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Monday, February 23, 2004

NYT Op-Ed Contributor: Quayle, Reconsidered

But in the current furor about George W. Bush's military record it seems to be taken for granted that Mr. Bush got into the so-called Champagne unit of the Texas Air National Guard through influence. The stories begin by saying he was jumped over a 500-man waiting list. Then they quickly go on to investigate the details of his sojourn in Alabama. Using influence to get into the guard and therefore out of Vietnam is no longer disqualifying for "sons of the powerful"; it's assumed. Or could it be that Dan Quayle is judged by stricter standards than other politicians?

That possibility makes it worth taking another look at his academic record. When Mr. Quayle finally authorized the indirect release of his marks, for a long Washington Post profile by Bob Woodward and David Broder — a profile, I should mention, that was much more favorable than people had expected — it turned out that he'd had a C+ average. George W. Bush had a straight C. Dick Cheney flunked out of Yale twice. Nobody accuses them of not being able to spell potato. I bring up these matters not to embarrass the president and the vice president. They have enough embarrassments as it is. But fair's fair.

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