The 1988 United States Presidential Election occurred when I was nine years old, and it was one of the first political stories I remember following in the newspapers. And one of the easiest things to understand about that story was the duncishness of the vice presidential nominee, Dan Quayle. He made many gaffes on the campaign trail, and in the ensuing years, he would continue to make a number of statements that were either garbled, factually inaccurate, or silly. Quayle's malpropisms would cease to be a focus, especially as the Bush administration became marked by the first Iraq War and later the deepening recession. Dan Quayle, together with George Bush, would leave office on January 20, 1993.
Getting voted out of office is a normal hazard of political life, but Dan Quayle was still a young man at the time (45 years old, which seems pretty young to me now!), and he had the experience of serving, as the cliches go, a heartbeat away from being the most powerful man in the world. What happened to Dan Quayle after that event?
The updates on Dan Quayle are that there are no updates. He made a desultory attempt in the 2000 Republican Primary and served on some corporate boards. He has not transformed into an elder statesman of the Republican Party. He did not undergo a sudden conversion, or at least transformation, and advocate for any new policies or ideas. He also didn't strengthen his ideology or say or do anything new in it, despite writing a book about family values or something. He didn't even take up a second career or hobby or do something mildly pleasant and apolitical. He hasn't become the spokesperson for a noted charity. He wasn't appointed to anything during the administration of George W Bush, even though he probably would have made a fine Ambassador to the Netherlands. In other words, Dan Quayle has pretty much disappeared from noteworthiness in the 26 years since he left office.
The story about Dan Quayle was never that he didn't know how to spell potato, which is a trivial matter. The story about Dan Quayle is that he just didn't and doesn't really have any substance at all.