Notable Quotables - 01/08/1990


Never Satisfied

"Now, having launched one of the largest American invasion forces since the days of the Vietnam War, Mr. Bush is erasing his old image of being timid, but the new question now, almost overnight, is whether this President is exhibiting signs of being reckless."
- Reporter Wyatt Andrews on CBS News special report on Panama, December 21.


America's Evil Empire

"For decades, Panamanians needed only to gaze at the highest point in their capital, to the giant American flag on a promontory called Ancon Hill, to be reminded of the political and military power that ruled their country with the authority of an old-time empire. Today, Panamanians need only to look at their own street corner. An invasion by more than 20,000 US troops appears to have signaled a return to old-time politics, reminiscent of other US military interventions in Latin America."
- Boston Globe reporter Philip Bennett in a December 21 front page "news analysis."


OK, Sweden's Next

"The Panama invasion, itself, might hide strange currents of white supremacy. Why, when our country flops, do we bomb a brown country?"
- USA Today Inquiry Editor Barbara Reynolds, December 22.

"It seems now that with the increasing democratization of Eastern Europe, the only people the United States are going to be prepared to use its military against are non-white peoples, peoples of the Third World."
- former ABC News White House reporter Kenneth Walker on McLaughlin Group, weekend of Dec. 29.


The 1980's: The Evil Reagan Years

"And Reagan, as commander-in-chief, was the military's best friend. He gave the Pentagon almost everything it wanted. That spending, combined with a broad tax cut, contributed to a trillion-dollar deficit...Social programs? They suffered under Reagan. But he refused to see the cause and effect."
- Tom Brokaw over video of homeless people on December 27 NBC News special, The Eighties.

"The decade had its highs (Gorbachev, Bird)...

...and the decade had its lows (Reagan,AIDS)"
- Boston Globe headlines over '80s reviews by the paper's columnists, December 28.

"By 'selling the sizzle' of Reagan, as his aide Michael Deaver put it, the administration spun the nation out of its torpor with such fantasies as supply-side economics, the nuclear weapons 'window of vulnerability,' and the Strategic Defense Initiative."
- Harrison Rainie, U.S. News & World Report Senior Editor and former chief of staff to Senator Moynihan, December 25/January 1 issue.

"To the self-indulgent age of the '80s and to the characters that gave it special flavor at home - Oliver L. North and Ronald Reagan, Michael Milken and Ivan Boesky, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Arthur Laffer and his curve, the Yuppies and the leveraged buyout dealmakers - good riddance."
- Former Washington Post editor and current columnist Haynes Johnson, December 29.

"We saw the icons of American politics bow down to the almighty dollar [Reagan and O'Neill]. And we threw one last party [Malcolm Forbes] to celebrate the end of the decade of greed. Yet we continued to dirty our planet like there was no tomorrow."
- CBS This Morning co-host Harry Smith, December 29.

"But what they did the best was the simplest. They won. Isn't that what the Reagan '80's were about, the bottom line? The number of presidential naps didn't bother us; the number on our bank statements did."
- Senior Writer Rick Reilly on the sportsmen of the '80s in Time Warner's Sports Illustrated, December 18.

"From its plot synopsis, Risky Business (1983) promised more of the lame same. An affluent high school senior has an affair with a hooker (Rebecca de Mornay), dunks the family Porsche in Lake Michigan, turns his house into a brothel and still gets into Princeton. Sounds like the Reagan era in miniature."
- Time film critic Richard Corliss in Tom Cruise cover story, December 25 issue.


The 1980's: The Great Gorbachev Years

"The supreme leader of an atheistic state was baptized as a child. Now, in a sense, Gorbachev means to accomplish the salvation of an entire society that has gone astray...Much more than that, Gorbachev is a visionary enacting a range of complex and sometimes contradictory roles. He is simultaneously the communist Pope and the Soviet Martin Luther, the apparatchik as Magellan and McLuhan. The Man of the Decade is a global navigator."
- Time Senior Writer Lance Morrow, January 1.

"In the foreign world, we marvel at the daring trapeze act of Mikhail Gorbachev, who approximates our idea of a great man. The history of his country threw him on the scene, but he put aside his script. Some wise men warn us that we love Gorbachev more than his people do and that one day he may be whisked off to a remote dacha by police. But he persists, the instrument of his people's desire for change."
- U.S. News & World Report Contributing Editor Fouad Ajami, December 25/January 1 issue.

"Gorbachev is helping the West by showing that the Soviet threat isn't what it used to be - and what's more, that it never was."
- Subheadline to January 1 article by Time's Strobe Talbott.

"M. Gorbachev Despite domestic woes, ain't no arrow high enough. A true 20th-century hero."

"R. Reagan Great politician, great guy - just like Warren G. Harding."
- Newsweek "Conventional WisdomWatch" box, December 25.


