Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I guess fact-checkers at National Review were told not to look at the first two sentences of Republican hack Michelle Malkin's article "Barack Obama, Gaffe Machine":

All it takes is one gaffe to taint a Republican for life. The political establishment never let Dan Quayle live down his fateful misspelling of "potatoe."

Really? He was a victim of one isolated slip-up?

For the truth, let's go to the wayback machine:

At the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, George H. W. Bush called on Quayle to be his running mate in the general election....

Questions were raised about Quayle's use of family connections to get into the Indiana National Guard and thus avoid possible combat service in the Vietnam War....

Contributing greatly to the perception of Quayle's incompetence was his tendency to make public statements which were either self-contradictory ("We don't want to go back to tomorrow, we want to go forward"), logically redundant ("The future will be better tomorrow"), obvious ("For NASA, space is still a high priority"), geographically wrong ("I love California. I practically grew up in Phoenix."), fallacious ("It's time for the human race to enter the solar system"), or painfully confused and inappropriate, as when he addressed the United Negro College Fund, whose slogan is "A mind is a terrible thing to waste," Quayle said "You take the United Negro College Fund model that what a waste it is to lose one's mind or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is."

... Quayle was asked his thoughts on sending humans to Mars. His response was stunning for the number of errors he made in just a few short sentences. "Mars is essentially in the same orbit [as earth]....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."

...On May 19, 1992, Quayle gave a speech to the Commonwealth Club of California on the subject of the Los Angeles riots.... In an aside, he cited the fictional title character in the television program Murphy Brown as an example of how popular culture contributes to this "poverty of values", saying: "[i]t doesn't help matters when primetime TV has Murphy Brown -- a character who supposedly epitomizes today's intelligent, highly paid, professional woman -- mocking the importance of fathers, by bearing a child alone, and calling it just another 'lifestyle choice.'" Quayle drew a firestorm of criticism....

That was before the "potatoe" gaffe.

A few more Snopes-verified quotes:

* "Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child."

* "Welcome to President Bush, Mrs. Bush, and my fellow astronauts."

* "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."

* "One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president, and that one word is 'to be prepared.'"

* "Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things."

* "I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future."

* "We're going to have the best-educated American people in the world."

* "I stand by all the misstatements that I've made."

* "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."

* "We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur."

* "Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children."

Oh, and don't forget my favorite:

"Hawaii has always been a very pivotal role in the Pacific. It is part of the United States that is an island that is right here."

Don't have a pity party for Dan Quayle, Michelle. He acquired his reputation as a dolt the old-fashioned way -- he earned it. And to argue that this Olympic-level doltishness is equivalent to, say, referring to Sioux Falls as Sioux City and immediately correcting oneself (one of the felonies in Malkin's Obama gaffe brief) is utterly preposterous.

No comments: