Son of Pot, meet Kettle. In the most hilarious irony we’ve encountered thus far this election cycle, none other than Dan “Potatoe” Qualye‘s son, Ben Quayle has unleashed what we think he thinks is a scathing campaign ad about how he’ll shake things up in Washington. (Ben) Quayle, who’s running for Congress in Arizona’s 3rd district, opens the spot by telling the camera “Barack Obama is the worst president in history,” and proceeds to announce that someone (presumably a pedigreed young Republican like himself), needs to go to Washington and “knock the hell out of the place.” As Time points out, Quayle comes across looking “like a supervillain giving his list of demands.”
Worse, he comes across as ignorant. It’s notoriously difficult to judge a president’s relative quality while he’s in office, particularly inside the first half of his first term. So far Obama’s done nothing approaching the level that it traditionally takes to make it to the bottom of the presidential rankings. The most-frequently cited “worst presidents” are those that got us into the Civil War (Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan) and the one most credited with bungling reconstruction and giving rise to the “Jim Crow” south (Andrew Johnson). Also in most “worst” lists (including this one from Siena College and this one from C-SPAN) are Warren G. “Return to Normalcy” Harding, who was noted for his corrupt cabinet, and George W. Bush, who got us involved in not one, but two unpopular wars. Needless to say, it seems like Obama has his work cut out for him if he’s to join this esteemed bunch.
Former Vice President (and father of Ben) Dan Quayle had already done his work though, ranking as the 14th worst Vice President in history, according to this Time ranking, which notes his penchant for verbal blunders and his performance on the receiving end of Lloyd Bentsen’s 1988 VP debate beatdown. Fourteenth place puts Dan Quayle just behind bribe recipient Spiro Agnew and ahead of waterboarding supporter and tortue advocate Dick Cheney.
Hopefully his father’s fame as one of the worst Vice Presidents in history won’t dissuade Ben from reaching for the stars (so far it seems it hasn’t). If he runs a solid campaign this fall he’s well on his way to becoming, at worst, the 4th best Representative of Arizona’s 3rd district of all time, provided he can avoid shooing any burros.