Willard Mitt Romney (who will have a showdown with Barack Hussein Obama in a contender for the funniest-named presidential contest in history) stirred things up this past weekend with the announcement of Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential running mate. This got me thinking about an erstwhile Vice Presidential candidate who had arguably the most famous quip in the history of VP debates.
“Senator, I knew Jack Kennedy, I served with Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy!” – Lloyd Millard Bentsen
While it’s debatable whether these words uttered toward Dan Quayle helped or hurt the Dukakis-Bentsen ticket, they’ll live on in political lore for generations and even today, they’re probably more famous than the person who delivered that legendary quote.
Whether you’re an election enthusiast or someone who agrees with Larry Hardiman that “the word ‘politics’ is derived from the word ‘poly’, meaning ‘many’, and the word ‘ticks’, meaning ‘blood sucking parasites’,” it’s hard not to be impressed with Lloyd’s accomplishments. What is it with successful politicians named Millard?
After becoming an Eagle Scout and graduating from law school at age 21, Bentsen joined the Air Force and married a fashion model named Beryl Ann Longino. At just 23, he was promoted to Major and put in charge of a squadron of 600 men, flying thirty-five missions against Nazi forces in World War II. He became a highly decorated pilot, earning a Distinguished Flying Cross and an Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters (which basically means four air medals) before his honorable discharge in 1947.
As if that wasn’t enough, only two years after leaving the military, he was elected to the House of Representatives at 28. 28! He served there for six years before deciding to leave politics and enter the greener pastures of the business world.
The move was a gamble, but a good one (not surprising, as Bentsen was known as a crackerjack poker player), and made millions in the life insurance, oil and gas, and financial industries.
Oh Lloyd, won’tcha buy me a Mercedes Benz?! – Janis Joplin, singing of Bentsen’s business successes during an acid trip 
Then, returning to politics as a conservative Democrat, he was elected to the Senate in 1971, beating out future president George H.W. Bush in the process. He would serve in the Senate for twenty-two years, lose a vice presidential election, invent the term astroturfing to describe artificial grassroots campaigning, and then leave the Senate in 1993 to become Treasury Secretary of the United States under Bill Clinton. He was one of the primary architects of the Clinton economic plan.
Bentsen then retired from the public eye, passing away in 2006, but not before seeing his nephew become a U.S. Representative, and his grandson, Lloyd Millard Bentsen IV, become a political campaign staffer. He also has a highway in Texas named after him.
Mister, you’re no Lloyd Millard Bentsen! – An insult that people should start using. Right now.