Notable Quotables - 02/19/1990


Ted Turner, Meet Al Neuharth

"Marx and Lenin are still revered heroes. Never mind that communism as they conceived it didn't work. Most Soviets don't want to dump it, just improve on it."
- USA Today founder Al Neuharth in Feb. 9 column.


State of the Union

"We would like to believe the State of the Union address is a time when the President tells the American people the way it is. But no one really wants to hear that, so the President keeps reality down to a minimum. The President was remarkably upbeat for a man who runs a country with a monstrous national debt, huge balance of trade problems, a crumbling infrastructure, dirty air, countless homeless people, a coast-to-coast drug epidemic, and a faltering self-image."
- CBS This Morning co-host Harry Smith, February 2.

"It was interesting also when [President Bush] was reading the letter from the soldier, because he has such a hard time expressing emotion, and Reagan could express emotion so well, even if he didn't feel it."
- New York Times reporter Maureen Dowd on Nightline, January 31.


Which Mandela Is It?

"Black Nationalist Urges Continued Armed Struggle"
- Washington Post front page, February 12

Mandela Poised to Take Role of Conciliator"
- Washington Post front page, same day


Read Bryant's Lips

"[Except] for capital gains, it is certain the President won't mention the T word, and yet taxes are very much at the heart of what all our potential solutions are. How long can both sides pretend that a hike's not needed?"
- Bryant Gumbel on Today, January 31.

"We keep on hearing about limited resources, limited resources. But maybe it is time to say the T word. Anyway, at some point, we're going to have to say it."
- Gumbel on Today, February 9.


The Peacemaker & the Cold Warrior

"Good morning, Bob. There was an overwhelming sense of irony to the President's trip. While he was off promoting a strong military, Mikhail Gorbachev was leading his country on a revolutionary path toward a Western style democracy....While Gorbachev was playing the role of peacemaker in Moscow, Bush looked more like the cold war warrior."
- NBC reporter Jim Miklaszewski to Today anchor Bob Kur, February 9.

"But in symbolic terms, the President's timing could not have been worse. He finds himself on the warpath, so to speak, promoting Star Wars and a strong nuclear deterrent against the Soviet Union at the very moment Gorbachev is promoting democracy."
- Lesley Stahl on the CBS Evening News, February 7.

Gore's Foreign Policy

"We deserve each other, the Soviet Union and the United States, as I said, the two klutzes of the Northern Hemisphere. Neither one of us can make a car anybody wants to drive. We're natural allies."
- Historical novelist Gore Vidal on Good Morning America, February 1.


Which Dan Is It?

"Gorbachev wants to lead an evolution of what has been a totalitarian state into a federal union where the rule of law takes precedence over a government of men....This is what Gorbachev is trying to pull off while keeping himself on top. Neither he nor this vision is dominantly, overwhelmingly popular throughout the country, at least not yet."
- Dan Rather's CBS radio commentary, February 1.

"That is part of the heart of what is called perestroika. Gorbachev and new-wave communists like him sold the idea to the country as a whole. The Soviet people were ready, past ready. Their attitude seemed to be 'Where have you been? What took you so long? This is what we've wanted for a long while.'"
- Rather's radio commentary, next day.


Fiscal Recklessness

"Devoting the bulk of future defense savings to erasing the deficit would be fitting, since much of the government's red ink stems from Reagan's sharp military buildup...Despite America's fiscal recklessness in the 1980s, the sudden end of the cold war has provided the nation at least a modest opportunity to improve its health without cutting already anemic social spending."
- Time Washington correspondent Michael Hornik, February 12 issue.


Still Blaming Reagan

"So far the administration's position in the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) is, in one key respect, still mired in the past. It is designed to preserve, in its redundant entirety, Ronald Reagan's so-called strategic modernization program...The kind of military overinsurance the public was willing to pay for a decade ago looks like wretched excess now."
- Former Washington Bureau Chief Strobe Talbott in the February 12 Time.

"At one point of the book, [Noonan] blames activists for the homeless for the presence of a frightening street person outside the Executive Office Building. C'mon, Peggy, read my you-know-whats: Mitch Snyder didn't put that man there; your old boss did."
- USA Today book critic Robert Wilson reviewing Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan's What I Saw At The Revolution, February 9.


No New Tax Cuts

"Finally, one must mention the onerous Social Security tax. As all but the rich know, it is onerous. But now, with the nation running a large deficit, is not the time to cut it. (Let alone privatize it, which makes no sense at all.)...But Senator Moynihan is quite right: in light of the Social Security tax burden, it would be outrageous to give rich folks yet another broad tax break. It's mind boggling that this actually passed the House last term, to be kept from enactment only by the Senate. One hopes the Senate, led on this issue by the likes of Senators Bradley, Bentsen, and Moynihan, will show the same good sense again."
- Time "Money Angles" columnist Andrew Tobias, February 12.


Tell It to the Nicaraguans, Angolans, Ethiopians...

"The Soviets are in a hurry to disarm, by themselves and through negotiations. They need the money saved for their failed civilian economy. Also, President Gorbachev believes modern weapons make war too dangerous to fight....Gorbachev argues all forces should be defensive only. No country should have troops on the territory of another."
- NBC News Moscow reporter Bob Abernethy on Nightly News, Feb. 1.


The Good Old Days?

"Many Soviets viewing the current chaos and nationalist unrest under Gorbachev look back almost longingly to the era of brutal order under Stalin."
- Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes, February 11.


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