My Musings

Dan Quayle is no Jack Kennedy

Dan Quayle is no Jack Kennedy

(A Profile in Moral Courage)

Then Senator Dan Quayle was 41 when he ran for Vice President in 1988. So, it was legitimate to question his readiness to hold high office and it was legitimate for Quayle (in the 1988 VP debate) to confidently and correctly point out that he and Jack Kennedy (JFK) had spent the same amount of time serving in congress prior to running for high office.

Benson responded; “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”

Quayle responded, “That was really uncalled for, Senator.”

Personal insults and cheap shots are as old as politics. Nevertheless, the fact that Dan Quayle was no Jack Kennedy is why I respect Quayle so highly. John F. Kennedy was, without doubt, one of the most heartless adulterers to preside in our nation’s highest office. His serial philandering included office workers, call girls, show girls, stewardesses, socialites, starlets, sex-symbols, and even his own wife’s friends and personal staff. The First Lady knew but suffered in silence. Secret Service agents could not keep up with their background checking duties but still served as ushers as JFK repeatedly exposed himself to potential blackmail and danger. His adultery included consorts of notorious mobsters like Sam Giancana. The FBI was aware of all this and J. Edgar Hoover used his incriminating files for job security. The media also knew but kept the President’s astonishing immorality under their hats, even though the public voraciously craved details about the first family.

JFK used his high office to exploit and diminish women (many of whom diminished themselves ). When he was finished with them, their dignity and their feelings were not considered. His famous affair with Marilyn Monroe took place the same year she committed suicide. She was a glamorous sex-symbol but she was also an emotionally troubled substance abuser, easy prey for an unscrupulous powerful man. She began to call the White House incessantly and Kennedy quickly cut if off. She never made it out of 1962.

Quayle sparked a feeding frenzy of criticism again in 1992 when he tied the decay of family structure with recent violence in the streets of Los Angeles. Thirty-four million Americans had recently tuned in when Murphy Brown (a TV character played by Candice Bergen) became an unmarried fictional mother. In real life, Bergen & baby soon appeared on countless women’s and news magazine covers. Publically minimizing marriage and dismissing fatherhood deserves a public challenge and Quayle had the courage to provide it:

    It doesn’t help matters when primetime TV has Murphy Brown, a character who supposedly epitomizes today’s intelligent, highly paid professional woman, mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another lifestyle choice.

He later added: “Hollywood thinks it’s cute to glamorize illegitimacy. Hollywood doesn’t get it.” He was relentlessly excoriated by our popular culture for caring about the message our culture sends to girls.

Twenty-five years later, over 41% of American children are being born out of wedlock. Many just get aborted. That’s a seven-fold increase since the early 60s. In his 1999 book, Worth Fighting For, Quayle wrote, “[The] rejection of traditional sexual morality that spread almost overnight in [the 60s] robbed and continues to rob an army of children of the chance to live in two parent households.”

In 2002, Quayle illustrated our poverty of values to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer thusly:

    If in fact you don’t finish high school, you get married before 20 or you have children before 20, you have an 80 percent chance of living in poverty… If you stay in school, get married, wait until you’re after 20 to start having children, you have less than a 5 percent chance of living in poverty.

Dan Quayle brought decency to his political career at every level. His compassionate call for increased fidelity in personal relationships has proven that he was and is a statesman worthy of enduring honor and respect.


Post Script: The Bush-Quayle ticket defeated Dukakis and Bentsen in the 1988 election with an electoral landslide. VP Quayle served honorably despite the dishonorable way the media and his critics treated him.


Photo Credits:

Featured image of Dan Quayle

Dan Quayle in Body



About the Author:

Joel graduated from Pepperdine University with a B.A., completing two majors: Art and Religion. He went on to earn the Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. The views expressed on this blog are personal and belong to Joel Solliday unless otherwise stated. They are not, intended to characterize the views of the Lewiston Church of Christ or other organizations to which I may refer.

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