The Best of Notable Quotables; December 15, 1997

Vol. Ten; No. 25

Clinton Camelot Award (for Creating a Clinton-Gore Mythology)

"His sturdy jaw precedes him. He smiles from sea to shining
sea. Is this President a candidate for Mt. Rushmore or what?...In
fact, when it comes to influencing the public, a single medley of
expressions from Clinton may be worth much more, to much of
America, than every ugly accusation Paula Jones can muster."  

--Los Angeles Times television writer Howard Rosenberg reviewing
Clinton's Inaugural address, Jan. 22. [112 points]


"Still their shared needs and mutual admiration cover an
essential difference between the two men. Both think deep
thoughts about saving the world, but they approach the task quite
differently. Clinton is often roundabout, if not waffling. Gore
is a plunger who thinks and acts in a straight line. Because Gore
has been a reserved politician, his sometimes messianic zeal has
been overlooked. The Vice President has written that his call to
save the environment began with the shock of a near-fatal car
accident to his son, Albert III. Characteristically, Gore felt it
wasn't enough to save one child; he wanted to save all the
world's children. By the same token, he has said privately that
his absorption with arms control in the 1980s began with dreams
that he could not rescue his family from nuclear war."  

--Newsweek's Evan Thomas, January 27. [74]

"Gore's commitment to the world of big ideas is no pose. Unlike
John F. Kennedy and Adlai Stevenson, who became darlings of the
highbrow set without fully earning the honor, Gore is truly
engaged in the life of the mind...Had the younger Gore not become
a Congressman at 28, a Senator at 36, and Vice President at 44,
he might have become the sort of essayist who aspires to
membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters." 

--U.S.News Senior Writer Timothy Noah, January 27 issue. [57]

"As he begins his second term you may lament that President
Clinton leaves little eloquence. But in an age of focus groups
and consultants saying, 'Keep it short. Don't take sides,' few
politicians do. He faces personal charges about his conduct in a
motel bedroom. And ethical allegations about opening the Lincoln
bedroom to the highest contributor. But you come back to the fact
that if Bill Clinton isn't always trusted he has twice been
entrusted by the largest responsibility we have to bestow by
voters who can have few illusions. Instead they seem to trust
that as President Clinton displays his own excesses and frailties
he forgives and accepts ours, too."  

--NPR weekend anchor Scott Simon, January 19 NBC Today. [47]