Interview
with Vice President Dan Quayle
  "Ronald Reagan and I have a lot in common" 
Former Vice President Dan Quayle talked briefly with DEMOCRACY IN ACTION on June 16, 1999 after speaking to residents of the Pleasant View Retirement community in Concord, NH.
Quayle | News
  • QUESTION On your experience as a visiting professor at Thunderbird [the American Graduate School of Intermational Management in Glendale, AZ, where Quayle taught a course beginning in Spring 1997], what did you seek to achieve in the course, how did you design the syllabus and what did you learn from your students?

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  • QUESTION You've spoken about term limits; are there other measures to improve participation that you support?

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  • QUESTION Your newspaper experience is of interest, but you don't talk much about it or at least I haven't seen much written about it.  

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  • QUESTION How about your own relations with the media?  In Huntington you said you wanted to turn a new leaf.  Can you comment on your own relations with the media? 

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  • QUESTION In terms of your own image difficulties, for example, looking at cartoons of the presidential candidates or Jay Leno, you are not treated kindly... 

On your experience as a visiting professor at Thunderbird [the American Graduate School of Intermational Management in Glendale, AZ, where Quayle taught a course beginning in Spring 1997], what did you seek to achieve in the course, how did you design the syllabus and what did you learn from your students?

QUAYLE: The syllabus--I had 'em read about six books--I had 'em read a book on trade, Destler's book on trade politics; I had 'em read Hedrick Smith's book The Power Game, I had 'em read The Coming Conflict with China, I had 'em read Nixon's book on leaders, I had Ken Walsh's book on Feeding the Beast, I had 'em read Woodward's book on The Commanders, and then I assigned a number of articles on education, trade, politics and things like that.  And so it was a very comprehensive syllabus.  They wrote one paper, I had to give a final exam, and there was a participation in the class that they had to answer a question al least one time--they got graded on that.

What did I learn from them?  I learned that this X Generation is quite cynical of political figures, and it really came home to me on how distrusting that they really were, which I ascribe that to what's gone on in Washington and the whole Clinton administration and the era of cynicism and distrust that I've been speaking about today.
 

 


You've spoken about term limits; are there other measures to improve participation that you support?

QUAYLE: Term limits is absolutely the key political reform that we need.  It is a situation that if we don't correct that and make sure that that happens we're never going to be able to turn this thing around.

The other thing, you do not want to make it so bureaucratic, so regulatory, that it's hard for the ordinary American to write a check of $50 or $25 or $100 to a candidate, and you want to encourage that.  You want to encourage smaller contributions rather than larger contributions, but you have so many requirements with the FEC and it's so bureaucratic that these campaigns say well you know we just want the big donations rather than the small donations.  I want the small donations, 'cause that's getting more and more people involved; it's representative democracy at its very best.

How about increasing the contribution limit though?  That would seem to make sense.

QUAYLE: Yeah, there's something to that.  I'm not opposed to it.  It's not my first priority.  I don't like the idea of just raising contributions from $1,000 or less--in a way I wish that it was higher--but you know $1,000 is a lot of money to most people.  It's a lot of money to most people, and if we wnat to really get more and more people involved you'd have to do it through the smaller contributions.

Any other ideas on how to overcome the cynicism?

QUAYLE: Well you have to get truth and veracity back to the White House; you've got to have integrity, you really do.
 

 

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Your newspaper experience is of interest, but you don't talk much about it or at least I haven't seen much written about it.

QUAYLE: Well I grew up in a newspaper family, and I learned to be skeptical to some extent of politicians, as my father would always say, you got to be skeptical 'cause they're going to want ot put on their best face.

But you know there was an implicit trust between the people in the news profession and the political profession in the past.  But now with these spinmeisters and spinsters and the dishonesty and being disingenuous on almost every issue, it's a very sour state of relations, it really is.  I don't have any good answers on how to get it back because the cordiality is gone.  I think the press should be skeptical but to be hostile--on the other hand they'd like to be able to take the politicians at face value, which they should be able to take your word at face value; instead they've got a bevy of these spin doctors...
 

 

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How about your own relations with the media?  In Huntington you said you wanted to turn a new leaf.  Can you comment on your own relations with the media?

QUAYLE: By and large thus far the coverage has bee reasonably fair, reasonably accurate.  I'm still waiting for my day of glory, because the press always you know they build people up and then they build them down--I'm still waiting for my build up but it hopefully will come sometime.

So we don't have to annoy the media any more? ["Annoy the Media" was an unofficial slogan of the Bush/Quayle campaign in 1992].

QUAYLE: No we don't have to annoy the media any more.
 

 

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In terms of your own image difficulties, for example, looking at cartoons of the presidential candidates, you are not treated kindly...

QUAYLE: Neither was Ronald Reagan.  But Ronald Reagan and I have a lot in common.  You go back, and if you want to see someone who was treated hostile, somebody that was treated unfairly until he became president, was Ronald Reagan.  You know I figure they're coming after me because they don't like my conservative philosophy, and the ordinary Americans they can identify with somebody that's going to fight for them--and I'm going to fight for 'em.

So you think you're making progress in overcoming--I mean it's been 8 years of Jay Leno...are you going to be able to overcome it?

QUAYLE: I have to win a primary, and I have to win early.  Once I do that then the question "Can I win?" goes away.  But yes, I have a great deal of confidence in the American people.  I think they're fair; I think they have a sense of fairness.  They are people that want to--they want to see somebody who's been knocked down get back on their feet and continue to fight; it shows that they've the willpower, the courage, the determination to get it done. 
 

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Copyright 1999  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action
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