Notable Quotables - 08/15/1994


Want Fewer Divorces? Then Raise Taxes

"One standard conservative argument against antipoverty policies is their cost: taxes burden the affluent and thus, by lowering work incentive, reduce economic output. But if one goal of the policy is to bolster monogamy, then making the affluent less so would help. Monogamy is threatened not just by poverty in an absolute sense but also by the relative wealth of the rich. This is what lures a young woman to a wealthy married or formerly married man. It is also what makes the man who attracts her feel too good for just one wife. As for the economic consequences, the costs of soaking the rich might well be outweighed by the benefits of, financial and otherwise, of more stable marriages, fewer divorces, fewer abused children and less loneliness and depression."
- New Republic Sr. Editor Robert Wright in Aug. 15 Time infidelity cover story.


Epidemic of Europe-Envy

"Those who argue for universal coverage very often make the point that the U.S. is practically alone in the industrialized world without it. Thirty million people without health insurance in the U.S. - compare that to Europe and Japan....In the great debate over universal coverage, a good many Americans believe it comes down to choices between haves and have-nots."
- Peter Jennings introducing July 26 American Agenda story on World News Tonight.

"Without health care reform there is nothing to stop insurance discrimination. And anyone can get sick. Anyone with a job can lose it - lose benefits; lose protection....Without reform, only the richest will be protected from a debilitating new kind of disease - a virulent strain of worry about their health care, their security; worry that is becoming epidemic."
- Beth Nissen's American Agenda, July 29 World News Tonight.

"Congress is about to begin floor debates on whether all Americans have the right to cradle-to-grave medical coverage. Health insurance is part of the social safety net in every other major democracy. In the United States - a country founded on the idea of limited government - generations of health reformers have been thwarted by the opposition of powerful interests and a deep suspicion of 'socialized medicine.'"
- Knight-Ridder Washington reporter R.A. Zaldivar, August 7 Philadelphia Inquirer.


Die, You Yuppie Scum

"I'm sad to report that at this very moment Harry and Louise, the yuppies who represent the small insurance companies, are winning. I think they have frightened people into thinking that any reform is going to hurt them."
- Margaret Carlson, Time columnist and former Dep. Wash. Bureau Chief, July 30 CNN Capital Gang.

Reality Check:
"Percentage of Americans who cannot identify Harry and Louise: 85%"
- Time/CNN poll as reported in the August 15 issue of Time.

Clinton Just Wanted to Do Good

"What makes this sad, even tragic, rather than merely sordid, is that Bill Clinton's predicament owes itself directly to Bill Clinton's promise. The President's problems did not come about because he was a cheap political hack. They came about because he was not. For what has happened to Clinton has happened because he wanted, more than anything in life, to get to where he is today, and because he wanted this, at least in part, in order to do good - and because the great goal of doing good gave him license to indulge in the everyday acts of minor corruption and compromise and falsity that the business of politics demands. Bill Clinton was perceptive enough to master politics - but not perceptive enough to see what politics was doing to him."
- Reporter Michael Kelly in July 31 New York Times Magazine article on why public doesn't trust Clinton.


Nobody Here But Us Apolitical Riders

"Most of the riders saw themselves as missionaries spreading the word about how the current health care system had failed them. Some were Republican, others Democrat; some were against abortion, others supported abortion rights. Most said they were not political. Their main focus was on assuring that every American be covered by health insurance. In their view, the Health Security Express was a nonpartisan effort to persuade Congress to pass legislation that provides universal coverage."
- Washington Post Health section Editor Abigail Trafford on the Health Care Express, August 9.


Cut a Little to Spend a Lot

"By reading the fine print of every bill to root out hidden tax breaks, colleagues say, he has saved billions for taxpayers."
- Newsweek Senior Writer Jolie Soloman, August 1 profile of retiring Senator Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio). For 1993 the National Taxpayers Union gave him a grade a "F," the "Big Spender" category.


There Goes Dinner

"It's been called an international crisis; every important fishing ground off every inhabited continent has been destroyed or depleted."
- CBS News anchor Troy Roberts on Up to the Minute, August 3.


Racist Reagan Race Baiting

"In the wake of the somewhat new hostilities bred in the Reagan '80s, how do you assess the state of race relations in this country today?"
- NBC's Bryant Gumbel to National Urban League President Hugh Price, July 28 Today.


Whitewashing Whitewater

"The five minute rule has been used for the Keating scandal hearings, for BCCI, for BNL. The agreements to have the hearings be narrow were negotiated with the Republican counsel, Robert Fiske. Everyone signed off on this. This is a desperate attempt by the Republicans to make a scandal out of something that isn't. They've overreached on Whitewater and they're trying to recoup on their investment. This hearing was a real dud."
- Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, July 30 McLaughlin Group.

"But Whitewater so far is a parody of a political scandal, full of sound and fury, signifying next to nothing. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it must be a...turkey."
- Newsweek Senior Editor Jonathan Alter, August 8 issue.


"While many Americans think something improper took place, their appreciation of just how much it went on has been blurred by White House accounts designed to keep the story contradictory and confusing. But when testimony and events uncovered by Senate investigators are assembled into a running narrative, the story paints a complex but disturbing portrait of a White House gripped by a culture of deception."
- Time Washington reporter Michael Duffy, August 15 issue.


Image and Reality

"[The notion of the liberal press] is such a crock....In all the years I've worked for newspapers, and the total is 18 or 19 of 'em, I have never worked for a liberal newspaper....There are some 1,700 daily newspapers, and they're all run by Republicans! Why? Because Republicans are the kind of people who own things. And I don't know one of 'em who's gonna let some off-the-wall liberal run his newsroom."
- David Burgin, Editor of the Alameda Newspaper Group, owner of the Oakland Tribune, in a Berkeley Express interview cited in the July/August American Journalism Review.

"I'm kind of the house lefty at the Wall Street Journal."
- Confession by Wall Street Journal Editor Al Hunt, on CNBC's Equal Time, August 1.


- 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;
- Patrick Pitman, Stephanie Swafford; Interns