To welcome in 2006, I thought it might be fun (as one radio host suggested) to take a look back at all of our Quotes of the Year from the Best of Notable Quotables of the Year, all the worst, dumbest, and most bizarre quotes of each particular year. First, a look at the four years of President Bush Number One.
Iran-Contra Hangover, 1989: "For the most part, the Nicaraguan Contras burned villages and murdered civilians. On behalf of their cause, Reagan sold out his oath of office and subverted the Constitution....Oliver North presented himself as the immortal boy in the heroic green uniform of Peter Pan. Although wishing to be seen as a humble patriot, the colonel's testimony showed him to be a treacherous and lying agent of the national security state, willing to do anything asked of him by a President to whom he granted the powers of an Oriental despot." -- Harper's Editor Lewis Lapham narrating his PBS series America's Century, November 28.
Berlin Wall Nostalgia, 1990: "Few tears will be shed over the demise of the East German army, but what about East Germany's eighty symphony orchestras, bound to lose some subsidies, or the whole East German system, which covered everyone in a security blanket from day care to health care, from housing to education? Some people are beginning to express, if ever so slightly, nostalgia for that Berlin Wall." -- CBS reporter Bob Simon on the March 16 Evening News.
Cannibal Killers, Society's Fault, 1991: "There is a `logic' too to Dahmer's crime. Raised in a culture that condoned racial prejudice and despised homosexuals, Dahmer appeared to believe he could preserve a place in mainstream society -- with all its furtive hopes of family, friends, and future -- by destroying the evidence of his homosexuality. He killed his 'lovers' -- mostly blacks -- dismembered them, and in some cases, may have devoured their remains. Crime is a logical, if messy, quick fix to the shortcomings of society. Is that the lesson then? That we get the criminals our societies deserve? Yes, of course."-- Time Associate Editor Howard G. Chua-Eoan in the magazine's "Essay," August 19.
Embarrassing Lack of American Death, 1992: "Greenpeace, the public interest organization, believes that the Iraqi death toll, civilian and military, before and after the war, may be as high as 198,000. Allied military dead are counted in the low hundreds. The disparity is huge and somewhat embarrassing. And that's commentary for this evening, Tom." -- NBC commentator John Chancellor, March 12 Nightly News.