9/03/2008

Shades of '88

This election is starting to remind me of 1988. I remember watching when the first George Bush announced on the dock by the river in New Orleans that he had chosen Dan Quayle to be his running mate. There was a collective "Who?" that arose immediately. Although Quayle had been in politics for a while (and was much better than he got credit for--of all the Republicans brought into the Senate in the Reagan landslide in 1980, Quayle was the only one to win reelection) he was largely unknown.

He soon got tagged as a lightweight. That also was a distortion (for example, the "potatoe" incident featured Quayle going by the card handed him by the teacher for the correct spelling) although Quayle wasn't a genius, he at least knew there aren't 57 states. Of course the most famous moment of the campaign for Quayle was his thrashing at the hands of Lloyd Bentsen. "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy." It was largely based on a lie--Bentsen really hadn't been a friend of Kennedy, but it was a killer line, and came to define Quayle.

We happened to be in Washington for a conference just a few weeks before the election. I had a Bush-Quayle sticker on my notebook, and as we were leaving the hotel one morning a guy looked at that and then looked at me and said, "President Quayle? Doesn't that scare you?" I said, "Not as much as President Dukakis would."

Sarah Palin scares the Democrats to death. There's no other reason for them to go after her with the ferocity and slime that they have (they'd go after any Republican, but not like this). They're trying to hang a Quayle tag on her to discredit her because of the danger she poses. It's there on so many levels. She has Reagan's mix of optimism and conservative principle...and that's a killer electoral combination. She cuts across the feminist divide in a way no male candidate can. So they're going after her with all guns blazing. But I'm left with this thought. Even if they're right and she is the second coming of Dan Quayle...it's still a lot less scary than President Obama.

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