Quayle on Kosovo
Jude Wanniski
April 19, 1999


Memo To: Sen. Judd Gregg [R-NH]
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Quayle Stands Apart

You may have missed former Vice President Dan Quayle's appearance on CNN's Evans&Novak program on Saturday, so I write commending it to you. Your own appearance on Sunday's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer also was impressive, in your forcefulness in speaking out against the NATO bombing campaign in Yugoslavia. Because Quayle is the only Republican presidential candidate with a serious chance of becoming the party's nominee in 2000 who has called for a ceasefire and renewed negotiations with Belgrade, he has to be the rallying point around which a coalition must be built. Otherwise, all the disparate congressional voices of opposition will be ignored by the War Party led by Bill Clinton and Al Gore, or they will be picked off one at a time, as happened to your GOP Senate colleague from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum. Yes, your New Hampshire Senate colleague Bob Smith, who also is running for the GOP nomination, has come out against this insane war, and so has Pat Buchanan. But I submit they are not taken seriously as candidates likely to go up against Al Gore next year, which means the Commander-in-chief can ignore them. The same goes for Rep. John Kasich, who is making his first try and who has no foreign policy experience. In her "Editorial Observer" column on the NYTimes editorial page today, Gail Collins writes sketchily about the views of all the candidates and gets Quayle's position wrong. She does tag Gore's only opponent for the Democratic nomination, former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, for his "terseness, vagueness and grumpiness.." She quotes Bradley as having "serious questions about our policy," and is worried about "becoming bogged down in a quagmire."

Elizabeth Dole, of course, reflects her husband's hawkish view of the war and is ready to send in ground troops, as she made clear Sunday on This Week with Sam&Cokie. Steve Forbes has gone around the bend on this issue, seeing himself as Winston Churchill and Milosevic as Adolph Hitler. Senator John McCain, a pit bull who stands no chance of winning the GOP nomination, is of course competing with Forbes on who can be the scariest in playing with live ammo. George W. Bush leads Gore by some astronomical number in the polling match-ups, but the Texas Governor still is being taught what he thinks on this subject by his father's friends, who are all Bombers. By the time he is prepared to say anything that matters, we will have ground troops shooting bullets at Serbs and anything else that moves, and NATO will be committed fully for the duration of the Clinton administration. Yes, Quayle still is being portrayed as a clown by the Political Establishment because he is a populist they don't trust, with his persistent attacks on the their playtoy, the International Monetary Fund. But Quayle has been vice president and knows the foreign-policy games that are played. On this issue, at least, he has been joined by Jack Kemp, who sent him a three-page memo on Kosovo two weeks ago that is now circulating on Capitol Hill. I'm trying to get a copy of the memo now that Quayle has mentioned it favorably on the CNN show, in which case I will send you a copy and even post it here for my website fans and followers.

Meanwhile, please take a look at the show's transcript. Quayle may be able to fill the leadership void in the GOP that has existed since the Reagan presidency. Both George Bush and Bob Dole were organization candidates, representing the party elite as opposed to its rank and file. He's already said he would ask Kemp to be his Treasury Secretary and has publicly stated he would choose a man like General Colin Powell as his Secretary of State. By the way, I sure wish Powell would say something about the abyss into which we are sliding. He's known to oppose the bombing campaign and the enterprise in general, but is staying mum even as the craziest of the Bombers invoke his name and the "Powell Doctrine" in urging that overwhelming force be used against Yugoslavia in order to rescue the credibility of NATO. Maybe if enough of a crowd gathers around the Quayle/Kemp banner, Powell will show up too. It would be a good thing, Senator, if you helped round up a crowd. Only critical mass can stop this madness.