Lingua publica

The good and the bad...

web posted October 23, 2000

"Until a last-minute rebellion from Democrats who'd previously supported the bill, the New Jersey state assembly looked set to pass a measure that would have called for the state's schoolchildren to follow their Pledge of Allegiance with the opening passage from the Declaration of Independence: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.' New Jersey's Democrats couldn't choke that down. In the end, none would vote for the measure, the result of a slightly surreal debate in which the Declaration was found to be anti-black, anti-women and too pro-God." -- Wall Street Journal

"Scan the Constitution, and you won't find authority for much of what Washington does today. Set speed limits for roads across the country? Decide on the kind of health insurance due fired workers? Transfer taxpayers' earnings to special interests? Congress simply assumes that it can do whatever it wants. What was supposed to be a government of enumerated powers is now an almost unlimited Leviathan state." -- Doug Bandow

"We are just like second-century Rome and Greece. We are declining as a nation because our leadership and our government now use farce to state their cases, and there are too few people who are willing to stand up and challenge that, including the media. Consequently, the very tenets of our liberty are going to be taken away." -- Rep. Tom Coburn

"It's bad enough when the candidates court voters with promises of bounty from the public coffers. It's something else again when the promises are empty, and we don't care. When we fail to hold our leaders accountable to standards of right and wrong, we will have lost the right to be free." -- Charles Colson

"Have no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country. Fight them, wherever you are. Wherever you meet them, kill them. Wherever you are, kill those Jews and those Americans who are like them -- and those who stand by them -- they are all in one trench, against the Arabs and the Muslims -- because they established Israel here, in the beating heart of the Arab world, in Palestine." -- Ahmad Abu Halabiya of the Palestinian Authority Fatwah Council

"When we wear the black beret it will say that we, the soldiers of the world's best army, are committed to making ourselves even better. It is time for the entire Army to accept the challenge of excellence that has so long been a hallmark of our special operations and airborne units." -- Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki announced that his service branch will make the black berets -- now reserved for the Army's elite Ranger units -- standard issue

"And so Israel is forced to reckon with the unpleasant truth: There will be no peace; at best, armed truce. It's a terrible reality -- but pretending your enemies want peace when they quite plainly do not is foolish beyond measure." -- Mona Charen

"Complicity starts at the top of the chain of command, with the president, and works down through the secretary of defense, to all the admirals and generals to the very skipper of that ship." -- David Hackworth

"We now know that 'improved relations' means letting a U.S. warship be bombed without retaliating, in the new diverse Navy." -- Michael Savage

"The arms-control crowd doesn't seem to realize that diplomacy works best when you bargain from a position of strength. And that's no myth." -- Edwin Feulner

"Oddly, Bush's...political instincts -- exemplified by his constant attempt to stress how he wanted to have Democrats on his bipartisan team -- are to avoid fights rather than to win them." -- John O'Sullivan

"...[A]fter eight years of a confessional Clintonism that feels our pain and takes all too many other liberties, some of us long for a solid, sensible executive, the duller the better." -- Paul Greenberg

"How can the public choose sides, when one side has nothing left to surrender? Not until the right is prepared to lose on principles will we ever hope to win this culture war on which the survival of our nation depends." -- Don Feder

"If Al Gore can't overcome George W. Bush's mid-October surge, the vice president's campaign aides already have a ready explanation for his defeat. It's two words: Bill Clinton. Through millions of dollars in polling, Gore's camp has concluded that many voters have a deep, impenetrable, almost irrational hatred of the president." -- Ron Brownstein in the Los Angeles Times

"We need to get out an all points bulletin to find Joe Lieberman. Lieberman no longer exists, from nudging Hollywood, to re-interpreting Jewish law regarding intermarriage, and now reaching out to the big F(arrakhan). What's next? A warm hug for Saddam Hussein? A visit to the grave of the Pol Pot to apologize? An endorsement of Scream IV? A fund-raiser with Eminem? A joke about finding Moses in his room and asking, 'What you just show up but you don't call?' Gore and Lieberman: When anything but the truth will do." -- Republican National Committee Co-Chairman Patricia Harrison

