The Best of Notable Quotables; December 21, 1992

Vol. Five; No. 26

Willie Horton Award (for Sophisticated Political Analysis)

“The racial dimension flows naturally into the political, where the uglier side of Quayle’s mission begins to become apparent. One of Quayle’s amazing but unlikable feats last week was metaphorically to transform old Willie Horton into a beautiful blond fortyish WASP has-it-all knockout.”

Time Senior Writer Lance Morrow on the Murphy Brown controversy, June 1.


“The Republicans, for 25 years, have seldom avoided the temptation to play the race card politically in this country. It goes back to the ‘60s, when Richard Nixon ran as a law-and-order President. In the ‘70s, Ronald Reagan, and the late ‘70s, he ran for President in 1980 talking about welfare queens, associating the Great Society programs with minorities, and with waste, and with crime in the streets. There has been a consistent impulse, Willie Horton was just a continuation of that, to use this issue to divide people.”

U.S. News & World Report Senior Writer Steven Roberts on Washington Week in Review, May 8.

“Senator, you told Tim that you thought the White House suggestion that the Great Society programs were to blame for what happened in Los Angeles was ludicrous. Was it also a racial code word – a code word to appeal to racial fears? Is it the Willie Horton of the 1992 campaign?”

– NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell interviewing Sen. Bill Bradley on Meet the Press, May 10.

“It would help, too, if the man who sanctioned the infamous Willie Horton ad during his 1988 run for the White House would admit his complicity in developing the images and code words that encourage whites to demonize blacks.”

Time special correspondent Michael Kramer, May 11 issue.

“Many are afraid the L.A. riots are going to be the Willie Horton of this campaign. Are you afraid they’re going to have a very divisive effect? Does that concern you or are you playing that up?”

–  Today co-host Katie Couric interviewing Pat Buchanan, May 6.