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Outlook: Dan Quayle on the tea party, Palin and Ross Perot

Dan Quayle
Former vice president
Monday, April 5, 2010; 12:00 PM

Former vice president Dan Quayle was online Monday, April 5, at Noon ET to discuss his Outlook article, Don't let the tea party go Perot.

Dan Quayle served as the 44th vice president of the United States, from 1989 to 1993. He is chairman of Cerberus Global Investments.

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Dan Quayle: Let's go.

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Silver Spring, Md.: In principle, I agree with the Tea Party's position on lower taxes and less government. However, the majority of teabaggers are refugees from what is perceived as a "wayward" Republican party that abandoned conservative principles under Bush. As such, they believe in many ideological Republican issues such as being anti-abortion, anti-drugs (for example, legalized marijuana) and pro-religion in public life, among other things.

How should/will the Tea Party market itself to mainstream America to garner support from people who agree with the "smaller government is good" mantra while not turning off people who are not conservative on social issues? So far they simply seem to avoid the isssue...

Dan Quayle: The tea party activists I have met are not social conservatives.They believe in limited government and are strong on national security issues.

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Baton Rouge, La.: Vice-President Quayle,

In your editorial in The Post, you cited Bobby Jindal as an example of candidate with "serious" reform experience. Louisiana has gone from having a budget surplus to a multi-billion-dollar deficit in the short tenure of Gov. Jinal's time in office. As a resident of Louisiana, please explain to me and others how the positive leadership and reforms instituted by Gov. Jindal are examples to better serve our nation at large. Thank you.

Dan Quayle: These are very difficult times for states. Gov. Jindal is doing an excellent job under dire economic circumstances. He has many reforms that the Republican Party should embrace.

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Manassas, Va.: When is it okay to support a third party when one is totally disgusted with the two major ones? With your logic, both major parties will never be able to be replaced.

Dan Quayle: The two-party system has served America very well. We always have political movements one way or another but the evolution of a lasting third party probably will not happen.

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Laurel, Md.: Many political compromises are ultimately worked out by raising taxes on people not yet born or too young to vote (i.e., running deficits). President Reagan did it; and Bill Clinton almost ended it after facing Mr. Perot twice.

Can either or both of the two parties really avoid running deficits without someone outside their system to upset the apple cart?

Dan Quayle: It will come within the party structure and probably take a divided government to accomplish real bipartisanship.

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New York, N.Y.: What would be your thoughts of a third party movement led by Michael Bloomberg?

Dan Quayle: He would be good. he needs to return to the Republican Party.

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Leesburg, Va.: Why do you think the anti-health-care reform/tea party protests seemed to take on racist overtones?

Dan Quayle: Not true. Their opponents are trying to say this which simply can't be documented.

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Pittsburgh, Pa.: Butler or Duke?

Dan Quayle: My son graduated from Duke and Coach K is a friend and an all-world coach. However, Ihave to go with Butler and their coach from Depauw whereI graduated many years ago. Gene Hackman needs to sit behind the butler bench tonight.

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New Braunfels, Tex.: From a fellow displaced Hoosier: Do you think a third party could field candidates at a local level election, gain momentum with city/county victories, and go on to buck the two party system and/or replace one of the existing parties?

Dan Quayle: No.

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Kansas City, Mo.: In your column you credit Perot for the 1992 GOP loss but if you look at the numbers, state by state, the GOP would have had to get two-thirds, not just a majority, of Perot voters to win, and then it would have been a 2000 style squeaker. I've run the numbers and if Clinton-Gore got any more than around 33 percent of Perot voters in each state they still win. 2000 would have been a better example of a third party candidate harming a major party candidate.

Dan Quayle: Nader was the spoiler in Forida in 2000. If Perot was not on the ballot we would have won in 1992. There is no debate on this issue within our campaign.

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D.C. Metro area: Hi Mr. Quayle -- thank you for taking questions.

Do you really think that a third party option would only take votes away from the GOP? What happens if it is a real third party and it dominates the GOP? Don't you think that with the GOP being so behind the times (old white men) and the Dems just taking over everything (huge government influx)that a new party (more independent/libertarian) would be a good avenue for the people who are truly disenfranchised? People in the country are fed up, scared, angry and generally teed off at the elected people in congress, etc., because they won't listen to us.

Dan Quayle: Congress clearly is not listening. Yes my party needs to expand the base and especially be more active in recruiting more Latinos and women.

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Princeton, N.J.: It seems to me that there are two problems facing the tea partiers. The first is the violent, hateful words that party extremists aim at other Americans, which, I think, you properly condemn. The second is the absence of any alternative solutions to various problems rather than simply saying no. President Reagan didn't just block Democratic tax policies, he propounded his own, simpler, more attractive tax rates. I haven't seen a tea party approach to joblessness, the housing crisis, the banking crisis, or health care. Can either or both of these problems be addressed?

Dan Quayle: Right now they are extremely concerned about the power grab of their government. It is the old saying they love their country but fear their government.

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Harrisburg, Pa.: Have you considered a return to elected politics? Which, related to the first question, are you now in Arizona? Would you consider running for office there or would you consider returning to Indiana (if you left) and getting reinvolved in electoral politics there?

Dan Quayle: Ihave lived in Arizona since 1996. Iactually grew up in Arizona and moved back to Indiana when Iwas a junior in high school. My son ben is now running for Congress. It is time for the next generation to step up and clean up the mess in Washington.

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Sanibel, Fla.: Why doesn't the Republican Party work with Obama? As a moderate Republican, I feel abandoned. The so-called tea partiers are seemingly motivated by a desire to see Obama fail, not by a desire to see America succeed. The Republican party's embrace of the tea partiers' ill-informed rants ("death panels" and "socialism") and ugly racism is frightening to behold. Am I incensed by having to pay increased taxes as a result of health-care reform? Yes; I and my family are going to pay dearly. But how can I support a Republican Party that abjectly failed to engage in a constructive debate to ensure that we would end up with better health-care reform legislation? Making Obama look bad is not a constructive agenda even if, in the short run, it wins some seats in Congress.

Dan Quayle: TheObama administration played the media and the Republicans very effectively. Obama said he wanted bipartisanship but never compromised. There were real reforms on an incremental basis that could have had strong support from both sides of the aisle.TheRepublicans won't get their voice until their nominee surfaces in 2012.

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RE: Next Generation: Who do you see as the leaders of the GOP as we move into mid-term elections and into 2012?

Dan Quayle: As we look to 2012 the names Isee are Mitch Daniels, Mitt Romney, John Thune and Bobby Jndal. There are others who may emerge. you should watch the governor races in 2010 for possible contenders.

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On being VP: In your experience and observations over the years, do you think "running mate" and "vice president" can be reconciled? Skills for the former do not necessarily translate to the latter. How would you advise, in just a few words, a future commander-in-chief when it comes to prospects of (a) being elected and then (b) serving and (c) safeguarding a mandated (elected) future?

Dan Quayle: There are two essential requirements from my perspective on being the VP. First is qualifications to become president and second is to be loyal to the president. the most challenging aspect of VP office is to appreciate that the agenda you are advancing is not yours but the president's.

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Phoneix, Ariz.: Who should Arizona Republicans vote for for Senator, John McCain or J.D. Hayworth, and why should we vote that way?

Dan Quayle: Iam really focused on my son Ben's campaign for Congress in Congressional District 3. Pease help him.

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Charleston, S.C.: Tiger Woods or the field? Do you still play to a single digit handicap?

Dan Quayle: The field.

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Dan Quayle: Thanks. Chat with you soon.

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