The Rise of Dan Quayle in America and the Decline and Fall of Practially Everything Else
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 Journalist Queenan (Time, Spy, GQ, etc.) brings a fine, sardonic sarcasm to the media's feeding frenzy over the hapless Hoosier who's so near the Oval Office. Queenan finds Dan Quayle a worthy touchstone from which to study the Vice-Presidency, the office of the Chief Executive, and the state of the nation. The author's text is funnier than it has any right to be as it expresses a cheerful and evenhanded scorn for all. Queenan explains why George Bush had to anoint young Senator Dan, and why tort reform, of all things, was picked as Quayle's fighting cause. He is able to compare Quayle to such late bloomers as Churchill, Bismarck, and Henry V. On the other hand, Queenan notes equally strong resemblances to such incompetents as Louis the Pious, Ethelred the Unready, and Louis XVI. Acknowledging ``the seemingly inescapable conclusion that the Quayle pound note may be short a few shillings,'' the VP is found to be not a bad person (that role goes to Marilyn), but just plain dumb. Still, Queenan points out, that's not so unusual. He ticks off the ``poltroons, varlets, dimwits and, yes, the occasional moron'' who have served as VP, and those who have occupied the White House itself. And that raises the serious possibility of there being a President Quayle: ``The next time Dan Quayle loses an election,'' Queenan points out, ``will be the first time he loses an election.'' But, the author believes, even with Quayle at the helm, the ship of state will stay afloat: ``If twenty-four lawyer presidents and thirty-two lawyer vice-presidents couldn't destroy it during its first two centuries of existence, nothing can.'' A clever piece of reportage that, as a sane and funny snapshot of America and its wacky politics, should, by all rights, survive long after November.

Pub Date: Oct. 8th, 1992
ISBN: 1-56282-939-4
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1992


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