Notable Quotables - 09/03/1990


War in Iraq? Blame Reagan

Reporter Lisa Myers: "The problem is that slow but steady progress on energy conservation came to a screeching halt in the mid-1980s, which is a big reason Iraq has us over a barrel today....What derailed the conservation effort? Two things: a sharp drop in oil prices, and the Reagan Administration."
James Wolf, Alliance to Save Energy: "They were a disaster. President Reagan's administration fought on the wrong side of the energy efficiency wars. They opposed every initiative to improve energy efficiency."
Myers: "In some cases, Reagan actually turned back the clock, relaxing auto efficiency requirements, delaying appliance efficiency standards, scrapping research on new energy technologies."
- NBC Nightly News, August 15.

"American are furious - at the oil companies, at Iraq, and at Washington for doing nothing to protect them from price shocks....The Reagan Administration preferred the free market to an active energy plan. And since 1981, oil imports have risen from 33 percent to 46. While the U.S. waits for a strategy, it now buys almost as much Mideast oil as it did before the last crisis there."
- ABC reporter Ned Potter on World News Tonight, August 9.

"We've been training to fight a desert war for years while buying weapons to fight the Cold War in Europe. Instead of building fast ships to move troops and equipment to the Persian Gulf, the Navy spent billions on Trident submarines and warships. As a result, the Pentagon can move only one division at a time to the Middle East....It's the legacy of Ronald Reagan's trillion-dollar defense buildup. Critics say the Pentagon was thinking richer, not smarter."
- Reporter Andrea Mitchell, August 16 NBC Nightly News.

Probing Questions

"Mr. President, do you think this is a Vietnam in the sand for the United States?"
- Question from Dan Rather to Saddam Hussein, August 29 CBS News special.

Shootout at Gumbel's Gulf

Bryant Gumbel: "What's your view of the presence of U.S. troops here, Kamal?"
Kamal Sultan, Kuwaiti refugee: "Basically, I really wish they were here a lot sooner, okay? I think they make a positive contribution to the situation here and you know they are here right now to prevent the Iraqis from moving farther south."
Gumbel: "Are you speaking as an Arab or as a graduate of the University of California-Santa Barbara?"
- from Today, August 20.

"I need not elaborate on the differences between your culture and ours, but how much of a threat to the Saudi way of life do you think the presence of American forces represents?"
- Gumbel interviewing an editor of The Saudi Arabia News, the same day.


Another Excuse for Gas Taxes

"Ask yourself: When prices go up at the gas pump, would you like to send your extra dollars to Saddam Hussein or would you prefer to keep most of them in America for domestic needs? That stark choice has hung over us for two decades and, incredibly, we have always come down on the wrong side. It's time we got smart....This latest threat makes it clearer than ever that American must finally kick the habit, freeing us from this awful dependency. There are several cures, but the fastest and surest is a 50-cent federal tax on every gallon federal tax on every gallon of gas at the pump, phased in over five years."
- Former Reagan official and U.S. News & World Report Editor-at-Large David Gergen, August 27/September 3 issue.


Let's Try a Socialist Energy Policy

"We have allowed this country to be held hostage by an industry that produces a product vital to our national interests. This makes about as much sense as having the military services or the nation's water supply controlled by private corporations....In the long run, what would make the most sense would be to nationalize the oil industry to protect the economy."
- Washington Post columnist Judy Mann, August 8.


Another Excuse for Attacking the Bush Campaign

"This is the crisis for which Bush has spent a lifetime preparing....[in 1988], Bush still saw foreign policy as his ticket to the White House and the true measure of presidential achievement. After Michael Dukakis' rousing performance at the 1988 Democratic Convention, Bush was down 17 points in the polls. A rash of silly sloganeering and low blows ensued (remember the Pledge of Allegiance and Willie Horton?), but the road back followed a carefully detailed game plan and always returned to attacking Dukakis as ill-equipped to manage America's world role."
- Time Special Correspondent Michael Kramer, August 30 cover story.


How To Distort the News

"Even though it looks like we're taking a few pictures, just by omission - what we leave out and choose not to take a picture of - we are making editorial judgments in the field. And it is very easy to distort the truth visually, you know. If you take a hot issue such as abortion, and if you have one view or the other on that can make it look as though there is a very large group in favor of it. Or, by how you frame your shots, you can distort the truth in numerous ways. You can put people in a bad light just by the way you light them, the way you frame them."
- Washington ABC affiliate WJLA-TV cameraman Steve Affens on CBS' Nightwatch, July 27.


Oh No, Not Religion

"Poland's Public Schools to Offer Classes in Religion: Many now wonder if an abortion ban will be next"
- New York Times, August 15.


Bring Back the Berlin Wall

"The farmers of East Germany were forced against their will into cooperatives in the 1950's, but now the great majority of the 660,000 members of cooperatives want to maintain that form of organization. It has given them regular working hours, vacation time, pensions, libraries, and other benefits that probably could not have been attained on their own."
- New York Times correspondent David Binder, August 16.

"East Germans, already angry over what capitalism has brought, got more to worry about Sunday."
- Beginning of USA Today article by Clive Freeman, July 25.


Soak the Rich

"The notion of employing Robin Hood tactics to cut the deficit has gathered momentum - leading lawmakers to consider everything from raising the top income-tax rate to enacting 'luxury' taxes on furs and pricey cars. Higher levies may be justified. The rich prospered during the 1980's, as the federal tax system became decidedly less progressive."
- U.S. News & World Report Senior Writer Susan Dentzer, August 13.


Brennan's Image Polishers

"Brennan was the engine who, more than any other individual, drove the court in the last 30 years to declare new rights, to protect new minorities, to bring more of the disfavored into the safe harbor of the U.S. Constitution."
- USA Today reporter Tony Mauro, July 23.


- L. Brent Bozell III; Publisher
- Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
- Callista Gould, Jim Heiser, Marian Kelley, Gerard Scimeca; Media Analysts
- Kristin K. Bashore; Administrative Assistant