October 31, 1988
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.
Yada Yada Yada
October 10, 1988
Story of My Life By Jay McInerney (Atlantic Monthly Press, $16.95) Beware of a novel built upon a catchphrase. A flip curl eventually loses its hold. “Story of my life,” toss-away phrase for a toss-away life, is the signature curl of Alison Poole, postmodern boy-toy by night, aspiring actress by day. “Acting is the first thing that’s made me get up in the morning. The first year I was in New York I didn’t do anything but guys and blow. Staying out all night at the Surf Club and Zulu, waking up at five in the afternoon with plugged sinuses and sticky hair.
Cool Hand Duke
August 30, 1987
Michael Dukakis’s message to the Democratic Party is neither epic nor apocalyptic. He is not promising, like Joe Biden, to restore John F. Kennedy's spiritual days of glory or, like Richard Gephardt, to save the nation from impending economic serfdom to the Japanese and South Koreans.
The Wright Stuff
October 14, 1985
It was big news this summer when Majority Leader Jim Wright threatened to punch a Republican right-winger during a squabble on the House floor over a procedural vote. But the incident was right in character for the hot-tempered Texan. Over the years he's made similar threats with some regularity.
Confessions of a 'Contra'
August 05, 1985
How the CIA masterminded the Nicaraguan insurgency.
The Triumph of Asian-Americans
July 15, 1985
David A. Bell: How one group of immigrants found its place in America.
May 28, 1984
About two weeks ago President Reagan was in Texas, and while here he said we ought to consider abolishing the deductibility of home interest from our taxes. . . . That I believe is the worst single idea around in tax law. . . . That is the only deduction that is in the tax law at all that does any good at all for the average American. Thus Walter Mondale in the Dallas candidates' debate May 2, using his signature rhetorical device of whiny hyperbole ("worst single idea...only deduction...any good at all") to exploit a recent Reagan gaffe.
The Decline of Oratory
May 28, 1984
The fault is in the speakers, and in the hearers, too.
Celebrating Dr. King's Birthday
January 30, 1984
In his belated support for a day honoring Martin Luther King Jr., Ronald Reagan predictably recalled the man as an inspiring—and innocuous—advocate of good will, brotherhood, and harmony. Such a carefully cropped portrait of Dr. King has gained wide popularity, perhaps because it enables the nation to create a comforting icon out of the career of a political iconoclast.
It's a Mad, Mad Verdict
July 12, 1982
If the law truly means what it says, then John W. Hinckley Jr. had to be found not guilty of the attempted murder of the President of the United States. Not because he didn’t do it—and not even because the defense proved that mental illness caused his acts—but because the jury could not help entertaining a reasonable doubt about Hinckley’s sanity at the time of the shooting.