Much in the way that the first hit off a crack pipe is always free, the New Republic, which earlier this month instituted a paywall subscription plan for current and all archival print content (much like Harper’s and the New Yorker), has been offering up killer ledes from their archives, certain that you’ll be back, wallet open, for more.
Like this one, from Halloween of 1988, in which former New Republic editor (and current New Yorker commenter) Hendrik Hertzberg sizes up the then-imminent next Vice President of the United States, Dan Quayle:
Despite his pee-pants performance in the Omaha debate against Lloyd Bentsen, it looks as if Dan Quayle, 41, will be president one of these days. Consider the politico-actuarial probabilities. Assuming the Republican lead endures, the junior senator from Indiana will be elected vice president. This alone will give him an even chance of becoming president. Three out of the last five presidents were vice president first. Seven out of the last ten vice presidents have ended up heading a national ticket, and four (five if you presumptively count George Bush) got all the way to the Oval Office. Of this century’s vice presidents Quayle’s age, all became president. Admittedly, the sample is small: T. Roosevelt, vice president at 42 in 1901, and R. Nixon, vice president at 40 in 1953, Still, makes you think, doesn’t it?
Vice President Quayle is sure to make his move sooner or later. Maybe later—skinny Yankees like Bush are notoriously long-lived. But maybe sooner. Life is a fragile thing. We live in a hazardous world, A lot of things can happen. Let’s say it’s next April, and President Bush is out having a brisk springtime sail off Kennebunkport, Maybe he gets his tie caught in the jam cleat. Or maybe, just maybe, he doesn’t hear the cry of “Hard to lee!” when the boom sweeps over the deck. Suddenly—bonk! splash!—a vacancy occurs, and J. Danforth Quayle III, maybe still dressed in his lime green golf pants, putter in hand, standing at the club bar, takes the oath of office as the 42nd president of the United States.
The full contents of this article are available to subscribers with archive access only.
Oh shit oh shit oh shit. Any of you guys want to lend me $30 so I can get fixed up with a few more paragraphs? I don’t want this feeling to end.