Vice President-A-Day Month keeps chugging along, as I jump ahead from Estes Kefauver to the 44th V.P. - Dan Quayle. Remember this guy? I sure do, and I have to think about him whenever people utter the phrase "Palin Presidency". Look, I'm not going to go into it right here, but thinking that Sarah Palin is Presidential material and being smart are two mutually exclusive propositions. That said, it's nice to know that if McCain had won, this country would have survived a Palin Vice-Presidency at the very least. If we survived Quayle, we can handle just about anything.
I've written before as to how I sometimes check out conservative blogs - one in particular which has banned me. (I probably deserved it, but I don't feel bad about what I wrote.) Anyway, the blogger would write about how Obama isn't a very good speaker unless he has his teleprompter in front of him. While one can certainly make the case that...Obama...pauses...pretty...often, he doesn't make anywhere near the amount of boob-tastic statements that Quayle used to make. Yeah, Obama said something about "the Austrian language" and "57 states". Hey, I say dumb stuff all the time - it happens to the best of us.
The difference is this, when you see or hear an interview with Obama, you can tell that he's a thoughtful person. His points aren't always in easily-digestible soundbites. Sure, he has a few with his "hope and change" line, but I saw him on 60 Minutes a while ago, and the man is thoughtful. This even goes for Joe Biden, who has a severe case of foot-in-the-mouth disease, but when he gets a chance to have a conversation with an interviewer, you can tell that there's something going on in his head.
This is definitely not the case for Sarah Palin, who didn't even have an answer for what she reads. (A conservative tried to justify it by saying that she was "over-thinking" because she knew that Katie Couric was a "lib" and might have been trying to set her up. I'll give you a moment to pick up the pieces of your head, as it has no doubt just exploded.) With her, it's all about stupid, folksy-sounding, easily digestible catchphrases that impress the rubes. Perhaps she's actually smarter than all that, but it represents the absolute worst and most cynical aspect of American politics.
And of course, this leads me back to Dan Quayle - the man who went after a fictional TV character for having a baby out of wedlock. (Should she have aborted it? What if the writers made it all "just a dream"? Is that just as bad as an abortion?) This is the guy who got us talking about "traditional family values" - whatever the hell that means. I remember watching a rally on the news for Quayle one time, and a supporter said that he liked Quayle because that's what he stood for. Do these people think? Can I become V.P. material if I claim to be for puppies, chocolate and goodness? And let's face it, I don't think I'm stretching it too far when I say that you can translate "traditional family values" to "queers need not apply".
Anyway, for your reading pleasure, here are some Quayle quotes from About.com:
"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."
"Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child."
"What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is."
"One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president, and that one word is 'to be prepared.'"
"Welcome to President Bush, Mrs. Bush, and my fellow astronauts."
"Mars is essentially in the same orbit . . . Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe."
"The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation's history. I mean in this century's history. But we all lived in this century. I didn't live in this century."
"I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy -- but that could change."
"I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future."
"The future will be better tomorrow."
"We're going to have the best-educated American people in the world."
"People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history."
"We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a part of Europe."
"I am not part of the problem. I am a Republican."
"I love California, I practically grew up in Phoenix."
"A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls."
"When I have been asked during these last weeks who caused the riots and the killing in L.A., my answer has been direct and simple: Who is to blame for the riots? The rioters are to blame. Who is to blame for the killings? The killers are to blame."
"Illegitimacy is something we should talk about in terms of not having it."
"We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur."
"For NASA, space is still a high priority."
"Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children."
"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it."
"[It's] time for the human race to enter the solar system."
"Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things."
"I stand by all the misstatements that I've made."