"I don't actually think Gore has told any whoppers at all. They are the minorest kind of factual, teeny-weeny exaggerations, if that." -- NPR's Nina Totenberg

"I mean, he is under the heat of a huge national audience. He maybe exaggerated, maybe a slip of the tongue. Are those things reason enough to keep him out of the White House?" -- NBC's Matt Lauer on Al Gore

"Our country has come a long way: first we had George Washington, who couldn't tell a lie. Then we had Bill Clinton, who couldn't tell the truth. And now we have Al Gore, who can't tell the difference." -- Jay Leno

web posted October 16, 2000

"In America today, are there no national crises, no common dangers, no reasons to sound the alarm? Our prosperity is unprecedented. But while the table is loaded, there is a spiritual hunger in the land. Never before have we been as divided along racial/ethnic lines. Our nation is suffering an identity crisis. Fewer and fewer of us know what America means, understand that we were founded on an ideal and grew to greatness adhering to a vision." -- Don Feder

"We've always been ready, even before the Al-Tipper smooch, to stipulate that a President Gore would not run off with a White House intern. But what has debased our national discourse during the Clinton years is not sex but lies, and here the Vice President clearly digested the lesson that the Clinton ethos works. 'I did not have sex with that woman" is of a piece with 'no controlling legal authority'." -- Wall Street Journal

"How many Catholic schools do you think teach the students to question the authority of the Pope? Do you believe Christian schools teach students to question or challenge the authority of Jesus Christ? Do military schools teach the cadets to challenge the authority of superior officers? Well, why should we then expect government schools to teach children to question the authority of government?" -- Neal Boortz

"The word 'respondent' sends shudders through the nose-counting community. The dirty secret of political surveys is this: As recent as 1984, the response rate to pollsters' questioning was 65 percent; that is, two out of three people reached would answer. Pollster friends whisper to me that the response rate is down to 35 percent. (Two out of three pollsters I called went mum or hung up on me, thus validating this reported figure in my mind, which never leaves margin for error.)" -- William Safire

"Where else in the world could you stand on a corner and have people yell, 'Go Home' in every language? Sixty-seven languages in Queens alone." -- Hillary Clinton on her campaign in New York

"I agree" -- what Al Gore said 14 times to something George W. Bush said during their second debate on October 11

"Albert Arnold Gore Jr. is a habitual liar. I realize that in the political culture in which we live, making such a charge -- even if it is true -- is considered to be mean-spirited, in bad form, indecorous. Nevertheless, as the Founders understood, almost nothing matters more in a chief executive than his public character and trustworthiness, his truthfulness and integrity. And on these grounds alone, Mr. Gore should be disqualified from being president. ... The vice president lies reflexively, promiscuously, even pathologically. He lies on matters large and small, significant and trivial, when he 'needs' to and when he doesn't, on matters public and private, about his opponents and his family. " -- William Bennett

Larry King: "When people say you exaggerate a lot, like I heard this song and it wasn't even around when you say it, what happens there with you?"
Al Gore: "Oh, I think that itself is an exaggeration."
King: "You mean complaining about exaggerating is an exaggeration?"
Gore: "Yes. I mean, I think that in a campaign, you know, if you get a fact wrong, all of a sudden you're accused of, you know, committing some horrible offense."
King: "You don't mean it with malice?"
Gore: "No. Of course not."

"I still believe that two of the great achievements of my administration were facing down the government shutdowns in '95 and '96, and then facing down this [impeachment]." -- Bill Clinton

"The Clinton Administration has conspired to overturn the intent of Congress and evade federal laws in order to release a slanted report on global warming in a transparent effort to help the Gore campaign." -- Sen. James Inhofe on the "National Assessment on Climate Change." Originally requested by Congress no later than 1994, it is being released now as campaign fodder for Al Gore

"It has come to this: Al Gore says in a presidential debate that his uncle was gassed in World War I and then his campaign searches for records to back him up. The campaign knows no claim by the Democratic candidate about his family or professional r?sum? will be taken at face value." -- Associated Press