America's Decadent Democracy

"Instead of reveling in the collapse of communism, we could head off economic and social havoc by admitting that for most of us, capitalism doesn't work, either...Homeless, jobless, illiterate people, besieged by guns and drugs, are as bereft of a democratic lifestyle as anybody behind the old Berlin Wall...If we look within ourselves, we will see that a capitalistic order that is dependent upon cheap labor and an underclass to exploit is too dangerous a concept to continue."
- USA Today Inquiry Editor Barbara Reynolds, December 8.

"In contrast to the thirst for democracy in Eastern Europe and elsewhere, politics in the United States seemed to have little to do with peoples' lives."
- Minneapolis Star Tribune Washington correspondent Steve Berg, December 27.


Free-Market Price Controls

"The best way to [conserve energy] is to raise energy prices and let free-market forces do the job of stimulating conservation. First the federal gasoline tax should be increased substantially - to at least 60 cents per gal., from the current 9 cents per gal., over the next four years. At the same time, the government could begin setting up a program to tax the use of all fossil fuels."
- New York correspondent Eugene Linden in the December 18 Time.

"The irony is that the laissez-faire, free-market rules that allowed the industrial world to prosper now must be suspended."
- Time Senior Editor Thomas Sancton, same issue.


Coming Clean

"I'm a life-long Democrat."
- former NBC News President Reuven Frank at a People for the American Way sponsored forum broadcast by C-SPAN, November 14.

"No one has admired Ralph Nader and his clutch of public-citizen lobbies more than I have over many years."
-Washington Post business reporter and columnist Hobart Rowen, November 30.

Bill Moyers, Progressive

"Now the lessons of Iran-Contra are also clear. We have learned this: that a President who lies to Congress and to the people will feel free to joke about it. A Vice President who lies to Congress and to the people will be elected President. A White House aide who lies to Congress and to the people will be hailed as a hero until the time for a reckoning comes...An administration, in short, that lies to Congress and to the people is the accepted order of things. And a Constitution designed to prevent exactly that order is a mere scrap of paper."
- PBS personality Bill Moyers writing in the January 1990 issue of the Progressive.

"A hundred years from now - long after Ronald Reagan has been lumped with other ineffectual Dr. Feelgoods like William McKinley and Calvin Coolidge who swam with the tide of their times - the last fourth of the 20th century will be remembered for the demise of imperial communism, and the Soviet Union's President will be remembered for both making and letting it happen."
- Boston Globe Washington bureau correspondent and columnist Tom Oliphant, under above headlines.

"Democrats by and large remained uncritical of this occasional gunplay. After all, Sheriff Reagan mostly fired in the air, harmlessly busting up the bullies on a weekend drunk. And besides, in the heat of a national pep rally, any downbeat voice was easily scored as whiny and defeatist."
- Los Angeles Times writer Barry Bearak on Reagan's military actions against Libya, December 26 Minneapolis Star Tribune.

"Ronald Reagan and Madonna. On the surface, he stood for the fundamental American values that she parodied. But underneath, they conveyed the same Horatio Alger myth: Self-image over reality. Say it or sing it enough, and any dream of yourself might come true, at least in the public's perception."
- U.S. News & World Report Senior Editor Donald Baer, December 25/January 1 issue.

Defense Spending, Wretched Excess

"Congress was facing the fiscal and political imperatives of the Gramm-Rudman-Gorbachev era. The federal budget was squeezing the resources available for defense spending, and the kinder, gentler Soviet Union made the arms buildup that Bush inherited from Reagan seem increasingly like wretched excess."
- Strobe Talbott in Time, December 4.


Disastrous Tax Cuts

"Like Ronald Reagan, who managed to preside in relative secrecy over $90 billion in 'revenue enhancements' after the well-publicized (and disastrous) 1981 tax cuts, Bush has some bipartisan support for his antitax posture."
- Time magazine, December 4.

"I'm concerned that there is a great sense of selfishness today. During the Reagan years, there has been an ascendancy of the marketplace over all other values. There's more self-service than public service. The result is a deterioration of ethics. The outcome is the assumption that to deceive is to succeed."
- Former Christian Science Monitor editor Kay Fanning in the Boston Globe, December 21.

"If [James Baker] had condemned an effort by Moscow to stop the battle for Bucharest, how could he then effectively praise his boss's decision to launch an operation that smashed what precious little order did exist in Panama, killed hundreds, made 9,000 people homeless and refurbished an image of America as a hemispheric bully. All to get rid of Noriega?"Washington Post Paris Bureau Chief Jim Hoagland, December 28.


- L. Brent Bozell III; Publisher
- Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
- Jim Heiser, Marian Kelley, Gerard Scimeca, Stewart Verdery; Media Analysts
- Kristin Kelly; Administrative Assistant