Why do people keeping putting guns to David Broder's head and forcing him to think about the marital intimacies of baby boomers who are thinking of running for president when he really, really doesn't want to?
For the better part of an hour, the senator from New York held forth in a disquisition on energy policy that was as overwhelming in its detail as it was ambitious in its reach.
But the buzz in the room was not about her speech -- or her striking appearance in a lemon-yellow pantsuit -- but about the lengthy analysis of the state of her marriage to Bill Clinton that was on the front page of that morning's New York Times.
...the very fact that the Times had sent a reporter out to interview 50 people about the state of the Clintons' marriage and placed the story on the top of Page One was a clear signal -- if any was needed -- that the drama of the Clintons' personal life would be a hot topic if she runs for president.
--Broder's column today
Asked by Washington Post columnist David Broder on "Meet the Press" whether he expected to be asked if he'd had an extramarital affair, Quayle said: "Are you going to ask that of every vice presidential candidate, every congressman, every senator? I just do not believe that that is an appropriate question that you ask a presidential candidate."
Having said that, Quayle added: "The answer in my case is no."
--Washington Post, February 12, 1999
I love that second one -- he didn't ask Quayle whether he'd had an affair, he asked if he expected to be asked if he'd had an affair.
In other words: "Do you think some rude, tasteless person is going to ask you if you've ever gotten a little on the side? I sure hope not, because that would be really, really unfair to you. Now me, I would never ask you that question. However, I am asking you about that question, and about what you'll do if some rude person -- not me, heaven knows! -- has the bad taste to ask it."
(In case you haven't noticed, Quayle is just about the only living Republican who's ever treated like a Democrat -- that is, like an embarrassing oddball and pariah. I'd almost feel sorry for him, but he's treated no worse than Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, or Howard Dean, all of whom deserve it a lot less. And frankly, if he'd made even a half-hearted effort to reposition himself, we'd have already read half a dozen articles by now in the mainstream press called "Taking Dan Quayle Seriously," and he'd be touted as a serious prospect for 2008. If you don't believe me, ask Newt Gingrich.)