"Sound bites, however, may be as tough a piece of intellectual meat as the dumbed-down, dependent-minded American public can chew." -- Charlie Reese

"Surely it is obvious that these misbegotten and misnamed 'debates' -- actually, parallel press conferences -- test no aptitude pertinent to the performance of serious presidential duties." -- George Will

"Political salesmanship, no matter what the cynics say, always depends for its success on at least a measure of truth; spin can go only so far without some basis in the facts." -- Rich Lowry

"With the Second Amendment swirling down the drain, the survival of the First can no longer be taken for granted." -- John Derbyshire

"It's a mistake to think that America produces good men and good teachers in such profusion that one can make do with only the conformists among them." -- Christopher Caldwell

"[Clinton-Gore] entered office with prospects for Mid East peace brighter than ever before. President Bush and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney had assembled an unprecedented coalition of Arab states to defeat Saddam Hussein. The Soviet Union, principal sponsor of the region's rogues, had ceased to exist. And Israel and the Palestinians were making progress in offering greater political autonomy to residents of the Gaza strip and West Bank. Nearly eight years later the region is on the brink of war. ...Yasser Arafat is calling a 'jihad' to liberate Jerusalem. Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hezbollah guerrillas have crossed Israel's northern border and kidnapped three soldiers. And there has been some talk among Arab states of an oil embargo to punish America for supporting Israel." -- Wall Street Journal

"I have no idea. I'm not a psychiatrist." -- Art Torres, chairman of the California Democratic Party, on Al Gore's misstatements during the second debate

"...[I]f Bush could borrow some of Buchanan's fire and begin addressing issues that matter more to Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura than Oprah, his chances would improve." -- Don Feder

"The worst thing in the world [for trial lawyers] would be for Bush to get elected [president]. Bush was elected [governor] promising to take on tort reform...[and] he actually was a reformer with results. Those guys don't want that happening at the federal level...." -- Ken Hoagland of Texans for Lawsuit Reform

"Most black people don't think alike. Most black people just vote alike. Why is it that so many people in the black community that would agree with Republican issues, why don't they vote Republican? I think that's the question we have to ask." -- Rep. J.C. Watts Jr.

"The problem isn't that Al Gore lies, embellishes or exaggerates, though sometimes he does all three. It's more a matter of his odd compulsion to self-inflate so he personally encompasses whatever issue he's talking about. ... No wonder Mr. Gore, who has spent his life failing to wed himself to any political identity that we could weigh against the spirit of the times, has become more compulsive in trying to make himself seem real to himself." -- Holman Jenkins

"While posing as a crusader for taking special-interest money out of politics, and as a champion of ordinary working people and consumers against 'the powerful,' Gore has been one of the most shameless solicitors of special-interest money ever to seek the presidency -- [especially] from trial lawyers who have enriched themselves at consumers' expense." -- Stuart Taylor

"In the meantime, one of their biggest jobs is to block the election of George W. Bush as president of the United States in the November 7 election. The party knows which side it is on in the battle between Republican Bush and Al Gore, the Democratic vice president." -- Agence France-Presse reporter Michel Moutot, on the American Communist Party allegiance to Albert Gore

"If you'd stuck him in a push-up bra and a sequin dress and had him sing show tunes, he'd have carried San Francisco in a landslide." --The San Francisco Examiner on Al Gore's makeup during the second debate

"If Bush is elected president the first thing he's going to do is ask Congress to repeal the syntax." -- Lyn Nofziger

"Today the Clinton's celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary! They had an intimate evening and then met up later on in the night for dinner." -- Conan O'Brien"According to a new survey, 73 political scholars voted Abraham Lincoln our nation's greatest president. Of course, Clinton was thrilled to hear this. Now he can raise the rates on the Lincoln Bedroom. It will be, like, $20,000 a night now. He's the hot guy!" -- Jay Leno

web posted October 9, 2000

"...[A]n immutable law that bears repeating even in the Cyber Age: Human knowledge is the scarcest resource of all. Beware of the politicos with grand, sweeping, new ideas for their sweet-smelling, scientific planned society. To be remembered while we listen to the presidential debates: As the power of the state increases, the liberty of the citizen decreases." -- Arnold Beichman

