You thought he had receded into the bowels of history, relegated to the proverbial footnotes of our politics. Indeed, Dan, of "potatoe" fame, has passed into the relative obscurity of Phoenix sprawlurbia – and yet, the Quayle name lives on ...
Behold, the second iteration, Ben Quayle.
Quayle 2.0 is honoring the spirit of his father's career, kicking up controversy in his campaign for the Republican nod in Arizona's third congressional district. Forgive me if I appear too quick to let the gaffes of the father reflect on the son. It's just that … well … George H. W. Bush has been holding fundraisers on his behalf, and the elder Quayle announced Ben's candidacy on Fox News, and political dynasties are just lame. Quayle made headlines with a campaign ad (answered by Chicago comedy troupe The Second City), in which he threatens to employ his shoulderless physique in knocking the hell out of Washington, D.C., and teaches we the ignorant that Barack Obama is the worst president in history.
Learning this apparently irrefutable fact left me shocked and dismayed; all this time I had thought that the worst president in history was Richard Milhous Nixon (lies about Vietnam escalation, Watergate, smearing of Daniel Ellsberg, being a dick in general), or Ulysses S. Grant (outrageous corruption and the seeds of the Gilded Age), or Andrew "Old Hickory" Jackson (defying the Supreme Court, Trail(s) of Tears), or John Tyler (opportunist veto-happy turncoat), or even the president whose death elevated Tyler to the office, William Harrison, who delivered the longest inaugural address in history on a cold, wet day, got pneumonia, and died after just 31 days in office. Quitter.
Ben Quayle may be following in his father's footsteps, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and son are walking hand in hand – at least they were back when Rory still had a last name. While his career-politician father battles actual-crazy-person Sharron Angle for his political life, Rory has made the tactical decision to break the fifth commandment, dropping his dad's (and, not incidentally, his own) last name from his campaign ads. For example, in this commercial, made by a gaggle of (literally) incredibly precocious children, Rory decided to change his last name to 2010.
Also see this genuinely funny Rory-takedown from the genuinely unfunny Republican Governors Association.
And for dessert, check out this truly awesome and almost dance-worthy song for Clint Didier, Republican primary candidate for U.S. Senate in Washington state. The former NFL player's campaign tune includes the charming non sequitur, "Grew up on a farm, I love liberty, learned to work hard, and I bled to live free," delivered, without irony, by some dude who is definitely not the non-veteran Clint Didier. Didier lost, but had coveted Tea Party support and the endorsements from Ron Paul and Sarah Palin. Who knows, this song may just be the first installment in the long-overdue invention of the full-length campaign album. Didier 2012!
Also (I can't resist) see this Didier ad, inspired either by spy movies or by Strongbad.
Denver Nicks is a High Country News intern.