Death threats from Quale?

March 29, 2002 8:29 AM   Subscribe

Death threats from Quale?
Former Prime Minister of New Zealand claims that during his term in the mid to late 80's, then vice-president Dan Quale threatened to have him "liquidated". Apparently it was due to NZ's anti-nuke policy and it happened during a meeting with the Australian cabinet. I don't know if this is funny or sad.
posted by Hackworth (19 comments total)
Ha ha ha! I vote for funny.
posted by tommasz at 8:36 AM on March 29, 2002

It's true, it's funny and it's sad in that Quayle looks downright intelligent compared to Dubya.
posted by nofundy at 8:39 AM on March 29, 2002

Seems the Australian cabinet at the time should be able to refute or confirm this. I know Quayle was a baffoon, but this doesn't seem plausible. (By the way, Hackworth, it's Quayle although God knows he wasn't a great speller, either).
posted by pardonyou? at 8:40 AM on March 29, 2002

"I enquired of our security sources and was told I shouldn't regard it as a credible threat because the vice president wasn't regarded as credible."

Ah, Danny boy, we've missed you so. (Anyone else note the rich irony of misspelling Quayle's name in the post?)
posted by mcwetboy at 8:41 AM on March 29, 2002


How ironic, I end up looking the the man I mock. The universe has it in for me.
posted by Hackworth at 8:42 AM on March 29, 2002

I'm surprised he didn't threaten to have him "liquidicized."
posted by adampsyche at 8:42 AM on March 29, 2002

Before we unpack all of the Quayle jokes, let's consider the possibility that New Zealand's former prime minister has completely lost his mind.
posted by rcade at 8:45 AM on March 29, 2002


I could end up "looking like the man I mock", too.

It's been a long week.
posted by Hackworth at 8:54 AM on March 29, 2002

...personally, I'd bet that Quayle was a blustering moron (but didn't threaten assassination), and that Lange is crazy. Just ask Richard Prebble. Or Helen Clark. Or, hell, even Gerald Hensley.

Lange is well and truly bonkers.
posted by aramaic at 8:58 AM on March 29, 2002

adampsyche -- hee!

Did anyone consider that maybe Dan thought the Prime Minister looked thirsty and was merely offering him a nice cold beverage?
posted by rio at 9:01 AM on March 29, 2002

Quayle's handler, sotto voce: "I think you mean hydrated, Mr. Vice President."

(Just a variation on the joke from rio, who was faster than I was)
posted by kurumi at 9:38 AM on March 29, 2002

"Seems the Australian cabinet at the time should be able to refute or confirm this"
I don't think cabinet papers are released for 25 years. You would need to have it confirmed/denied by one of the (then) cabinet.
Anyway, I reckon Lange is just stirring the pot and most likely Quayle was in hyperbole-mode if there's any real basis for the alleged comment/threat.
posted by peacay at 11:15 AM on March 29, 2002

David Lange was a fantastic PM and I don't think he's losing his mind.

Perhaps he took something that was meant as a joke a tad too seriously? But he's an intelligent guy. I'm guessing that if there was a threat, there may have been an underlying tone of intimidation to it, but I think it was just a grim joke. I don't think either Lange or Quayle ever took it seriously. I do think if Quayle had ever got the opportunity to do to Lange what the CIA is rumored to have done to Whitlam, he would have. But, different times, different times.

In Australia we lost our best PM of all time (he didn't die, he just got dismissed) as the result of US and British interference, I suppose I'm a bit biased here by having studied that era of Australian political history. His policies weren't dissimilar, and they attracted the same approbation.
posted by lucien at 12:08 PM on March 29, 2002

You also have to remember that another "friend" of New Zealand's, the French, blew up a ship in Auckland harbor and killed a man not too long before this incident, so perhaps the idea that friendly nations would do such a thing didn't seem so far-fetched.
posted by geneablogy at 12:20 PM on March 29, 2002

....i was the assighned shooter, dan wanted it to look like a grammatical error.
posted by clavdivs at 1:51 PM on March 29, 2002

I don't know whether or not to think Mr. Lange has gone crazy, or whether it's true. He's been saying that he has had his accusation confirmed and that he is just waiting for the people disputing it to squirm before he comes forward with proof. Regardless, it's rather odd.
posted by animoller at 2:04 PM on March 29, 2002

I'm curious to know what would have happened to Lange if he or the cabinet admitted this the day it happened. It would have hurt NZ/US relations, caused much uproar, and might even make Lange a target of an organization with a bone to pick with the US. If Lange was killed by a non-US related third party then things would truly be f'd up for NZ, the US, and especially the Bush administration.

I guess when an 800 lbs gorilla threatens you, you just don't tell anyone for a long time for your own safety.

"I enquired of our security sources and was told I shouldn't regard it as a credible threat because the vice president wasn't regarded as credible."

Hehehe. That's just plain funny.
posted by skallas at 2:55 PM on March 29, 2002

I mean, this is a guy who's ended up flogging shares in Phoenix, Arizona. He's hardly a great representative of American democracy. He's an illiterate lapsed lawyer, and you couldn't get worse than a lapsed lawyer.

Quayle at the time was not the most extraordinarily accurate guide to American foreign interests – he thought that Sydney was the capital, for one thing.

David Lange - source

The man cracks me up.
posted by X-00 at 5:49 PM on March 29, 2002

David Lange is a very intelligent man. I tend to think that either he was verbally exerting his smarts on Quayle. He's a man who delights in verbally jousting with his political challengers, and has a whipcrack tongue on him. I think he was just baiting Quayle.
Before taking office he reduced the encumbant PM of NZ, a bloke called Muldoon, to tears on national television.
He's terribly funny once he gets going too.
posted by oddity at 6:10 AM on March 30, 2002

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