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The Good Fight: A Life in Liberal Politics Hardcover – October 5, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Remembered equally as Jimmy Carter's Vice President and the man who lost the presidency to Nixon in the 1984 election, Walter Mondale re-establishes his place in political history as the man who redefined the vice presidency. Beginning with work on Humphrey's presidential campaigns during the ÿ40s and ÿ50s, Mondale's life in politics extends far beyond the White House and continues to this day. Spanning decades of Cold War suspicions, Vietnam controversy, and the tragic deaths of JFK and Martin Luther King Jr., it would be difficult to convey Mondale's life in politics as boring, but it is neither the events of the times nor the notable players, including Mondale's running mate, Geraldine Ferraro, the first female vice presidential candidate on a major party ticket, that make this life worth reading. Rather, it's Mondale's character, and readers will come away with a strong sense of it. His talk of care, concern, and compromise paints him as a true steward of the state. He acknowledges the public's loss of trust in its leaders, and continues to advise politicians in the Senate, House, governor's mansions, and even the White House. Mondale elucidates the values of the American people. (Oct.)
Mondale has been front and center during the major changes in American liberal politics since the civil rights era. He traces his own career—from an ambitious Minnesota attorney general to the U.S. Senate to vice president and presidential candidate and U.S. ambassador to Japan—as it reflected the changes in the political climate occurring within the Democratic Party and the nation. A longtime friend of liberal icon Hubert Humphrey, Mondale earned his liberal bona fides through work on major progressive issues, including civil and women’s rights, health care reform, and environmental conservation. He recalls the huge victories achieved by the Great Society (Head Start, Pell grants, Medicare, and Medicaid) when he was part of the overwhelmingly Democratic Senate under President Johnson and admits to the overreaching that later led to a backlash against liberal idealism. He traces the rise and fall of progressive politics through the Vietnam War era, the energy and hostage crises of the Carter administration (when he served as vice president), and the culture wars that led to the election of Ronald Reagan and continued to complicate American politics through the Bush-Cheney years. Mondale also offers a look forward at the Obama administration and the changes it represents in executing liberal ideals in an era of more pragmatic politics. --Vanessa Bush
Top customer reviews
Nowhere near the outsized personality that Humphrey was , he was able to help chart a new and responsible progressive course for this country. In teaming with President Carter he was paired with an individual who had the same respect for the decency and honesty of the American people. Carter and Mondale were the first campaign to face the reactionary elements of the New Republican Party that packaged itself as the combination of Country Club Conservatives aligned with disaffected working class whites. That combination proved lethal for progressives in the 1980 election.
In 1984 Mondale running in his own right Mondale was able to secure the Democratic nomination after a spirited contest against Senator Garry Hart. In the coming weeks He threw two of the biggest "Hail Mary" passes in the history of the United States.The selection of the first female Vice President candidate in Geraldine Ferraro along with the proposal to raise income tax rates to close the rapidly escalating budget deficits caused by President Reagan's enormous tax cuts(from a 70% top bracket to a 28%) for the wealthiest Americans. He payed the price for being honest with the American people and lost all the states except for Minnesota.
As the years have progressed we see that the blatant greed of the American Plutocrat in the 1980's would start the process of dwindling the "American Dream" to just the favored few. Has this country learned the lessons of the 1980's? We still have time, but we can't procrastinate much longer, Mondale's campaign speech of March 6, 1984 provides a road map:
"This new idea is the eseence of the battle we're in. The idea is this: If you fight for the values that the Democratic Party has always believed in, you're supposed to go on a guilt trip. But if you fight against them, you're supposed to be applauded. If you fight for better schools you're old. But if you fight for big oil, you're new. If a worker wants a raise, that's greedy. But if a plant closes down, that's trendy. I don't accept it. And I won't cut my values to fit this year's fashion. It's not a campaign for new ideas and old ideas..It's a fight between what's right and wrong"
I'm a Minnesotan, born and raised here, and proud of my State. I met most of the people written about including the Kennedy brothers, since my family were very political active, in spite of being working class Farm folk.
It's hard at my age, to look at the mess we all are in, now. I come from a time that the GOP and DFL parties in MN could bitterly disagree, but in the end do what was best for all the people, not just the wealthy powerful ones. We need to get to that place again.
Clearly this book is a candid tale. Mondale does not hide the failures. In his biography, he tells it like it is. But I could not help but thinking had he been more persuasive how far we would have gone.
While their were many successes I ended up getting hung up on the failures. It left me somewhat less impressed with one of the few truly good men in politics which is not how I wanted to be.
Most recent customer reviews
The memoirs are a little light on facts and references.Read more