Listen up, political junkies! Here’s the link to yesterday’s Big Talk with Indiana University political science professor (and dynamite jazz pianist) Jeff Isaac. And here’s the link to the original, unedited interview I had with him in the WFHB studios Monday afternoon.
Isaac (Center) With The Postmodern Jazz Quartet
BTW: I didn’t use the bleep machine on the long track so you’ll finally find out exactly what Isaac thinks of one Donald John Trump.
I neither liked nor disliked Walter Mondale. How’s that for a rousing endorsement?
The late senator from Minnesota challenged Ronald Reagan in 1984, an election year during which no one, including an omniscient, omnipotent creator of the universe, could have beaten the sainted incumbent.
Sure, I voted for Mondale that year but I knew even as I was pulling the lever for him that he wasn’t going to win. Man, the ’80s were a discouraging time for us Dems. Mondale was the longest of long shots — at the time. Four years down the road, Michael Dukakis made him look like a real powerhouse — the former Massachusetts governor lost to none other than George HW Bush, who was no John F. Kennedy.
Dig this photo:
May 15, 1984: Democratic presidential candidate Walter F. Mondale as he speaks at the Springfellow acid pits in Riverside County, with Secret Service men close by. [This photo was published in the May 16, 1984 Los Angeles Times]
Sheesh. Talk about lonely!
The truth is, the dude had all the charisma of a McDonald’s shift manager. Whereas Reagan was…, well, Reagan.
Beltway insider reporters Jack Germond and Jules Witcover wrote a book about the 1984 presidential election — they titled it Wake Us When It’s Over.
Like I said, sheesh.
Funny thing was, this holy land had suffered through a miserable recession during Dutch’s first term. Still, the American people loved their Ronnie. Well, most of the American people.
Mondale, in an interview a few years after the election, admitted he knew as early as the convention that he was going to lose, and lose big. Of course, during his acceptance speech Mondale said he, like Reagan, would raise taxes in ’85. The idea being, I’m the honest guy and Reagan’s blowing smoke. America failed to catch the inference, noting only that the Democrat was admitting he wanted to dig deeper into their purse.
Here, BTW, is a TV ad for Mondale-Ferraro:
Geraldine Ferraro, congressbeing from Queens in New York City, was the first woman on a major national party presidential ticket. There wouldn’t be another until — you guessed it — Sarah Palin. In any case, the basic message of the ad is Life is shit, we’re all fucked, so elect the Democrat.
Reagan’s message? It’s morning in America!
Which message yells out winner to you?
In a lot of ways, it’s still the message the national Dems are trying to sell. It was certainly HRC’s main point last summer and fall: There aren’t any jobs, the rich are getting richer, and the other side’s offering you a greedy idiot so you may as well vote for us.
The other side’s message? Make America Great Again!
Guess who won.
Man, the Democrats are hard heads, aren’t they?
But, back to ’84. In July, Reagan’s advisors and strategists sat down and moaned that they didn’t have any real policies to sell to the American people. So, what’d they do? Well, hell, they simply decided to sell slogans, like the aforementioned Morning… line, penned by Peggy Noonan. And it all worked, natch.
As for the Ferraro selection, get this: A mere 22 percent of American women, according to a poll conducted immediately after the convention, were excited about her addition to the ticket. Imagine that!
Mondale later went on to become ambassador to Japan under Bill Clinton. He was named incumbent Paul Wellstone’s replacement when the Minnesota senator was killed in a plane crash just 11 days before the 2002 election. Mondale was then trounced by Norm Coleman. With that defeat, he became the only person in American history to lose an election in all 50 states, as he’d lost 49 of them in the ’84 contest (save for Minnesota) but then lost his home state in ’02.
What a party.