The Bush-Quayle ticket is a powerful symbol of the moral decline of the American ruling class. Con- sider the response of each half of this generationally balanced ticket to its generation's war. In 1941 George Herbert Walker Bush, scion of a rich and politically influential family, was a 17-year-old senior at a prestigious New England prep school, A secure and idyllic childhood, spent in the bosky suburban towns of Milton, Massachusetts, and Greenwich, Connecticut, and in summerhouses and sailboats on the Maine coast, was behind him.
Oh, no! Wuer Kaixi, the student hero of Tiananmen Square, who escaped to America, spent the first weekend in August sailing with the Kennedys in Hyannis Port. Next, Vegas with Sinatra? Wuer understands and courageously opposed the corruptions of his country’s system. But who will protect him from the more subtle corruptions of our country’s system? In China he used celebrity (with that natural p.r. sense inherent in all great leaders, martyrs, and saints). In America celebrity will use him if he’s not careful.
The recent events in Peking call irresistibly to mind Bertolt Brecht's famous epigram: "The people have lost the confidence of the Government; the Government has decided to dissolve the people, and to appoint another one." Whatever may be the immediate outcome of the demonstrations—and I fear it will be grim—one thing is already certain: May 1989 will remain as one of the most momentous periods in the history of 20th century China, and as a landmark in the Long March of mankind toward democracy and away from totalitarianism. The demonstrations may have appeared confused, vague, and muddled i
I rarely hear of strikes now, except those that end in disaster. None of the unions I represent has gone on strike in ten years, and I wonder if any of them ever will. Until the Eastern Airlines strike this year, I thought I might never see a strike again. Strikes in the United States last year fell to their lowest level in four decades. In 1974, which was no great year for strikes, there were 424 of them. In 1988 there were just 40, which is about the same as the number of prison riots. A few months ago I saw my friend V., who is a lawyer with the Mine workers.
One in 28,000 would be a pretty good failure rate for a condom manufacturer. It’d be a spectacular for a method to prevent prisoner recidivism. But in fields like nuclear deterrence and ecological disaster prevention, one little mistake can spoil the whole darn program. What is happening in Prince William Sound is a horrible catastrophe. The place looks even worse than Boston Harbor did in those Bush for President TV commercials. Tens of thousands of oil soaked birds and animals are dead or dying, but that’s only the beginning.
Despite his pee-pants performance in the Omaha debate against Lloyd Bentsen, it looks as if Dan Quayle, 41, will be president one of these days. Consider the politico-actuarial probabilities. Assuming the Republican lead endures, the junior senator from Indiana will be elected vice president. This alone will give him an even chance of becoming president. Three out of the last five presidents were vice president first. Seven out of the last ten vice presidents have ended up heading a national ticket, and four (five if you presumptively count George Bush) got all the way to the Oval Office.