Dusty Quotations


Who is Dan Quayle?

James Danforth Quayle (/ˈkweɪl/; born February 4, 1947) is an American politician who served as the 44th vice president of the United States from 1989 to 1993 under President George H. W. Bush. A member of the Republican Party, Quayle represented Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1977 to 1981 and in the U.S. Senate from 1981 to 1989.

A native of Indianapolis, Quayle spent most of his childhood in Paradise Valley, a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona. He married Marilyn Tucker in 1972 and obtained his J.D. degree from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in 1974. He and Marilyn practiced law in Huntington, Indiana, before his election to the United States House of Representatives in 1976. In 1980, he was elected to the U.S. Senate.

In 1988, vice president and Republican presidential nominee George H. W. Bush chose Quayle as his running mate. His vice presidential debate against Lloyd Bentsen was notable for Bentsen’s “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy” quip. The Bush–Quayle ticket nevertheless defeated the Democratic ticket of Michael Dukakis and Bentsen, and Quayle became vice president in January 1989. During his tenure, Quayle made official visits to 47 countries and was appointed chairman of the National Space Council. As vice president, he developed a reputation for making gaffes. He secured re-nomination for vice president in 1992, but Democrat Bill Clinton and his running mate Al Gore defeated the Bush–Quayle ticket.

In 1994, Quayle published his memoir, Standing Firm. He declined to run for president in 1996 because of phlebitis. He sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, but withdrew his campaign early on and supported the eventual nominee, George W. Bush. He joined Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity firm, in 1999. Since leaving office, Quayle has remained active in the Republican Party, including making several presidential endorsements in 20002012, and 2016.

You’ll no doubt notice that the quote, and his highly accomplished biography, do not seem to fit well together. He was very well-known for verbal gaffes. It is difficult to discern which quotes, now attributed to Quayle, were actually said by the man. Normally reliable famous quotes repository sites struggle to know the difference between actual Quayle quotes and the humorous fakes attributed to him. The fault for that lies with the abundance of true gaffes spoken by Quayle, who is said to have developed a speech impediment.

Snopes even has a fact-check page on Quayle quotes. They do state that the following list of statements are authentic:

  • “Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child.”
  • “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.”
  • “What a waste it is to lose one’s mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.”
  • “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.”
  • “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.”
  • “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.”
  • “I am not part of the problem. I am a Republican.”
  • “I love California, I practically grew up in Phoenix.”
  • “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’s] time for the human race to enter the solar system.”

Perhaps one thing for which the former Vice President might now be thankful is that he served just prior to the advent of 24 hour news and the widespread use of the internet.

2 thoughts on “Dusty Quotations

  1. There’s a lot things to not like about people’s joy in attacking others, but for me going after people that aren’t good public speakers really galls me. If you want to say that a politician (or whatever) is a moron or has bad ideas or is a horrible horrible monster, fine, say that. It drives me nuts when people are just like “huu-huh, he can’t talk good!” Spoiler alert a lot of people who are great at public speaking are horrible horrible monsters.

    1. Yeah. I’m kind of internally split on this. I think people tend to vote for the best speaker, and as you mention, that person can be (and often is) a monster. I think effective public speaking is a skillset one acquires as a narcissistic sociopath. On the other hand, public speaking is a part of the actual job – especially the higher up the political ladder one climbs. The staff does the grunt work but the politician communicates the message.

      I think I’m a good lawyer, in my field, but I’d be a horrible trial lawyer. Maybe this oratory requirement is why societies that vote are historically less common and less stable than those that don’t vote.