Notable Quotables - 08/23/1999

Liddy Dole: Not Liberal Enough

"The Attorney General this week came out for licensing handguns, said they ought to be registered. You have separated yourself from some of the other Republicans calling for stronger gun control measures than some of the others. Would you go that far? License handguns?...Let me just interrupt. Why not go ahead and license handguns while you're at it?"
- Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer to Elizabeth Dole, Aug. 15.

"You've been outspoken on gun control. Why not advocate the registration of all guns just like we register automobiles?"
- Meet the Press moderator Tim Russert to Dole, same day.


Inoculating Bush from His Conservative Critics

"Even as his well-oiled, well-financed political machine goes to work busloads of Bush supporters and Bikers for Bush rolling into Ames the rap on Bush is that he doesn't stand for anything....In truth, Bush's basic positions are well known. He's a tax-cutting, anti-abortion, pro-business, pro-school vouchers conservative, a compassionate conservative he likes to say. But until a credible challenger emerges, and it could happen tonight, Bush is not forced to debate specifics."
- David Bloom from Iowa, August 14 NBC Nightly News.


Reagan a Model for Rare Leftist

"[Warren] Beatty's passion for policy resurfaced with Bulworth, a movie whose depressive Senator-hero first arranges his own assassination and then, with nothing to lose but hypocrisy, starts spouting truth-telling rap songs about corruption. Was Beatty's performance really a rehearsal?....Seasoned Washington figures such as Bill Moyers, Lyndon Johnson's former press secretary, and Pat Caddell, Jimmy Carter's pollster, are already giving the actor a fighting chance at doing for grassroots liberalism what Reagan did for Goldwater conservatism. Skeptics abound, of course, but one crucial fact about Beatty bears remembering as the story unfolds. He isn't just an actor he also directs."
- Time contributor Walter Kirn concluding a story in the August 23 issue on speculation the actor may run for President.

"Warren Beatty for President? That's what they call here in Hollywood 'high concept.' Here's the pitch: George McGovern meets Jesse Ventura got to love it!....Beatty is a rare and endangered species in todays politics, a genuine unreconstructed leftist."
- CNN political analyst Bill Schneider, Aug. 12 Inside Politics.


Gore Never Did Anything Bad...

"I can't get over it, I really, I've known Al Gore since the day he was born and he's never done anything bad in his life. Hes been the best boy. And you know, for him to be the person getting caught in Bill Clinton's problems is the textbook example of Life's Not Fair. I mean, I keep thinking he must be thinking to himself, "I could have had more fun in college,' you know. But he is being caught in it and to the degree, the poll numbers are just awful."
- ABC's Cokie Roberts on radio's Imus in the Morning simulcast on MSNBC on August 5.


...And Clinton Didn't Break a Law

"The big difficulty in all of these scandals is the way the Lewinsky scandal started out when it broke. There were very serious allegations that there had been obstruction of justice and perjury. This was what was on the Tripp tapes. When the testimony finally was wrung out of people and when it was published, it was clear - and James, I agree with James [Carville] on this - it showed there was no evidence, no compelling evidence that the President broke the law. But that took months to find out."
- The Washington Post's Bob Woodward, August 17 Larry King Live on CNN.

Starr to Smear Hillary

"I want to get on to the issue of this final report and what it means for Hillary Clinton. Michael Zeldin, if there is nothing, if this trail is cold and nothing adds up to indictment, does this become anything but a smear job against Hillary Clinton at the worst possible moment for her politically?"
- NBC and MSNBC reporter David Gregory to former independent counsel Michael Zeldin, August 9 Rivera Live on CNBC.


Rightward Blacks: Racial Traitors

"There is a scene [in Roots] where kidnapped African Kunta Kinte won't settle down in his chains. 'Want me to give him a stripe or two, boss?' the old slave, Fiddler, asks his Master Reynolds. 'Do as I say, Fiddler,' Reynolds answers. 'That's all I expect from any of my niggers.' 'Oh, I love you, Massa Reynolds,' Fiddler tells him. And instantly, my mind draws political parallels. Ward Connerly, I think to myself. Armstrong Williams. Shelby Steele. Hyperbole, some might say. I say dead-on. Clarence Thomas, I say to my Cousin Kim. And she just stares at me. She may be a little tender yet for racial metaphors. I see them everywhere."
- Washington Post reporter Lonnae O'Neal Parker, on watching Roots with her 20-year-old cousin, Aug. 8 Style piece.

