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Notable Quotables - 11/21/1994

 

Mid-Term Election Sore Losers Edition


Peter Jennings: You Voters Need A Diaper


"Some thoughts on those angry voters. Ask parents of any two-year-old and they can tell you about those temper tantrums: the stomping feet, the rolling eyes, the screaming. It's clear that the anger controls the child and not the other way around. It's the job of the parent to teach the child to control the anger and channel it in a positive way. Imagine a nation full of uncontrolled two-year-old rage. The voters had a temper tantrum last week....Parenting and governing don't have to be dirty words: the nation can't be run by an angry two-year-old."
- Peter Jennings in his daily ABC Radio commentary, November 14.

"We say we are tired of politics because we are afraid of being fed simplistic lies. Yet voters are notorious for demanding that politicians commit themselves to cutting taxes while maintaining or increasing benefits for their constituents. There is no way those promises can be kept. Nevertheless we believe them, and express outrage when they cannot be kept. Believing invalid promises, hearing the siren song of term limits, listening to negative advertising - all parts of the same dismal picture. Ultimately, many of the problems with politics may rest with the voters themselves."
- Jennings' commentary, November 3.

 

The People Stink, And So Do We


"The public seemed more intolerant than involved, uninterested in what the candidates have had to say, blindly voting against....The President might argue, with some justification, that it's the media's fault: we're allergic to good news."
- Newsweek Senior Editor Joe Klein, November 14.

 

...But on the Bright Side


1994 Isn't Forever
Despite Sweeping Gains for Republicans, History Suggests the Power is Temporary
- New York Times headline over story by Washington Bureau Chief R.W. Apple, November 10.

 

Newt Gingrich, The Conservative Che Guevara


"From the start, modesty was not his style. Rejecting the House's gentlemanly ways, he waged such constant guerrilla war against the Democrats he was attacked for McCarthyism....It's a record filled with contradictions: the family-values candidate who divorced his ailing first wife, the avowed enemy of dirty politics who bounced 22 checks at the House Bank, and runs a big-dollar political action committee that won't disclose its contributors....Gingrich himself, bombastic and ruthless, would be the most dramatic change imaginable, a change the administration can only dread."
- CBS reporter Eric Engberg, November 2 Evening News.

CBS News consultant Joe Klein: "Last weekend, he seemed to blame the murder of two small children in South Carolina on the Democrats. He said that if you want to end that sort of moral decay, vote Republican. And so political insiders were wondering this week, would Newt's new responsibilities make him more statesmanlike, more responsible, less flagrant? Naah!"
Gingrich: "It is impossible to take the Great Society structure of bureaucracy, the redistributionist model of how wealth is acquired, and the counterculture value system that now permeates the way we deal with the poor, and have any hope of fixing it. They are a disaster."
- CBS Evening News, November 13.

 

House, Senate Takeover: Isn't This a Tragedy for Republicans?


"It would strike some of us that the campaigns have all been so down and dirty and nasty and personal, there's no overarching mandate that the GOP can read into this...My memory after that '92 convention the Republicans held in Texas, is that a lot of people, even Republicans, said `Good Lord, what have we done?' Because the party seemed to have skewed so to the right. Well, the whole country gets to see that now. It's at least conceivable they set up their own defeat in '96, isn't it?"
- CNN's Mary Tillotson, election night.

 

Bryant's Post-Election Stress Disorder


"You're aligned to a party which owes many of its victories to the so-called religious right and other conservative extremists who are historically insensitive to minority concerns. That doesn't bother you?"
- Today co-host Bryant Gumbel to black Republican U. S. Rep.-elect J.C. Watts, November 9.

"The so-called Christian Coalition, as you know, is claiming a great deal of credit for GOP victories across the board. Are you not at all concerned about where their brand of, some would say, extremism or intolerance, may yet try to take your party?"
- Gumbel to Jack Kemp, November 10.

"You said the American people gave very clear orders. I read the transcript of your press conference yesterday and you talked at length of a Republican mandate. But in an off-year election where Republicans won the majority of only a 37 percent turnout, how broad a mandate can you rightfully claim?"
- Gumbel to Senator Phil Gramm, November 10.

 

Not Reaganomics Again!


