I have to say that the Republican YouTube debate last night was much more fun than any I've watched so for for either party. How lovely when you have a retired general outing himself nationally to question treatment of gays and lesbians in the military, Rudy Giuliani accusing Mitt Romney of living in a "sanctuary mansion," the resurgent Mike Huckabee claiming that Hillary Clinton should be sent on "the first rocket to Mars," and John McCain, increasingly recovering his old form, coming out strongly against the torture known as "waterboarding," jabbing away at Mitt Romney's refusal to identify it as such. "Life is not 24 and Jack Bauer," McCain said.
Exactly--but so many people, including politicians, mistake television for reality. This happened, some of you may remember, back in 1992, as George Bush fought Bill Clinton for the presidency. Vice-President J. Danforth Quayle--and how some of us miss him!--searching for an issue, hit upon the idea of going after the quite popular "Murphy Brown Show." In the show, Brown (played by actress Candace Bergen) was an anchorwoman who had decided to give birth to a child out of wedlock. Quayle thundered that bearing a child alone “mocks the importance of fathers” and was an example of the “poverty of values” that afflicted television.
This was not a smart move, since even Republicans loved to watch "Murphy Brown" and because Quayle, weirdly, was acting like this sitcom character was actually a real person. White House staffers now decided that Quayle should actually change his tune and praise Murphy Brown for her courage in having the baby (rather than, say, an abortion). Bush saved Quayle from this humiliation, and the whole situation died when, in early June, the Vice-President visited a New Jersey elementary school and corrected student William Figueroa’s spelling of “potato,” claiming it was “potatoe.”
Wrong. But this new source of ridicule for Quayle sent the Murphy Brown controversy spiraling into the old news file.