The Best of Notable Quotables; December 23, 1991

Vol. Four; No. 26

The Real Reagan Legacy Award

“In the 1980s, a time when wealth accumulated and men decayed, the superpatriots entered Gloryland. They were the anointed Moral Majority. They stood foursquare for God, Reagan, and the bombing of abortion clinics....We could only wince when the President called the Contras ‘freedom fighters,’ when Oliver North became a national hero, when the pledge of allegiance became – with sinister embellishments – a campaign issue...We winced – and some of us wept in shame – when George Bush, wearing the white flower of a blameless life, won the 1988 election with tactics only a Mafia don could admire.”

Los Angeles Times Syndicate television critic Harriet Van Horne in The Nation’s “patriotism” issue, July 15/22.


“Tonight, the NBC News program Expose looks at incidences of sexual harassment in [federal low-income] housing. It’s reported by correspondent Michele Gillen....Well, I guess that’s where the problem began. Actually, it was when the budget was taken out of the affordable housing market during the Reagan years and thus, the problem came about.”

Today co-host Bryant Gumbel, September 20.

“Cannon starts off by proclaiming that Reagan is not a dunce, a point that can be questioned by the very fact that it has to be made, a point we all want to believe but a point that Cannon tends to undercut every few pages....Acting might be all right if you’re a king, but it just won’t work for a President...the nation needed more than inspiration in the 1980s. It needed leadership – moral leadership, intellectual leadership, political leadership. It needed a manager, not a cheerleader. It needed a statesman, not a star. It needed answers, not anecdotes. It needed ideas as well as ideals. And Ronald Reagan wasn’t up to that task.”

– NBC News President Michael Gartner reviewing Lou Cannon’s book on Reagan, April 21 Washington Post.

Reporter Lea Thompson: “The Consumer Product Safety Commission can stop manufacturing; it can fine; it can even seize clothes right off the rack if PJs don’t meet flammability standards. None of that’s happened. So far the agency has only hoped a manufacturer will take its advice. So you can’t depend on government to police this for you. We did find this flammable sleepwear everywhere we went.”
Bryant Gumbel: “Lea, Lea, real quick. Why is the government abdicating its responsibility on this? Is this another holdover from the Reagan years and the cutbacks?”
Thompson: “Absolutely. And somebody’s gotta do something.”

– Exchange on Today, November 13.