The Book: Ross and Kathryn Petras, THE STUPIDEST THINGS EVER SAID BY POLITICIANS. Pocket Books paperback, 1999. Very good condition; pages are slightly brown with age.
First read: 1999
Owned since: 1999
This book was a gift at my going-away party when I left Washington, DC for Los Angeles. I think Brian Cook gave it to me, but I could be wrong; if you remember giving it to me, Brian or anyone else, speak up. In any case, thank you, because it's still quite entertaining.
It's the sort of book you'd almost need to publish a new edition of every year, sad to say. This one is heavy on quotations from Vice President Dan Quayle -- who never, by the way, said anything about them speaking Latin in Latin America. (It's time to retire that joke. I recently saw the false quotation attributed to our current President, which is just plain lazy when the man's said plenty of stupider things that are easily accessible with a Google search.)
Anyway, although some of the politicians here have faded into memory (does anyone remember Rep. James Traficant, the man with the worst toupee in Washington? Is he still in jail?), the quotations are still funny. And it's worth remembering that Pat Buchanan, for instance, who now has a great career as everyone's favorite curmudgeonly pundit, once advocated putting homeless people in jail because "I don't think we should have to have them wandering the streets frightening women and people." (Note the distinction between "women" and "people.")
The one thing this book lacks is an index; I've just spent the last several minutes flipping through the book looking for my favorite quotation from former DC Mayor Marion Barry. After several major snowfalls in the winter of 1996, a reporter asked him what his snow removal plan was. The Mayor smiled and said, "Spring."
We got at least 11 inches here in Gardiner yesterday, but fortunately the plans up here are a little more sophisticated. And I have a shovel of my own...