(TRIPOLI) Former U.S. vice president Dan Quayle, a man who has been more or less out of the public eye for at least 13 years, was somehow elected president of Libya over the weekend, sources reported Sunday.
Quayle, who served from 1989-1993 under President George H. W. Bush, apparently was on the ballot in the first elections of Libya’s post-Qaddafi era, though few insiders or pundits seemed to notice until his improbable upset. In fact, few Americans were aware that Quayle was even in Libya for the past 18 months.
“Today, we start anew. Libya will begin an historic new era, one of peace, prosperity, and goodwill toward her neighbors and allies,” Quayle told an exuberant crowd of 13 or 14 handlers in his hotel suite Sunday night. “I believe that we can come together and make this nation great again, and I’ll need your help to do it. But believe me when I say: You’re going to get the best from Dan Quayle. That much I promise you.”
Opponents and media were scrambling to figure out how Quayle pulled off the upset. The election was largely seen as a showdown between Western-style liberals and fundamentalists, with the U.S. watching closely and hoping to avoid greater influence from the Muslim Brotherhood. That all flew out the window Sunday morning when the final tally gave Quayle the race with a 34% plurality. A runoff may take place next month.
“Well we certainly are pleased that the people of Libya have chosen to go with someone secular,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the press after hearing the news. “At least, I’m pretty sure Mr. Quayle is secular. I know he’s a Republican, and pretty religious. But probably not as religious as the Brotherhood. Then again, he hit [her husband and former President] Bill [Clinton] pretty hard on the adultery thing back in ’92.
“But then again I suppose he’s still pretty liberal for the Middle East,” she summarized.
Even Libyans themselves were unsure how or why Quayle was voted into office. Most seemed unaware of his existence, and could not fathom how he might have put together any sort of coalition among so many competing factions in this still-recovering former dictatorship.
“We do not know how this could happen,” political scientist Mahmoud Jibril stated. “We remember Dan Quayle. He said a lot of stupid things when he was American vice president. Everyone around the world laughed at him. How on earth could the people of Libya possibly vote for this guy?”
Jibril added, “This democracy isn’t even a few weeks old and it’s already going down the pisser.”
Quayle himself was surprised but confident that under his leadership, Libya could move forward. “I’ll admit, I’m not even sure how I got here,” Quayle told reporters after his speech. “Some businessmen came to see me in Indiana a while back, and they told me this was a great opportunity. They flew me here, briefed me, and made all the introductions. I haven’t even really met that many Libyans. They sound nice though. All I know is I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work for the Libyan people. They made this possible, and they deserve results.”
Asked what his top priority would be once in office, Quayle thought for a minute and replied, “Abortion.”