Dan Quayle never became president, but he did boast a small but fanatical base.
It took one epic miscue – misspelling the word “potato” – for comics to label President George H.W. Bush’s Vice President a dunce. Quayle made matters worse by sharing a few less than wise sound bites during his tenure as VP.
It’s happening again with Vice President Kamala Harris, but this time the comedy world is standing down.
Kamala Harris speaks like she has to hit a word limit on a high school paper she’s done no research for. pic.twitter.com/m6DDUIQG5g
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) March 31, 2022
You couldn’t blame comedians for seizing and/or pouncing on Quayle’s miscues, but the potato incident forever stained his political life.
“It was more than a gaffe. It was a ‘defining moment’ of the worst imaginable kind. I can’t overstate how discouraging and exasperating the whole event was,” he later wrote in his memoir, “Standing Firm.”
Late night comics teed off on Quayle during his four years in the Bush White House. Quayle gamely chatted about that legacy with one of his comedy critics, David Letterman, back in 1999.
“You’ve got to be nuts to come here,” Letterman cracked during that good-natured exchange, acknowledging how awkward it must be for Quayle to visit “enemy territory.”
Should Harris swing by a late night couch in a decade it won’t be nearly as uncomfortable. So far, mainstream comedians are looking the other way at her comically inept performance.
What are they missing?
We could start with her “stewardship” of the border crisis, which drew heat from both sides of the political aisle. It also led to this embarrassing exchange.
President Biden later turned to Harris to help protect so-called attacks on voting rights, another challenge Harris couldn’t deliver.
Those are political matters, though, and today’s biased comics are loathe to criticize Democrats in disarray.
It’s Harris’ ability to evoke Quayle-isms that should slice through partisan blinders.
That’s a small sample.
How can the late-night TV landscape, let alone “Saturday Night Live,” ignore this much longer? The new late night kid on the block, Greg Gutfeld, is doing no such thing, of course. His barbs aren’t shared and magnified by the press, though.
Another group that isn’t letting these whoppers go without mockery? Social media wiseacres.
They may be rank amateurs without the comic chops of a Kimmel, Colbert or Fallon. They still skewer Harris in ways you’ll never hear on late night TV set.
— Horst De Wermer, DVM, MD, PhD, GED, DDS, MOUSE (@Crapplefratz) March 28, 2022
“I have a word salad that is a salad of words. The words make a salad and the salad is made of words. The salad is words that are a salad.”
— People Are Waking Up!!! (@FelllF) March 23, 2022
A Kamala Harris explanation of what defines a man and woman would be such a word salad that even health nuts would reject it.
— GPA (@Grandpa19622016) March 24, 2022
Embarrassing Harris clips are ricocheting around the digital landscape. At some point the public will recognize her inability to speak coherently in public, assuming she remains in her current position for the next three years.
Vice Presidents may lack traditional power, but they’re fair game for satirists.
Comedians mocked Vice President Mike Pence for his stiff nature and Christian beliefs. Sarah Palin never became Vice President, but comedians excoriated her during and after her unsuccessful White House bid.
Can late-night propagandists keep ignoring Harris and her word salad regime, not to mention that cackle? They’ve done exactly that so far.
When will the comedy damn break?