NEW YORK (Aug. 16)
George Bush’s choice for his vice presidential running mate is a youthful lawmaker known among Jewish voters for his generally strong support for Israel and staunchly conservative domestic views.
Indiana Sen. Dan Quayle, 41, is serving his second term as senator, having ousted the liberal Democratic incumbent Sen. Birch Bayh in 1980. Prior to serving in the senate, he served two terms as a congressman.
Jewish observers describing Quayle as a supporter of Israel point to his role as a member of Senate Armed Services Committee.
In New Orleans, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee said Quayle is a "leader in advancing strategic cooperation" between Israel and the United States.
Most significant, said AIPAC, is Quayle’s backing of the Arrow 2 anti-tactical ballistic missile research underway between Israel and the United States under the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative or "Star Wars" program.
Also, according to AIPAC, is his support of the Popeye air-to-ground missiles, which the Air Force’s Strategic Command is considering mounting on its B-52 bombers.
According to AIPAC, Quayle helped lead legislative efforts to designate Israel as a non-NATO ally of the United States; supported legislative efforts to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; and voted to establish the free trade area between the two countries.
He also supported legislation to close the Palestine Liberation Organization’s U.S. offices.
David Brody, Washington representative of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, said Quayle’s record has been "one of support" for Israel.
He said Quayle has spoken both to ADL’s national body and the local chapter in Indiana. He has a "good relationship with the community there," said Brody.
Brody quoted Quayle as saying the United States has no closer ally in the Middle East than Israel, and as expressing concern about the missile threat to Israel from Iraq, Iran and Libya.
However, his record on foreign aid is mixed. Quayle was one of 15 senators who voted against the fiscal ’89 Foreign Aid Appropriations Bill that included $3 billion in aid to Israel.
In 1986, he voted not to sustain the presidential veto of a major arms sale to Saudi Arabia.
Quayle has defended these votes by saying he is opposed to high levels of foreign aid, and not aid sent specifically to Israel.
In Indiana, Jews there have been "pleasantly surprised" by the senator, according to one Jewish community leader in Indianapolis.
Quayle drew little Jewish support when he ran against Bayh in 1980. But his popularity increased among Jewish votes by the time he was re-elected in 1986, the leader said.
Irwin Rose, a Jewish businessman in Indianapolis and a member of Quayle’s statewide finance committee when he ran for re-election, called the senator "very good on our issues."
"He understands the military and political situation in the Middle East," said Rose. "He understands Israel’s need for a strong defense."
According to Rose, Quayle reached out to Indiana’s small Jewish community during his first term, despite drawing little of their support in the 1980 election.
One of his closest advisers in those years was Lester Rosen, his administrative assistant and unofficial liaison to the Jewish community.
Quayle is also known for his support of free emigration for Soviet Jews, according to Dr. Marcia Goldstone, executive director of the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council.
Along with fellow Republican Indiana Sen. Richard Luger and the state’s ten-member congressional delegation, he serves on the Indiana Congressional Delegation for Soviet Jewry and marched in December’s Freedom Sunday rally in Washington.
But while acknowledging that a number of Jews have joined the Republican ranks in Indiana during the last few years, Goldstone said Quayle’s domestic agenda may temper Jewish enthusiasm for his record.
"On church-state issues, for instance. We don’t favor prayer in schools, and the senator does not support that position. We are overwhelmingly pro-choice, he is not," said Goldstone.
Quayle’s voting record on domestic issues shows him to be an unwavering disciple of the Reagan years. He is an opponent of abortion and has voted consistently anti-choice during his tenure.
Quayle supports the death penalty, opposes gun control and voted to confirm Robert Bork for the Supreme Court seat eventually filled by Anthony Kennedy.
Quayle also was one of 42 senators who voted against the 1987 amendment that allowed armed services personnel to wear yarmulkes while on duty. And in March, he was one of 24 senators who voted against the Civil Rights Restoration Act.
Quayle, who is married with three children, belongs to the Bible Church, a fundamentalist Pentacostal church.
In New York, Rabbi Mark Tanenbaum, international affairs director of the American Jewish Committee, said Bush’s choice was probably "his effort to tap into the Evangelical movement that would have gone to Pat Robertson, so that they don’t feel left out."
(Andrew Silow Carroll and Susan Birnbaum in New York, David Friedman in New Orleans and Howard Rosenberg in Washington contributed to this report. The story was written by Mr. Carroll.)