"Let me ask you about tax cuts. If you're going to cut taxes and make government smaller, what happens to entitlements? Are wealthy people going to have to give up the idea of Medicare or pay a lot more for it?....Last time that happened, in 1980, we ran up the deficit and also the federal debt to trillions of dollars."
- Tom Brokaw to Republican Senator-elect Bill Frist, November 9 NBC Nightly News.

"The fiscal centerpieces of the GOP program have surface appeal but do not appear to meet the traditional math test: They don't add up. President Ronald Reagan tried cutting taxes and increasing defense spending on the theory that growth would increase, which eventually would bring in more tax revenue. Then-Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker (R-Tenn.) called it a `riverboat gamble.' And it was a gamble that lost: The federal budget deficit ballooned."
- Chicago Tribune Washington reporters Elaine S. Povich and Michael Arndt, November 11.

 

Historically Low Voter Turnout?


"It's the meanest campaign on record, with crime the main issue...As for turnout, expect near-record lows, with barely a third of voters on hand Tuesday to throw the bums out."
- ABC reporter Jack Smith, November 6 World News Tonight.

Reality Check:
38.7% of Eligible Americans Vote, A 12-Year, Non-Presidential High
- Washington Post, November 12.

 

Why Democrats Lost: Conservative Media Bias


Tom Brokaw: "During the course of the last two years, they have passed the crime bill. They have made progress on the deficit. They have done things like the national volunteer service. Do you think the press has been too fascinated with other ancillary issues like the feud between the President and some more conservative members of Congress, like Whitewater and Paula Jones?" NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert: "Yes I do."
- Exchange after Bill Clinton's news conference, November 9.

 

No Conservative Mandate

 

"They are not voting Republican tonight, Mary. They are voting against a lot of unhappiness in their own lives....I think that it's very easy for the Republicans to make the same mistake that the Democrats made in thinking that somehow we've been given this great mandate....They have got to be practical. They have got to compromise. They have got to meet the real needs of people. This is not an anti-government vote tonight."
- U.S. News & World Report Senior Writer Steven Roberts on CNBC's Equal Time, election night.

"The cynics would say this was a vote for gridlock, but I think it's easier to say, and the data points to the conclusion, that it was a vote for bipartisanship, for centrism."
- CNN's William Schneider, election night.

"If Bill Clinton and the Democrats were given a blow on Tuesday because they moved to the left, if the Republicans govern only from the right and abandon the center, my guess is the public will pay them back in the very near future....The American people aren't ideological. They don't want a liberal government, a conservative government. They want a centrist, moderate government, maybe tilt a bit right of center. They don't want extremes."
- Tim Russert, NBC News Washington Bureau Chief, November 13 Today.

"Both parties were sounding very conciliatory the morning after these midterm elections. But now it appears the gloves are starting to come out [sic]. We just heard Newt Gingrich make some comments about the White House staff. Do you really think that the two parties can work together when Republicans are interpreting this as a major redirection for America?"
- Today co-host Katie Couric to new Republican Senator Richard Shelby, November 10.

 

The Herd of Independent Media Minds


"On Foreign Relations, North Carolina's archconservative Jesse Helms may move to slash foreign aid - and try to redirect Clinton's Haitian and Cuban policies."
- Newsweek caption, November 21 issue.

"Ultraconservative, he is likely to seek cuts in foreign aid and U.N. contributions."
- Time caption on Helms, November 21 issue.

"North Carolina archconservative Sen. Jesse Helms will head the Foreign Relations committee...Another trap, some say, is overplaying the far right's social agenda."
- U.S. News & World Report Assistant Managing Editor Gloria Borger, November 21 issue.

"Jesse Helms, 73, who was first elected in 1972, has been the avenging angel of extreme conservatism in the Senate on everything from abortion, pornography and school prayer to left-wing governments around the world."
- Washington Post profile of the new committee chairmen, November 10.

"The Senate will be different, too, with archconservatives like Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond taking control of key committees."
- CBS reporter Bob Schieffer, November 12 Evening News.

 

Saddened Al


"I would hope that, ultimately, the public would reject an agenda that rewards the most affluent, and ignores those most in need. But I must tell you, if you want me to take a look at this election - I have to tell you that without a Ronald Reagan at the top of the ticket, this may well prove to be a seminal election...I'm saddened."
- Wall Street Journal Executive Washington Editor Al Hunt on CNN's Capital Gang, Nov. 12.