"We forbid any course that says we restrict free speech." -- Kathleen Dixon, the director of the women's studies department at Bowling Green University to a local newspaper. Richard Zeller, a professor of sociology at the university, is retiring after colleagues barred him from teaching a course on political correctness

"Funding the left wing's wish list of federal priorities is no way to persuade American workers that Republicans deserve to retain their jobs this November. When Republicans have won their most resounding victories -- the 1980 and 1994 elections come to mind -- the party ran on an unflinching anti-nanny state platform. It's true that after years of prosperity and rising incomes Americans have grown more ambivalent about big government. But ambivalence should not be confused with support. Right now congressional Republicans are behaving as if they will accept a budget deal with Bill Clinton at any price. But be warned: That cost may be an Al Gore White House and a Dick Gephardt speakership. That's far too high a price to pay." -- Stephen Moore

"I would caution that you not put too much confidence in those polls. Since I was first elected to the Senate in 1972, I have run for re-election four times. Each time, the pollsters have confidently predicted my defeat. Each time, I am happy to confide, they have been wrong. I am pleased that, thus far, I have never won a poll or lost an election." -- Sen. Jesse Helms

"Well, I'm going to try to help you do that, Joe." -- Dick Cheney to Joe Lieberman when the Democratic vice presidential nominee said "I can see my wife, and I think she's thinking, 'Gee, I wish he would go out into the private sector'."

"Everyone knows that Al Gore's biggest problem is a tendency to lie, which is why his resort to lies in the first debate is almost creepy." -- Mona Charen

"History teaches us that traditions, values and freedom itself are lost incrementally in a thousand careless little steps." -- William J. Moloney

"The pursuit of social justice probably accounts for most human misery." -- Walter E. Williams

"We have to keep our guard up at all times against political language, especially in seemingly bland journalism, that is subtly infected with propagandistic purposes." -- Joseph Sobran

"The truth is that polls aren't at all an objective measure of public attitudes. They form opinion as much as they measure it." -- Matthew Robinson

"By demonizing a broad class of objects, anti-gun activists are swinging the debate away from facts and that guns on net save lives. Rooting out guns has become an end unto itself." -- John Lott Jr

"...[W]e must be careful that we bring faith to bear in politics and not the other way around." --Charles Colson

"...[C]onstitutionalism limits the wants that are permissible. As the Supreme Court has said, the purpose of the Bill of Rights is to put some things 'beyond the reach of majorities' --things like First Amendment freedoms." -- George Will

"[R]ight out of the box, the vice president began hedging the truth." --Boston Globe.

"At the first opportunity, he lied." --New York Post on Al Gore's performance during the vice presidential debate

"Were Dante alive today he'd have a circle reserved just for these television executives, an eternity to be spent watching reruns of the mindless stupidity they are foisting on the public." -- Brent Bozell

"Gore was comically over made up.... I work in show business every day, and I don't think that I've seen that much makeup on anyone besides a Las Vegas showgirl. I kept waiting for his false eyelashes to fall off." -- Ben Stein

"He will not breathe our air anymore. My daughter can rest in peace." -- Janet Roberts, ex-wife of Ricky McGinn, and the mother of his victim, after she witnessed his execution. McGinn, who was found guilty of raping and murdering his stepdaughter, won national media attention when he was granted a stay by Governor George Bush so that DNA evidence could be tested. It tested positive

"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, we have a two-party system." --Bob Thaves in the comic strip "Frank & Ernest"

"Al Gore...he once was pro-life, now he's pro-choice. He once was against gun control, now he's for it. He claimed he invented the Internet. Hey, Gore just needs to debate himself!" -- Al Gore

"Hillary still doesn't know much about New York. She keeps telling people she's looking for a place on the 'Upper West Nile.'" -- David Letterman

Current Issue

Archive Main | 2000

E-mail ESR


? 1996-2023, Enter Stage Right and/or its creators. All rights reserved.