If you are running for office and your name is Ben Quayle ... more precisely, if you're running and you're the son of Dan Quayle ... then you know it's not going to be a smooth journey.
Twelve years in Congress and four more as vice president, Dan Quayle is remembered mostly for the ridicule he took over his "potatoe" gaffe during an infamous 1992 spelling bee. In fact, from the moment presidential candidate George H.W. Bush introduced him to the nation as his running mate in 1988, Quayle became the brunt of relentless mocking, often deserved but not always.
Ben Quayle had to know what he was getting into when he announced his candidacy for an open congressional seat in Arizona's Aug. 24 primary. He never ran for office before and has no real political background, other than his family ties. But with his father's Rolodex, and access to money, he seemed to be in the lead. And he was producing no headlines.
The quiet didn't last long.
The first glitch, which many people went ballistic over, was Quayle's release of a campaign flier in which Ben is seen posing with two young girls, and below is this quote: "My roots in Arizona run deep. My grandparents and great grandparents lived in this district. My parents and all of my siblings live in this district. [Wife] Tiffany and I live in this district and are going to raise our family here."
That's when everyone went berserk. THESE AREN'T HIS CHILDREN! HE DOESN'T HAVE ANY CHILDREN! HE'S FRAUDULENTLY MISREPRESENTING THEM AS HIS CHILDREN!!
Yes, by looking at the photograph, it's a logical conclusion to assume the two girls were his kids, even if Quayle has only been married since April. In fact, the kids are his nieces ... the daughters of his brother.
As you can see in this report from KTVK-3TV, Quayle dismisses what his campaign has come to refer to as "niecegate". "To call my nieces a rent-a-family is pretty obnoxious," he says:
In the scheme of things, this, to me at least, is hardly a big deal. Surrounding oneself with children, veterans, flags, etc., is old hat. But many people saw it as something approaching the Teapot Dome scandal.
Vernon Parker, a former mayor of Paradise Valley and one of Quayle's opponents in the 3rd CD seat being vacated by John Shadegg (R), charged that the two girls were "rented" as props to allow Quayle to come across as a family man.
A headline on the Arizona Capitol Times reads, "Quayle mailers not actually what meets the eye." And it raises the most important question since Watergate: "So is Quayle intentionally trying to leave voters with the impression that he’s a 'family man'? It’s plausible."
Oh please. That's the best they got?
A bigger issue for the 33-year old Quayle may be reconciling his campaign on behalf of family values ... with his contributions years ago to a Web site called DirtyScottsdale.com about the city's wild and trashy nightlife. One of the alleged lines in a post — written under the alias of "Brock Landers," a porn star in the 1997 film Boogie Nights — read, "My moral compass is so broken I can barely find the parking lot."
At first, Quayle denied knowing anything about the matter. Then he said he couldn't recall what the posts were about. Finally he admitted contributing to the site, saying, "I just posted comments to try to drive some traffic." But he denies he wrote under the "Brock Landers" pseudonym.
Scott Wong — I'm assuming that's his real name — writing in Politico, says that Quayle has "had a hard time getting his story straight." Wong writes that Nik Richie, founder of the Dirty Scottsdale Web site, said Quayle indeed posted under "Brock Landers" and "documented his quest to find the 'hottest chick in Scottsdale.'"
A poll cited this week by the Capitol Times — but without any polling data to back it up — shows that Quayle has fallen from the role of frontrunner and now trails businessman Steve Moak. There is now an ensuing controversy over whether the poll is legit or just some internal numbers provided by the Moak campaign.
Meanwhile, Quayle has also raised eyebrows with his TV ad in which he calls President Obama the "worst president in history."
Other candidates in the race include former state Sens. Pam Gorman and Jim Waring.
Before Shadegg won the overwhelmingly Republican seat in 1994, it was represented by now-Sen. Jon Kyl. It will stay in GOP hands come November.