Thursday, January 21, 2010

Debatable moments 

It's interesting that references to members of the Kennedy family figured prominently in two of the more memorable moments in televised political debates over the last quarter- century.

The first moment was the Quayle-Bentsen debate in 1988, which was the undercard of the Bush-Dukakis election that year.

That resonated in popular culture for years, including a reference by Seinfeld's George Costanza:
George: So then, as we were leaving, we were just kind of standing there, and she was sort of smiling at me, and I wasn't sure if she wanted me to ask her out, because when women smile at me I don't know what it means. Sometimes I interpret it like they're Psychotic or something and I don't know if I'm supposed to smile back, I don't know what to do. So I just stood there like - remember how Quayle looked when Benson (sic) gave him that Kennedy line? - that's what I looked like.

Jerry: So you didn't ask?

George: No, I froze.
The second moment took place earlier this month, in the debate between U.S. Senate candidates in the special election in Massachusetts.

The assist for the slam dunk goes not to one of the candidates, but to the moderator, David Gergen.

One debate moment goes to a Democrat, one to a Republican. Both elections went to the Republicans.

Are there other memorable Kennedy reference debate moments we should look at from the past 25 years or so? At some point in time, I would think such references will cease.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 21, 04:27:00 PM:

This isn't Kennedy, but it's the best debate video of recent times (Scott Brown's zinger notwithstanding). Truth to power.  

By Anonymous QuakerCat, at Thu Jan 21, 04:39:00 PM:

By the way, what the hell happened to David Gergen? What a complete weenie he has become. I cannot even begin to imagine that he was in the Regan, Nixon, Ford White House for all of those years. Granted he probably spent too much time with the Clintonites and his new role at Harvard probably forces him to act the way he does so he can hang out with the cool kids, but where are your nuts man?

By the way, his book "Eyewitness to Power" is still one of the best political books I have ever read. Unfortunately, if he were to write that today, it would not be worth even glancing at it...  

By Blogger SR, at Thu Jan 21, 09:34:00 PM:

As one who is so often thinking, if only I had said....
I think it is remarkable that Scott Brown came up with that answer without missing a beat. I wonder if he had been campaigning with that line before the debate/ If that is so, what a tool Gergen is for walking into it.  

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