Notable Quotables - 02/17/1992


Paying for the '80s

"The amazing thing is most people seem content to believe that almost everybody had a good time in the '80s, a real shot at the dream. But the fact is, they didn't. Did we wear blinders? Did we think the '80s just left behind the homeless? The fact is that almost nine in ten Americans actually saw their lifestyle decline....

"Here's an eerie echo. Sixty years ago, the Secretary of Commerce wrote about the '20s: `It was a decade of easy wealth for a few, inadequate income for the majority, and a mountain of debt that crushed the economy.' Sound familiar? And if the pattern holds, the '90s will be defined the way the other eras were, a backlash by the middle class against the rich."
- NBC reporter Keith Morrison, February 7 Nightly News.

"Yes, times are tough because of mistakes we made in the past, including voodoo economics supported by George Bush, among others."
- NBC weekend anchor Garrick Utley, January 25 Nightly News.


True Family Values

"While George Bush - all whiteness - talks about `family values,' the Clintons demonstrate them by confessing to adultery."
- Former Washington Post reporter Sidney Blumenthal in The New Republic, Feb. 17.


Impose Special Tax on Newsweek Reporters

"But Bush and his senior advisers know perfectly well that tax cuts, while good politics, are lousy economics....A better solution would be for Bush to show real leadership by asking voters to make some immediate sacrifices, like cuts in middle-class entitlement programs or an energy tax, for the sake of the nation's long-term health."
- Newsweek reporter Howard Fineman, January 27.

"At the grass roots, they call it `walking-around money.' In Washington, a bribe for voters has a different name: tax cut."
- Newsweek economics correspondents Marc Levinson and Rich Thomas, January 27.


Two-Million Dollar Anchorman: In Touch With the Poor

"Take an election year, add a budget crunch, and one sure result is an assault on the welfare system, help for the poor. Still, most of the people who attack welfare have little or no contact with the people who depend on it."
- Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, February 5.


Reagan Policies Didn't Work

"The conservatives' formula for a return to prosperity is simple: undo what has been done....Would the conservative prescription cure the patient? Maybe, but the experience of the last decade suggests otherwise. Ronald Reagan advocated slashing regulation and cutting taxes. He got some results, but not terrific ones. Why would another round of Reagan policies work better this time?"
- Reporters Peter G. Gosselin and Charles Stein in The Boston Globe's "The Downsized American Dream" series, January 21.


Dr. Johnson's Prescription

"I think maybe the one thing the government can do well is to run an insurance program. Social Security is a model for retirement. I think that maybe we can do that, not to run health care, but to provide a universal base of insurance for the entire country."
- ABC medical reporter Dr. Tim Johnson on a Nightline national town meeting on health care, February 6.


SDI: Sam Denies Intransigence

George Will: "Did you notice this week, Sam, that even Yeltsin, even Mr. Yeltsin has now signed on to SDI? You're the last holdout."
Sam Donaldson: "Yeltsin signed on to what? Some universal system against very small missile delivery systems...And I think I'm for that, too."
Will: "You're not the last holdout?"
David Brinkley: "You talked him into it, George."
Donaldson: "But the SDI that Ronald Wilson Reagan has proposed to the tune of trillions of dollars is one that's unrealistic. Star Wars? No!"
- Exchange on This Week with David Brinkley, February 2.


Giving It Back to Bob

CBS anchor Bob Schieffer: "Some people say that your return means that Willie Horton is back. That the Massachusetts furlough program is back. That dirty politics is back, the kind of campaign that was waged in 1988. What do you say to that?"
RNC Chairman Rich Bond: "Well, you know what I say to that? I say that I'm sick and tired of hearing about Willie Horton. And when we talk about Willie Horton, this is what I want to talk about: Willie Horton was a no-good murdering rapist, and that's the point. And Mike Dukakis worked in the system, and defended the system that let him out on the streets."
- Exchange on CBS Evening News, February 8.


Jimmy Carter, Hardcore Cold Warrior?

"As the nation turned virulently anti-communist, socialism in all its forms was shunned like the plague. Programs such as national health care and broader trade-union rights nearly vanished from the screen of American politics. With rare exceptions, such as in 1968, almost every successful national politician stood in the center or the right. Every President from Harry Truman to George Bush - Democrats like Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter to Republicans like Richard M. Nixon and Ronald Reagan - sought to toe the hard line."
- New York Times reporter R. W. Apple, February 6 front page story.


Pat Buchanan: Not PC

"It is hard for friends and colleagues to square the private Buchanan with the public one: the Rottweiler who has turned nostalgia for the days of Ike and Elvis into attacks on anyone who is not white, male, Christian, and straight."
- Time Deputy Washington Bureau Chief Margaret Carlson, February 17.


Right-Wing Death Squads Still Live in Reporters' Fiction

"Here, moments of truth are provoked by Miguel Angel Kanak, a young revolutionary who returns home after blowing up a military barracks, bringing a vengeful army patrol on his heels...They [Miguel's village] can surrender Kanak, whom the villagers believe to be innocent, or face wholesale massacre as traitors... Should the village resist the army to save one of its own, even if such a choice would be suicidal? Should Miguel be handed over, probably to be killed, with no guarantee that the village would be spared?"
- Boston Globe reporter Philip Bennett reviewing the plot of former Washington Post Central America reporter Joanne Omang's new novel, Incident at Akbar, January 13.


National Health Care Means Less Government

"`I think there are a lot of doctors out there with mis-conceptions' about the Canadian system, says Dr. David U. Himmelstein, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Mass... Himmelstein says it's a `myth' that national health insurance would mean more government intervention."
- USA Today reporter Mike Snider, quoting the head of Physicians for a National Health Program, January 21.


- L. Brent Bozell III; Publisher
- Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
- Brant Clifton, Nicholas Damask, Steve Kaminski, Marian Kelley, Tim Lamer; Media Analysts
- Jennifer Hardebeck; Circulation Manager