Follow the Japanese to Save Kids

"A lot of Americans these days are fond of saying if you took away the guns in America this wouldn't happen. There is evidence worldwide that severely restricting guns can and does cut way down on violent crime. With one example, here's NBC's Ned Colt in Tokyo."
- NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams after a story on the week-old day care shooting, with a graphic of a Japanese flag waving behind him, August 16.

"Is there any reason, Howard, to believe that this tragic attack on children, for goodness sakes, will trigger any movement by this Congress to enact tougher, meaningful new gun laws?"
"You know, Howard, I asked Congresswoman Diana DeGette of Denver, who certainly has had to wrestle with this, about why her colleagues consistently reject tougher gun control measures. She said two things, they're too afraid of the NRA and they're too beholden to the NRA. Does it really come down to that? Do Congress people care more about perpetuating personal power than they do about saving the lives of children?"
- MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams substitute anchor Gregg Jarrett to Newsweek's Howard Fineman, August 12.


Crippling Fraternity of the Gun

"America, or at least the sensible center where most of us stand, has had enough - of this senseless violence, and of this circular debate. For more than a generation, we've watched as the great and the pedestrian have died in the line of fire. Though it won't do to act as though, in the emotional aftermath of yet another shooting, a sweeping ban or a single bill will keep more tragedies from happening, it also won't do to shrug off the deadly role guns play. So what must be done? It is time, as Franklin Roosevelt said long ago, to try something...."
- From Newsweek's August 23 editorial urging more gun controls, only its fourth editorial ever.

"Many ordinary Americans have also become caught up in the cult of the gun. For them, it is not a jarring source of violence but as much an accepted part of the landscape as forests and rivers. Such people often resist controls over the objects they revere. But human beings are capable of modifying their own mythologies. After the tragedies in Littleton, Colo.; Atlanta, and now Los Angeles, Americans have shown signs of a change in their feelings about guns, seeing them increasingly as more dangerous than sacred. That kind of collective psychological shift is necessary if we are ever to transcend the crippling fraternity of the gun."
- Conclusion to uncountered piece in the August 23 Newsweek by Professor Robert Jay Lifton of John Jay College at the City University of New York.


Get Feds to Watch Over Internet

"With so much of the focus now on splinter groups and use of the Web and people being able to isolate themselves into these little pockets of hatred, and I know this will not be popular with civil libertarians, but in my not very technical mind, it raises to me, the role of the FBI, being able to monitor the hate Web sites and keep track of who logs into those so you get some idea. Even if it's a loner whose accessing this stuff and then profiling people."
- Good Morning America co-host Nancy Snyderman the morning after the day care shooting, August 11.


Reality vs. Uncorrected Reporting

"A special investigation into whether conservative critics of Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton gave support or cash payments to witness David Hale to influence his testimony has concluded that many of the allegations of such payments were 'unsubstantiated' and 'in some cases, untrue,' and that no criminal prosecution should be brought."
- Lead of July 29 Washington Post story by Robert Kaiser headlined "Clinton Critics Cleared In Special Investigation."

"Reports continue to surface that this key witness for the prosecution, David Hale, may have been secretly bankrolled by political activists widely regarded as political opponents, people that Clinton supporters call Republican haters from the far right."
- Dan Rather on the April 3, 1998 CBS Evening News.

"The grand jury is investigating whether David Hale's testimony was bought and paid for by a clique of right-wing Clinton haters....The grand jury also wants to know whether Ken Starr knew or should have known that his star witness, David Hale, was in the hip pocket of a group of hardline right-wingers determined to take down the President by any means necessary."
- Geraldo Rivera on CNBC's Rivera Live, October 6, 1998.

We're Out of Water?

CBS reporter Jeffrey Kofman: "The worst drought to hit the east in 70 years is forcing people here [Baltimore] to confront a question that's going to have to be asked across the country: Could America run out of water?...Author and researcher Sandra Postel has been studying water usage for twenty years."
Postel, Director of the Global Water Policy Project: "We have one of the highest rates of water use per person of any country in the world and part of this is due to our extravagant use of water outdoors, the green lawns, the swimming pools and so on."
- From an August 5 CBS Evening News story.


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