries any political clout.
9. “We are talking about the president of the United States. You wanna burn down his house, you’re gonna have to burn down your own as well.” —Olivia Pope
The fixer warns Amanda Tanner, her first client in the first season about going after the president of the United States.
8. “I wasn’t made to be the chief of staff. Do you know what I was made to be? I was made to be the president of the United States. I was made to lead the nation. I was made to ensure this country’s place in the world for generations to come. I would’ve been great at that. I have the stones. I have backbone. I have the will. I would have been a great president. But guess what? I’m fairly short, and I’m not so pretty, and I really like having sex with men. So instead of being president of this land that I love, I get to be the guy behind the president of the United States. And sure, I have power. I influence decisions. I help steer the country. But I’ll never be in the history books. My name will never be on an airport or a doctrine. Being the guy behind the guy is as far as my road goes.” —Cyrus Beene
Cyrus (who appears multiple times on this list) knows his true destiny, and he also knows that the social politics of America would never allow him to achieve it.
7. “I need to make some plans for my political future. And I do have a bright, bright political future. A sweet lawyer who gave up her career for her husband, suffered a miscarriage and then had a late-in-life baby while first lady. That’s gold. That’s a future president. That’s a hell of a second act. America loves a second act.” —Mellie Grant
During a difficult time in their marriage (difficult because Fitz was making it clear that he had no intentions of ending his relationship with Olivia Pope), Mellie explains precisely how, if she wants to, she can get the American people to elect her the first woman president of the United States.
6. “I know she seems weak now, but she is smart and powerful. And smart, powerful women like Catalina don’t just curl up and hide when they’ve been wounded. They strike back … by writing memoirs and appearing on talk shows and at benefits and red carpets, talking about women’s rights in the developing world. And how babies were ripped from her arms by a ruthless dictator who can’t run a family, much less a country. And then one day out of nowhere, she’s not just the mother of your children anymore; she’s a hero. And people everywhere—here, your country—love a hero… This woman can be the mother of your child or the face of your opposition.” —Olivia Pope
Olivia tells her client, a foreign dictator, why divorcing his wife and taking custody of their children might be a bad political move on his part.
5. “What’s next? What’s next? Okay, here’s what happens next: you resign from office now. Or Amanda goes on TV, tells her sad, sordid tale. There are hearings, you’re impeached, and you’re forced to resign from office. Your vice president—a moronic, right-wing nut job who thinks the Tea Party was founded to lower the yacht tax and who also seems to not quite understand that evolution isn’t an idea but an actual fact, but who cares? We won the scary states in the election. They’ll have a party now that their Grand Wizard is president. I’m pretty sure I’ll never see a legal marriage and women will lose their right to choose, but hey, whatever. We’re all Republicans, even if the new president will give Republicans a bad name.You’ll leave in disgrace, go home to California, keep a low profile for a while, and then some fancy publishing house will pay you a fortune for a book, which you’ll write. Only it won’t talk about what everyone really wants to know about. It won’t talk about your sordid affair with a White House aide. It’ll talk about policy and your thoughts on the economy, and it won’t sell because no one cares about your thoughts on policy and the economy anymore because you’re not the president anymore. What you are now is a joke on Letterman. Mellie, a lovely woman, ambitious and strong, and, well, quite wealthy in her own right, she’s not gonna be circa 1998 Hillary on this. No, sirree. This is the 21st century. She’s gonna leave you, and she’s gonna take your children with her, and everyone will applaud her, from the Religious Right to the women’s groups, because you’re a philandering pig who had a child out of wedlock, and we all know it’s true because we heard the tape.You’ll be alone in your house in Santa Barbara, listening to old records and telling the same story over and over again to the poor sap not smart enough to get out of being assigned to your Secret Service detail. Then one day, about, oh, three or four years from now, you’ll step into your bathroom, take out that revolver your father gave you when you were elected governor, you’ll put it in your mouth and you’ll blow the back of your skull off. Oprah’s retired now, so I guess I have to do a post-funeral interview with Barbara Walters. She’s nice. But, ya know! You just go back to writing your own speech.That’s important. That matters.” —Cyrus Beene
In a monologue of epic proportions, the White House chief of staff explains to President Fitz what his political future holds if the woman he slept with (Amanda Tanner) is indeed pregnant and decides to go public with her story.
4. “Make no mistake—you are going to leave the White House. You’ll want your own political career, and I will back you, and campaign for you, and never speak of my ex-wife, Mellie Grant, in anything but the most glowing terms. And then in a year I will go on one or two high-profile dates with well-educated, age-appropriate career women, which will be chronicled in immaculate detail in tabloids around the globe. And when word leaks six months later that I’ve been spending time with one of my oldest, dearest, most trusted advisors who selflessly acted as the mouthpiece of my administration when I was lying half-dead in a hospital bed, who has always stood beside me as my friend and colleague—when it gets out that she and I have started after all this time to care for one another in a way that is no longer strictly professional, America will love her. Let’s be honest. My relationship with Olivia is going to spark a real dialogue about race in this country, and it is going to blow the Republican party wide open and let some light and air into places that haven’t seen change in far too long. So the party will love her. And you wanna be on the right side of history here, trust me. You do. Now. If you don’t wanna play along. If you leak Olivia’s name, if you refuse to go gently, well, it only takes a few whispers of the word ‘racist’ before the feminist groups, the religious groups, and even the Republican National Party turn up their noses at your stink.” —President Fitzgerald Grant
Fitz reveals to Mellie his plans to divorce her and marry Olivia, all while remaining president, and with the political support of the American people. It’s another lengthy rant, but in addition to speaking brilliantly to American politics, it’s easily one of the best break-up speeches ever.
3. “Gay, I can work with. Gay, I could get elected. Gay, I could take all the way. Give me ten years, and I can make a gay president… This? Single, celibate? No women or men anywhere?! No virility, no testosterone? No passion? That’s fatal… When’s the last time a single man has been elected to the governor’s mansion in any state in the past forty years? People don’t like a guy they can’t place.” —Olivia Pope
Olivia explains to a client that the American people are ready to accept politicians of all sexual orientations, as long as there is a particular box in which he can be placed.
2. “You and I both know that he is not in charge. Power is in charge. Power got him elected!” —Eli Pope
Olivia’s father reminds his daughter that the president of the United States has far less control than people (including Olivia) might think.
1. “You know what our electoral process is! It’s magical! It’s like believing in Santa Claus, or the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny. Magical. As long as they believe. What you’re doing is telling the people that the shiny presents and the bulging stockings on Christmas morning are just mom and dad staying up all night to do the work. You’re telling them we’re Santa! We’re the Easter Bunny! We’re the Tooth Fairy. You’re taking the magic away. You’re ruining Christmas morning. And the whole republic is gonna come crashing down because you’re not tough enough to do what needs to be done.” —Cyrus Beene
In a heated debate with Olivia (who is threatening to blow the lid on the stolen election), Cyrus likens the American political process to Santa Claus and other holiday myths.