Dan Quayle

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    Dan Quayle, official DoD photo.JPEG
    "In Ayn Rand's wonderful book "Atlas Shrugged", the main question throughout the book is "Who is John Galt?" The question everyone now is asking is, "Who is Dan Quayle?"
    —Reporter in a newspaper article for the New Orleans Times Picayune
    I stand by all the misstatements that I've made.
    —Dan Quayle

    Dan Quayle was the otherwise forgettable vice president of the first President Bush, George Herbert Walker Bush. Originally a senator from Indiana, he became well known after George Bush named him as his running mate. Most famous for essentially being a non-entity catapulted into the spotlight, and for making several Malaproper and/or misinformed remarks; the most common caricature of him is essentially as politics' Ralph Wiggum.

    Noteworthy appearances of Dan Quayle in fact and fiction:
    • He famously was judging a spelling bee and told a child who had gotten the answer correct that it was wrong, then proceeded to "correct" them to the wrong version. That this was a single incident in which Quayle was reading from an answer card prepared by a teacher was irrelevant - he quickly became forever known as the man who spelled it "potatoe".
    • Quayle made a comment in which he claimed that the show Murphy Brown was disreputable because of its positive portrayal of a professional woman who chose to be a single mother. The show's producers responded by airing an episode in which Murphy dealt with the criticism, featured several real-life single parents, and generally took the high road in dealing with the speech (both in terms of the fictional character and the show itself)... until the very end of the episode, when they showed a dump truck backing up to Quayle's official residence and dumping a load of the obvious vegetable.
    • In the vice presidential debate, Quayle compared himself to young John F. Kennedy. A very famous reply by Democratic vice-presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen occurs, where Bentsen said:
    • The nomination of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as Republican vice presidential candidate to John McCain in the 2008 Presidential Campaign raised the issue that Palin may have been yet another Quayle-type candidate, someone brought out of obscurity who wouldn't outshine the presidential candidate. This may have backfired, as Palin not only did just that, but her propensity for misspeaking earned her comparisons to Quayle for a whole different reason.
    • Dave Barry was fond of referring to Quayle as the best security George Bush could have, on the basis that nobody would assassinate Bush if it meant Quayle as president.
      • There was also a common joke that in the event of Bush's death the CIA had standing orders to shoot Quayle immediately.
    • National Space Council chairman Quayle failed astronomy forever: "Mars is essentially in the same orbit [as Earth]....Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe."
      • The thing about that quote is, every single one of those statements is true, From a Certain Point of View. Mars's distance from the sun is similar to Earth's, at least when compared to (say) Mercury or Jupiter. People did think they saw canals on the Martian surface when they first studied it. There is water on Mars, frozen in the permafrost, and water molecules do contain oxygen atoms which can be liberated by electrolysis (and, hence, breathed, without the need to carry your own oxygen supply to Mars from Earth). Presumably, a NASA person told him all this information, and he simply presented it in a fantasically wrong way.
    • In 13, all of the characters go to Dan Quayle Junior High School
      • Home of the Quayle Quails!!
    • Used to terrify Bill the Cat into sweating, producing the core ingredient for cat-sweat hair tonic.

    Milo: (to Bill) "President Quayle!" (to Oliver) "He's sweating."
    Oliver: "I'm sweating."

    • Apparently he lettered the word "ransome" in chapter 12 of The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck.
    • The short-lived 1988 show Mann and Machine set Twenty Minutes Into the Future often made references to 'President Quayle'.
    • There exists a Where's Wally? parody entitled Where's Dan Quayle? which challenges readers to spot Qualye in different locations, including the Republican National Convention and a Palm Springs golf tournament. You can't make this stuff up.
    • A puppet of him made frequent appearences on D.C. Follies.
    • In the TL-191 series by Harry Turtledove, Jake Featherston's Confederate vice-president is an amiable nonentity called Don Partridge, a Shout-Out to Quayle who spends most of his time making up ribald jokes. The last book suggests that his demeanour was at least in part an act, though.
    • In Civilization, he is listed as the worst leader in human history. Worse than Nero!
      • Civ 4 also uses his quote "The future will be better tomorrow" for the technology Future Tech.
    • The Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Washingtoons" had Buster and Babs Bunny seek his help to prevent the Moral Guardian villian from wiping their "toonniness". In this episode, Quayle is portrayed as Stupid Good (though at least there were no "Murphy Brown" or potato jokes).
    • In Fear, Loathing and Gumbo on the Campaign Trail '72, an Alternate History scenario, Quayle is a National Guard sergeant called up to reinforce the army in Vietnam due to the war escalating there again after 1972. He becomes nationally known after first being a war hero yet later leading a mutiny of troops protesting against inhumane treatment.
    • He appeared (somewhat) in an episode of Super Dave's cartoon, when Dave met the President. Quayle acts like a young child throughout the segment...while Dave gives him a piggyback ride.

    Quayle: Horsey, horsey!
    Super Dave: That's enough from you, Mr. Vice President.

    • The Red Dwarf episode Legion mentions several future supergeniuses whose surnames are ironically those of people known in the present for being stupid, including (impressionist Bobby) Davro and (Dan) Quayle.
    • In Donnie Darko the conservative teacher Mrs Farmer announces her intention to vote for Quayle.
    • In the Eerie, Indiana episode "No Brain, No Pain" that came out during the Bush-Quayle years, one character threatens to destroy another character's brain, saying he's about to get "vice-presidential".
    • Near the end of the song "Touch Yourself" by Barnes & Barnes, one of the singers urges another repeat of the chorus with the line, "One more time for Dan Quayle!"