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OPINION

Dan Quayle: Evidence of a Double Standard

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Whenever I'm in a debate regarding left-wing media bias, I find it useful to mention the treatment of Vice President Dan Quayle as opposed to the treatment of Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden by members of the Fourth Estate.

While Gore made statements that bordered on the absurd -- he claimed he created the Internet -- the liberal establishment even now heaps praise and accolades upon him, including an Academy Award for his documentary on global warming.

Arguing with Idiots By Glenn Beck

In the latest Democrat administration, Vice President Joe Biden provides chuckles galore for news people, but they continue to herald him -- the man talk host Mark Levin called "The Dumbest Man in the Senate" -- as a gifted politician and statesman.

But Dan Quayle will always be tied to a single event that hurt his political career: the misspelling of the word 'potato.' To this day, those paragons of truth and accuracy still snicker at the mention of Quayle's name.

The office of the vice president was created at the constitutional convention in 1787. The vice president has two official duties according to the Constitution: To preside over the Senate, however the vice president is not allowed to engage in the debate, nor vote unless there is a tie; and to assume the presidency in the event of the death, resignation, removal or incapacitation of the president.

Initially, the person who received the second highest electoral vote for president became vice president. The flaw in this system became evident in 1800 when Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr each received 73 electoral votes. Congress adopted the 12th Amendment to the Constitution in 1804 which provided for separate ballots for the two offices and defined under what circumstances the vice president would become president.

Fourteen times in history has the vice president become president. Eight upon the previous president's death. Only five were elected in their own right and one -- Gerald Ford -- took over upon the resignation of the president.

An attorney from Huntington, Indiana, James Danforth Quayle spent four years in the House of Representatives followed by eight years in the Senate before being chosen by George H. W. Bush as his vice presidential candidate.

During the Bush-Quayle campaign, detractors spoke of Quayle's lack of experience and youth. Twelve years in the U.S. Congress did not seem enough experience for a man seeking the Vice Presidency in those days. Yet, today a man with but two years in Congress as a Senator now sits in the Oval Office.

To be fair, there are actually two sides to Quayle's vice presidency: the public perception, largely gained through ongoing disputes with the media and the dutiful vice president who accomplished more than most realize.

Like it or not, Vice President Dan Quayle was an active member of the Bush Administration, especially in foreign relations.

The young VP visited more than 45 foreign countries during his term in office, especially in trouble spots in South America and Asia. He was especially involved behind the scenes during the Gulf War when US forces pushed the Iraqis out of Kuwait. While the American media ridiculed and marginalized Dan Quayle, to the Kuwaiti people he was a hero and a savior along with his boss George H.W. Bush.

Within the domestic policy arena, Vice President Quayle is remembered by conservatives for championing the family structure, despite receiving ridicule for his stand against a breakdown of values

he saw in television, music and society.

His days of public service over, today Quayle lives in Paradise Valley, Arizona and works as an investment banker in Phoenix. He continues to espouse the importance of education and family through his Dan Quayle Center and Museum located in Huntington, Indiana. The impressive facility features information on Quayle and all U.S. vice presidents.

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