The big question at the vice presidential debate was, "Is Sen. Dan Quayle qualified to be president of the United States?" After listening carefully, I came to the conclusion that he is. I think what persuaded me was the answer he gave when asked what he would do if he were president.
He said that first of all he would say a prayer, then he would meet with Bush's people, whom he had gotten to know on a first-name basis, and then he'd use his congressional experience to be president.I bought it all, even when Quayle compared himself to John Kennedy.
I even fantasized the scene. Bush and Quayle have won the election. As vice president he has nothing to do until a Bush aide rushes in and says, "President Bush has come down with a case of Mongolian flu and cannot function. According to the 25th Amendment, you're going to have to take over as president."
Quayle says, "This is awful, but fortunately George Bush picked the most qualified person for the job. Harry Truman was the same age as me when he became president."
"You're no Harry Truman."
"That was uncalled for. Well, I better get ready. First, I will say a prayer for myself and the American people."
"That's a good idea, Mr. President. The American people need one."
"Okay, let's go and talk to the Cabinet. Hi, Doc. Hi, Sneezy. Hi, Dopey. Hi, Sleepy. Hi, Grumpy. Hi, Bashful. Hi, Happy.... You didn't think I'd know all your first names, did you? Now I've called you together because the President has Mongolian flu and I'm in charge. I'm qualified to be president of the United States because I passed the most important job training bill in our history, and I know Margaret Thatcher personally. Are there any questions?"
"We have an explosive situation in the Middle East, Mr. President. The Iraqis and Iranians want to resume fighting. And if that isn't bad enough, Poland is boiling over, Africa is being devastated by locusts, and Pinochet in Chile is rounding up the usual suspects again. What should we do?"
"Calvin Coolidge wasn't any older when he faced a similar situation."
"With all due respect, sir, you're not Calvin Coolidge."
"That was really uncalled for."
"What action do you want us to take?"
"I'm going to relate a story that has prepared me for a moment such as this. I tell it at job training centers and high schools and to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. My grandmother once said to me, `You can do anything you want to, if you just set your mind to it and go to work.'
"I guess that should take care of the problems we face today, sir."
"I am no younger than Checkers was when he moved into the White House."
"You're no Checkers."
"Will you cut that out!"