Actually, it is less than accurate to characterize Quayle's origins as ``nowhere.'' While it is true that he grew up in a small community in Indiana, he also grew up in a family that controls one of the country's largest publishing fortunes.
Nor could Quayle ever have been characterized as a ``failure'' from which he could become a shining ``success'' - at least, not in the sense that, say, Harry Truman became President after bankrupting himself as a haberdasher. Graced with a handsome face, a winning personality, and wealthy parents, Quayle himself admits to having led a charmed life, once telling an interviewer that the only thing he could recall ever losing was an election at a college fraternity.
Indeed, Quayle's childhood sounds like a full season of ``Mayberry, R.F.D.,'' except that Mayberry never had a family like the Quayles that controlled a trust estimated by Forbes magazine at $650 million. In any event, Quayle's Mayberry was the town of Huntington, Ind. - reasonably conservative, mostly white, mostly protestant, mostly middle-class. Like their neighbors, the Lian church.
Quayle's elementary school principal, Everett Goshorn, describes him as a ``bright youngster,'' a toe-head kid who liked to run through the fields and ice skate on the pond. In high school, Quayle was on the golf team and wrote for the school paper. He met his wife at Indiana University law school. Naturally enough, he was being groomed for the newspaper business. Politics was never a consideration.
Until 1976, that is. That year, the local Republican candidate for the House unexpectedly dropped out of the race. Party regulars, left casting about for an available alternative, asked Quayle, who was then working as the associate editor of the Huntington Herald-Press, to run. Quayle said yes.