Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.
Ambrose Gwinett Bierce (1842c. 1914)
POLITICIAN, n. An eel in the fundamental mud upon which the superstructure of organized society is reared. When he wriggles he mistakes the agitation of his tail for the trembling of the edifice. As compared with the statesman, he suffers the disadvantage of being alive.
AMBROSE BIERCE, The Devils Dictionary, p. 259 (1948). Originally published in 1906 as The Cynics Word Book.