The Corner

Not Obama’s Quayle

I have just read Jim Geraghty’s piece on the folly of Obama selecting the inexperienced, enthusiastic, naive, and very, very liberal Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia. As always, Geraghty’s logic is impeccable and his facts make his case. His main argument — read here– is that the inexperienced Obama would have to go far to find a man with less experience in precisely the same areas that he lacks experience. Very true. Perhaps Jim underweighs, slightly, the lure of tying up Virginia’s electoral votes — though his suggestion of begging Mark Warner to be on the ticket makes that point.

My quibble? Why the headline comparing the selection of Kaine to 41′s selection of Quayle? (Whoever wrote the headline…) For the record, Dan Quayle was well into his second term as U.S. Senator from Indiana and had served in Congress before that. He had sponsored significant legislation, and worked on major domestic issues. He was a core conservative, with a large constituency in his state. There is no record of his having voted “present” at any stage in his career. Bush chose Quayle because he was young, experienced, and very conservative — and because he was not Jack Kemp, who met those criteria, but did not make Bush comfortable. Quayle’s candidacy got off to a bad start in large part because of the way he was presented — as a big surprise! (dumb idea) — and because he was undermined, from day one, by Bush’s then campaign manager, the evil James Baker — who essentially went to the press and rolled his eyes at the dopey choice his boss had made without his counsel.

Unless “Quayle” has come to simply mean a whimsically chosen running mate who gets you less than you think he will (see about a third of all VP choices in history), the headline is a gratuitous insult to someone whose views on issues comes closer to NR’s than any GOP nominee for either high office since — except Dick Cheney, who is equally unpopular with the media. Loyalty is a conservative virtue. End of rant.

While I am on the subject, where is the Poli Sci grad student, or faculty member, who wants to write the book about how James Baker, starting in 1980, undermined vast amounts of the conservative agenda through both Reagan terms and Bush I? That would go to the top of the right wing book lists in no time.


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