- The Washington Times - Monday, September 8, 2003

Busting Quayle

The long-awaited portrait bust of former Vice President Dan Quayle will be unveiled tomorrow in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

“In 1886, the Joint Committee on the Library began commissioning busts to be sculpted of the vice presidents to occupy the niches that surround the Senate chamber,” Rep. Bob Ney, Ohio Republican explained. “Once these spaces were filled, new additions were placed throughout the Senate wing of the Capitol.”

The bust collection acknowledges patriotic service performed by each vice president, who were also president of the Senate. The upper-chamber currently maintains more than 80 sculptures of such historical figures, not the least being Mr. Quayle, who began his public service career in 1971 as an investigator with Indiana’s Consumer Protection Division.

At the ripe young age of 29, Mr. Quayle was elected to Congress and at age 33 became the youngest person ever elected to the Senate from Indiana. Eight years later, in 1988, he was tapped by George H.W. Bush to be his vice presidential running mate, and a year later was sworn in as the 44th vice president of the United States.

Today, believe it or not, Mr. Quayle is widely regarded as one of the most active vice presidents in U.S. history. He made official visits to 47 countries, was chairman of both the President’s Council on Competitiveness and the National Space Council, and served as former President Bush’s point man on Capitol Hill.

Indiana Rep. Mark Souder, a Republican, who represents Mr. Quayle’s old constituency, calls the former vice president “a precocious politician” whose election to the Senate coincided with President Reagan’s conservative revolution.

“While he may at times have been the unfair subject of liberal derision, Americans always knew that Dan would stand firm against the radicalism of Hollywood’s ersatz politicians,” Mr. Souder notes.

Even Candice Bergen, aka “Murphy Brown,” recently admitted that Mr. Quayle wasn’t off base more than 10 years ago when he criticized her character for having a child out of wedlock with no father in the family portrait.

Finally, this columnist feels it time to revisit the silly controversy surrounding Mr. Quayle’s inability to spell “potato.” I’ll have you know the former vice president wasn’t wrong after all, calling attention to his unique spelling of “potatoe.”

Just check out the Oxford English Dictionary, v.VII, p. 1,184, line 4 of the entry, which lists “potatoe” as a form.

Prague to K.C.

Central Europeans like what they see in America’s heartland: themselves.

We’ve learned that the Czech Republic later this month will open a consul’s office in the Kansas City metropolitan area, of all places. The Czech Republic’s ambassador to the United States, Martin Palous, a strong supporter of President Bush in the war in Iraq, will even be on hand when the office opens.

Why Kansas City?

Rep. Dennis Moore, Kansas Democrat, tells us that thousands of Czechs and Slovaks immigrated to Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska in past centuries, their descendants forming “a vibrant part of America’s rich cultural tapestry.”

“Now, after only a decade since becoming a free and autonomous nation,” the congressman notes, “the Czech Republic’s amazing progress toward democratization has created a unique opportunity to further strengthen the ties between Eastern Europe and America’s heartland.”

Lawmakers for a day

As one Ohio Democrat sees it, Congress doesn’t have the liberty to criticize President Bush’s “deceptive” policy in Iraq.

So he’s granting his constituents the floor.

More than a century and a half ago, Rep. Sherrod Brown notes, Congress passed a rule banning the discussion of “slavery” in the House.

“In those days,” he says, “John Quincy Adams, former president, was a member of the House … and while he was banned, was prohibited from discussing slavery, former … Congressman Adams as an abolitionist believed that slavery was the biggest blot on our nation’s history and wanted to remove that.

“He came to the House floor day after day, week after week, and because he could not talk directly about slavery, he read letters from his constituents in Massachusetts expressing their concern about slavery,” Mr. Brown recalled.

Along those same lines today, the Democrat says the Republican-controlled Congress “will not allow us to debate the issue of the president’s perhaps not telling the whole truth about his decision to attack Iraq.”

So, Mr. Brown has taken to the floor of the House and begun reading letters from his constituents, several of whom are calling on Congress to empanel an independent commission to investigate the Bush administration’s “distortion of evidence of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program” — as one Ohio letter-writer refers to it.

John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected].

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