 

South Carolina Drowning Aftermath: Republicans' Fault


"Susan Smith knew what a kidnapper should look like....The suspect had to be a black man....And in a society that began to demonize African Americans almost as long as it enslaved them, blacks have endured being cast as menacing shadows at the edge of bad dreams. What has changed is that political rhetoric and pop culture are increasingly willing to expoit these shadows. When George Bush's 1988 campaign needed a name and a face for the bogeyman, it came up with Willie Horton."
- Time Senior Writer Richard Lacayo, November 14.

 

The Media: In Touch with the Pulse of America


"Like Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, his liberal counterpart who also was nearly counted out, Cuomo is back. Propelled by the endorsement of New York City's Republican mayor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, he has revived his campaign, not to mention his spirit, while his opponent, State Sen. George E. Pataki, has suffered an almost total meltdown with the rest of the state's Republican Party. Behind in the polls...Cuomo had seemed dispirited and unusually inarticulate about why voters should grant him a fourth term. However, he has since opened up an eight to 14 point lead while regaining the wit, agility and combativeness that brought him consideration as a presidential candidate, Supreme Court justice and Major League Baseball commissioner."
- Boston Globe news story by reporter Steve Fainaru, November 5.

"In fact, the night of the vote [on Clinton's budget], Republicans taunted Margolies-Mezvinsky. If you look closely you can see several waving good-bye. The political obituaries may have been premature."
- ABC reporter Jackie Judd, October 31 World News Tonight. Mezvinsky lost.

"Republicans believe this is their year to rearrange the seating charts in Congress. In the House, the GOP needs a gain of 40 seats to take control. While that's not likely, a pick up of 30 or so seats is probable."
- NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, November 5.

"Republicans would have to pick up 40 new seats today to take contol of the power structure, to chair committees and make Gingrich Speaker. It does not look as if the GOP will pick up that many new seats."
- ABC's Sheilah Kast, November 8 Good Morning America. The GOP gained at least 51 seats.

"If it's 28 [GOP House pick-ups] it's because people go in and think Speaker Gingrich....He nationalized the election and he put out a Contract with America that doesn't add up. If he hadn't done that, I'd agree with Bob [Novak, that GOP would gain control of House]."
- Time's Margaret Carlson, Nov. 5 Capital Gang.

 

Also a Rotten Time to Be Evan Thomas


"This is a rotten time to be black. Blacks are just going to take it in the chops....Their programs are going to get eviscerated and affirmative action is going to go right down the tubes...Politics have moved right because a lot of middle-class people thought they were taking my money and giving it to poor black people, and they didn't like it and they want their money back."
- Newsweek Washington Bureau Chief Evan Thomas on Inside Washington, November 12.

 

Start the Violins


"I want you to think about this question not as a partisan Republican, but just as an American, who as I, loves this country. Two years ago the American voters gave Bill Clinton a mandate for change. He went to Washington, sought to create change. He had internal problems with his staff, he had external problems. There were questions about his personality, his character, et cetera. But I don't think anyone can question that this man and his staff sought what was best for the United States. Tonight, it is clear voters coast to coast in this country have said `We want a change.' Now Republicans had voted this Democrat to be virtually, or described him as a monster. My question is essentially this: Where did he go wrong? What did he do so wrong that was against the American body politic, considering that he loves this country as much as you and I do?"
- CNN anchor Bernard Shaw to Pat Buchanan during CNN's election night coverage.

 

1994 Ratherisms


"Double T trouble. T is for Thelma, T is for Tennessee, and T is for big trouble tonight." "And Fred Thompson goes from hassling Clint Eastwood at the picture show to passing legislation in the Senate." "A lot of tight Senate races out there. Let's hit those chips with another dash of salsa, Ed Bradley."
- Dan Rather during CBS News election night coverage.

 

- L. Brent Bozell III; Publisher
- Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
- James Forbes, Andrew Gabron, Mark Honig, Steve Kaminski,
Gesele Rey, Clay Waters; Media Analysts
- Kathleen Ruff; Circulation Manager
Melissa Gordon, Jim Renne; Interns