The Best of Notable Quotables; December 18, 1995

Vol. Eight; No. 26

Damn Those Conservatives Award

“These days Washington seems to be filled with white men who make black people uneasy, like Newt the slasher, Bill the waffler, and Jesse the crank – Helms, that is, not Jackson. But the scariest of all the hobgoblins may well be a fellow African American, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. In the four years since George Bush chose him to fill the ‘black seat’ vacated by Thurgood Marshall, Thomas has emerged as the high court’s most aggressive advocate of rolling back the gains Marshall fought so hard for. The maddening irony is that Thomas owes his seat to precisely the kind of racial preference he goes to such lengths to excoriate.”

Time National Correspondent Jack E. White in a June 26 column “Uncle Tom Justice.”


“Even your sister concedes, although some supporters might like what you have to say about the economy and these very specific issues you just mentioned, they’re very turned off by some of your social policies. And you know you’ve got political enemies out there calling you an isolationist, a bigot, you’re anti-gay, and some even go as far as saying that your social stands are reminiscent of Nazi Germany. How are you to win them over?”

CBS This Morning co-host Paula Zahn to Pat Buchanan, July 5.

“Its story line could be a Republican parable about 1995 America: A marvelous vessel loses its power and speeds toward extinction, until it’s saved by a team of heroic white men. I can imagine the political commercials in which Hanks morphs into Phil Gramm. Although the movie’s publicity trumpets its historical accuracy, the movie itself celebrates the paradisiacal America invoked by Ronald Reagan and Pat Buchanan – an America where men were men, women were subservient, and people of color kept out of the damn way.”

– John Powers writing about Apollo 13 in The Washington Post Arts section, July 9.

“Unless Gingrich and Dole and the Republicans say ‘Am I inflaming a bunch of nuts?’, you know we’re going to have some more events. I am absolutely certain the harsher rhetoric of the Gingriches and the Doles...creates a climate of violence in America.”

– Columnist Carl Rowan, April 25 Washington Post story.

“The conservatives’ agenda, if it goes through, is going to depress the quality of cultural and educational life for everyone in America, young and old, black, brown, male or female. This is one of the most ill-conceived, profoundly anti-democratic ideas ever to get loose in Congress. Private philanthropy will never be able to restore what seems about to be taken away. Some will not notice it; others won’t care; given the shortness of American social memory, perhaps the next generation won’t know what happened. Partial lobotomies work that way. They favor Beavis and Butt-head. Is that the business of American government?”

Time art critic Robert Hughes, concluding August 7 story on plans to cut NEA and NEH funding.