Notable Quotables - 01/30/1995

Pol Pot, Gingrich: What's the Difference?

"From the pronunciamentos out of Washington, you'd think the new Congress were a slash-and-burn Khmer Rouge, determined to rid Phnom Penh of every member of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, every painter who every got a dime out of the National Endowment for the Arts, every child who was ever difficult, and other inconvenient co-dependents who ought instead to be growing rice and eating fishpaste in the boondocks."
- CBS Sunday Morning TV critic John Leonard, January 8.

"Too bad he didn't say a word or two on behalf of public broadcasting, currently under attack by a crowd of power-drunk crackpots in Congress who want to exterminate it. Kermit the Frog will wind up in the kitchen of a French restaurant if they get their way."
- Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales reviewing the State of the Union, January 25. (Shales did not disclose he does movie reviews for National Public Radio.)


Taking Out Hankies for the President

"I'd like to start, if I may, with what I think you may think is a puzzlement. You've reduced the deficit. You've created jobs. Haiti hasn't been an enormous problem. You've got a crime bill with your assault weapon ban in it. You got NAFTA, you got GATT, and 50 percent of the people don't want you to run again. Where's the disconnect there?"

"...Here's another one. In our poll today, the absolute critical items for Congress to address. Number one, cutting the deficit. Number two, health care reform. The two issues which were absolute priorities for two years, and you don't get any credit for them?"
- Peter Jennings interviewing President Clinton, January 5 World News Tonight.

"But it simply may be a lousy time to be President. The public is angry and demanding, the media quick to judge and condemn. The world a far messier place - gone is the single visible enemy. Gone is President as leader of the free world....Being Commander in Chief has never been easy, but there was a time when the public was more forgiving. Today when you stumble, it seems no one cuts you a break. You don't have to go any farther than your radio....An impact that often steamrolls the complexities of an issue and injects more heat than light into the political discourse. Call it Rush to judgment....For this President, in these times, there is little joy in the job. He is scrutinized by a cynical public and now surrounded by a hostile Congress. These days, it goes with the territory."
- Reporter Frank Sesno on CNN Presents, January 22.


Cuomo's Memory

"Mario recalls Crown Hts. Riot: Blames cops, not Dinkins"
- New York Post, January 19.

"Cuomo's memory fails him on Crown Heights details"
- New York Daily News, same day.

Newt's Welcome Bouquet

"You called Gingrich and his ilk, your words, `trickle-down terrorists who base their agenda on division, exclusion, and fear.' Do you think middle-class Americans are in need of protection from that group?"
- Bryant Gumbel to House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, January 4 Today.

"Both Gingrich and Buchanan are familiar. They have all the moves and then some of Joseph McCarthy, the late Republican Senator from Wisconsin....The difference between McCarthy and Gingrich-Buchanan is that Gingrich and Buchanan are sober and have greater intellect....If Clinton falls in bed with Gingrich, the nation is in trouble."
- Former Boston Globe Washington Bureau Chief Robert Healy, January 21.


The Networks Rip the Competition

"It is not just Congress that is taking a sharp turn to the right. The surge to the right on Capitol Hill is making waves all over the country on openly politically partisan and sometimes racist radio."
- Dan Rather, January 4 CBS Evening News.

"The hottest thing on the radio these days is the call-in talk show. Most of the hosts are self-described conservatives, what their opponents call reactionaries."
- Dan Rather, January 18 CBS Evening News.

"The issue is whether what's going out over the airwaves here and elsewhere is fanning the flames, is making the situation worse, that talk radio is not democracy in action, but democracy run amok."
- NBC reporter Bob Faw, January 3 Nightly News.


Passionate, Eloquent...And Out of a Job

"A lot has been written about you in the last couple of weeks. Much of it has a sense that Mario Cuomo is a man full of promise and now that your 12 years in Albany is done, much of that promise is unfulfilled. Do you disagree with that?....The sense of the promise that you may have been able to deliver to people, your eloquence, your intelligence, that did not translate, for lack of a better term, into dynamic governance?....How are you going to use this? Are you, will you continue to use this passion, will you continue to use this eloquence? Some people have suggested you should become a counterbalance to Rush Limbaugh."
- CBS This Morning co-host Harry Smith's questions to Mario Cuomo, December 30.


Republicans Massage Racism

"There is a broad public dissatisfaction with welfare policy in this country, but how much of this is a hangover of politicians who massaged the messages of welfare queens and welfare fraud, and produced a popular sense in the American population that undeserving people are getting something for nothing, particularly undeserving people of color?"
- PBS Washington Week in Review host Ken Bode, January 13.

"So the Republicans say they are against raising the minimum wage. What did you expect? The minimum wage does nothing to help the rich....The Republicans are against welfare and food stamps. They're against mandatory health coverage. They're against raising the minimum wage. But they're for the working man. Especially the working man worried about capital gains. Especially the working man who employs what amounts to slave labor....This is somewhere between dumb and short-sighted from an economic standpoint, and it's somewhere between crass and racist from a social standpoint."
- Former NBC News President Michael Gartner in his USA Today column, January 10.


A Vulgarizing Effect on Pop Culture

"The series accents racial harmony and it champions taking up the cause of the underdog at a time when, increasingly, we are seeing opposite emotions at work in this country."
- Bryant Gumbel interviewing actress Cicely Tyson on her NBC drama Sweet Justice, January 6 Today.

"If recent history is any guide, a return to conservative economics and Republican moralizing may re-energize the most hostile strains in popular music. Through the 1980s and early 1990s, the Reagan and Bush administrations nurtured rock's angriest genres. Against the official veneer of optimism and 1950s niceness, rock (and increasing violent horror and action-adventure movies) insisted that rampant self-interest would make for losers as well as winners. Intuitively, people in their teens and 20s may have guessed they'd be stuck with the bill for the high-living 1980s."
- New York Times music critic Jon Pareles, January 15.


Very Compassionate

"The trouble is that Ronald Reagan left us with the check. He may not remember all this, but he left us with a $3 trillion debt."
- San Francisco Examiner Washington Bureau Chief and America's Talking host Chris Matthews on Good Morning America, January 4.


- 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, Anna Johnson; Interns