Memo To: Political Writers
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: The Quayle Campaign
I've read a great many commentaries on the Iowa "Straw Poll" last weekend, almost all of which noted that in finishing eighth in the field, Dan Quayle was almost certain to be the next candidate to drop out after Lamar Alexander, who finished sixth. In not one place did I see it explained that Quayle only decided to do the silly straw poll -- where "voters" are given $25 ballots bought by the candidates -- when George W. Bush decided he could not afford to pass up the event. I've seen "distinguished" political columnists write that Quayle had six years to plan for the event, and could do no better than eighth, and Bush had only a month! How many of you even know that the total amount of money a candidate is allowed to spend in Iowa if they choose to accept federal matching funds is $1.3 million. Quayle budgeted $50,000 for the straw poll, knowing every dollar he spent there would be money he could not spend when the caucuses are held at the end of January five months from now. Bush, who is not dependent upon matching funds because he is the organization candidate and can raise all he needs via the organization, spent almost $50,000 just to rent the tent space at the Ames fair grounds. The state GOP organization sent its regular party workers to Ames from all over the state to cast ballots for Bush. He didn't need more than a week to come in first! At that, he got only 31% of the total cast, a number that is normally associated with the party's base. He apparently did not get that extra1% as a result of his dynamic attraction. Forbes, meanwhile, spent three years in Iowa and $4000 per vote in collecting voters to attend. Bush and Forbes can still spend several million each in the actual caucuses, while Quayle is limited to $1.3 million, minus the $50,000 spent last weekend.
By my lights, Quayle is the best candidate in the field. Steve Forbes is more solidly grounded in economics than Quayle, but Quayle is much better on foreign policy. I would vote for either of them over Bush, and I only would vote for Bush if he were matched against Al Gore. I'd prefer Bill Bradley to Bush, not because Bush is a bad person, but because he is owned lock, stock and barrel by the political establishment. He is a creation of the establishment, which picked him as their man because it knows it can control him. He may think he has a mind of his own, but he clearly does not. He is being taught how to be President on the run, by establishment intellectuals who are determined to preserve the status quo. That's fine for the guys at the top of the pyramid, but for the rest of the world, which must have change in order to survive, the status quo is deadly.
Quayle's campaign chairman, Kyle McSlarrow, sent the following memo to Quayle supporters, who read the papers and think that they must have made a mistake, if the "distinguished" political columnists have decided Quayle ain't got it. You might dismiss McSlarrow's comments as "spin" for a dead candidate, but before you get deeper into making a personal, career investment in that decision -- developing a vested interest in his defeat -- give yourself a chance to understand what really happened in Ames.
From: Kyle McSlarrow, National Chairman
To: Quayle 2000 Supporters
Date: Tuesday, August 17, 1999
In light of the Iowa Straw Poll, I wanted to apprise you of how the campaign is proceeding toward our ultimate goal: the election of Dan Quayle as president. As we told everyone within listening distance for weeks before Ames, our work in Iowa this month was designed to build an organization. Our campaign rejected the idea of spending huge sums of money in order to "place" in an arbitrary pecking order. And while some in the media may not understand that strategy, no one can fail to recognize that Dan Quayle is twice the fighter of anyone in the field. A few things to consider:
The Straw Poll was not an election. It was a vote-buying exercise. The rank order of the candidates significantly corresponded with the order of candidate expenditures. We spent about $50,000 as compared to the millions spent by Bush and Forbes and the hundreds of thousands spent by the other "top-tier" finishers. Even for the poorer candidates, they threw everything they had at the Straw Poll because they regarded it as "make or break." We didn't. The "winners" spent $400 per vote. That is an embarrassment.
We decided to participate in this only as part of an effort to identify Quayle supporters for the Iowa caucuses held early in 2000. We succeeded in identifying thousands, who will now be wrapped into our grassroots organization. The Quayle supporters who came did so solely because they believe in him. Not because someone promised them an air-conditioned tent and a bag of gifts. Not because Dan Quayle filled their mailboxes with flyers.
Every campaign that takes federal matching funds -- which means every campaign other than the Bush and Forbes campaigns -- faces a legal limit of $1.3 million in total spending in Iowa. The Quayle campaign will spend that limit, but we refused to spend it on something that is not even an election. We will spend it in the run-up to the real caucus vote in January, when it counts.
We have thousands of people ready to work for Dan Quayle in Iowa. The people who came to Ames to vote for Dan Quayle in the Straw Poll are not soft, casual supporters. They are die-hard, long-term believers in Vice President Quayle and his message. A week ago, we didn't know for sure who those supporters were. Now we know them, we've met them, and we've signed them up to help.
Regardless of where Dan Quayle finishes in any poll, we must not forget that he is the only one who can go all the way. There are three required ingredients for a Republican to win the White House: (1) The candidate must clearly differentiate himself from the Democrats on the issues. When the GOP blurs together with the Democrats at the mythical "center", then we lose the White House. Every time. (2) The candidate must have the experience of elected office. The American people simply do not hand the White House to someone as their first office. Eisenhower proved himself on the battlefield at D-Day -- he's the exception that proves the rule. (3) A successful GOP nominee must unify the party, which means unifying the economic, social, and national-security conservatives, as Ronald Reagan did, while attracting Democrats.
When I called Vice President Quayle on Saturday night with the Straw Poll results, he did not hesitate for one second in anger or disappointment. Instead, his response was simple: "Let's get up tomorrow and keep up the fight." He already was in New Hampshire at the time, ready to go to work on Sunday in that other key state, and was greeted by hundreds of enthusiastic supporters.
Our job now is to build Dan Quayle's Iowa and New Hampshire organizations. As part of that effort, we will undergo a major reorganization in order to achieve that goal. The Straw Poll will be a two-day newspaper story. It's over and soon will be forgotten. What will not be forgotten is the excitement and goodwill generated this summer by Dan and Marilyn's 65-town tour of Iowa. We have a strong base to build on.
We have already received many messages with ideas about where to bring the Quayles and who to get on board. This is exactly what needs to be done. Each of you is an ambassador for Dan Quayle. Spread the word about his message and experience. Recruit new supporters. We'll be in touch with key volunteers individually, and we're ready to talk about new ideas any time.
Call. Write. Send e-mails.
As I told our Iowa staff last Saturday night, we are not supporting Vice President Quayle for the money, or because he is the frontrunner. We are supporting him because America needs his leadership. We knew it would be tough and uphill, and we are making great progress. That's the real story, and the one you should pass on to your friends.
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Please feel free to forward this to your friends and neighbors.
Join the Quayle 21st Century Club ... and recruit 10 of your friends:
As we prepare to enter the 21st century, we have started a 21st Century Club for everyday Americans who are committed to our country. It's easy to join. For most folks, $50 or $100 is too much to consider giving to a presidential campaign. Instead, we're asking you to consider giving $21.00 and recruiting 10 of your friends or family members to do the same. Our website outlines the details of the 21st Century Club and provides the membership form. You can link directly there. (www.quayle.org/21club/21club.html) Your support will help in two ways; first, you will enable us to continue communicating the Quayle message to the American people; and, second, you will help build the largest grassroots organization in America.