President Quayle

May 06, 1991

President George Bush's energetic and ebullient natural manner is generally so reassuring that often it is hard to remember that he is, after all, nearing 67 years of age.

His sudden attack of irregular heartbeat late Saturday underscores this fact, and for a time it appeared the condition might be serious enough to warrant an electroshock procedure that would require relinquishment of the presidency, if only for a few hours, to Vice President Dan Quayle. Now, that procedure has been ruled out, at least for the time being.

With all Americans, we hope that the president's condition returns to its normal excellent state quickly. But the episode nonetheless brought a political electroshock to the nation as citizens momentarily pondered the potential reality of "President Quayle."

It is a hard reality that in more than two years in office, Quayle simply has been unable to overcome the low level of confidence which the American people place in him. Only last week a Time magazine poll indicated that two-thirds of Americans felt Quayle was "unqualified" to be president. Only 19 percent pronounced him to be "qualified."

We trust that President Bush's excellent health will be restored soon. But we also trust that this episode will lead him to seriously assess whether Quayle is the right person to stand "one heartbeat away from the presidency" for six more years.

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