From planets to potatoes:

G. Gordon

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As Republican candidates begin to duke it out even before the 2000 presidential primaries begin, Americans can count on continuing humor and abject horror from J. Danforth Quayle.
The conservative attacked Texas Gov. George W. Bush for embracing what the GOPer calls “compassionate conservatism.” Lamar Alexander, former GOP governor of Tennessee, called Bush’s laconic concept “weasel words,” while Quayle reportedly ordered staffers to “never, ever” utter the phrase in his presence.
While Quayle seems to have avoided a faux pas for the time being, he is known for putting his foot — and sometimes his whole leg — into his mouth. Political commentators expect the 2000 campaign trail will provide him with ample opportunity to play catch-up.
A look back at what the candidate has said: an everything-I-need-to-know-I-learned-from-Dan-Quayle revue.
Sometimes language barriers are beneficial for diplomacy. So much for having interpreters:
“I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have was that I didn’t study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those people.”
Apparently, geography isn’t important for domestic affairs either:
“I love California. I practically grew up in Phoenix.”
Quayle’s lack of geographic knowledge extends beyond the confines of planet earth:
“For NASA, space is still a high priority.”
And the solar system:
“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.”
Hooray, Dan! Why don’t you go check out that air supply for us?
Apparently, Earth and Mars are not part of the solar system:
“It’s time for the human race to enter the solar system.”
But geography wasn’t the only subject cut under Reaganomic educational policies; spelling was deemed unimportant, too.
In a 1989 Christmas card, Quayle’s greetings to friends and relatives included, “May our nation continue to be a beakon of hope to the world.”
And: “p-o-t-a-t-o-e.”
Quayle is also known for making profound statements, such as:
“Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things,” and, “The future will be better tomorrow.”
Although Quayle professes to support education, his own hasn’t done him much good: “We’re going to have the best-educated American people in the world.”
In an interview with Esquire magazine, Quayle illustrates his support for his party’s values:
“I am not part of the problem. I am a Republican.”
“Illegitimacy is something we should talk about in terms of not having it.”
Of course, his definition of bondage is also quite interesting:
“Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child.”
Sometimes, Quayle’s statements have exhibited plain stupidity:
“If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure,” and “I stand by all the misstatements that I’ve made.” — in an interview with Sam Donaldson.
But perhaps Quayle puts it best, saying, “What a waste it is to lose one’s mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.”
Yes, Dan. It is. Thank you for pointing that out to us with your candidacy for president.