Walter Mondale, RIP
Added 04-20-21 12:31:01am EST - “The news that Walter Mondale was in extremis had circulated a few days ago, and blurted out, predictably, by Jimmy Carter, about whom Mondale said on many occasions after 1980,? "I never understood how Carter's political mind worked.…” - Powerlineblog.com
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The news that Walter Mondale was in extremis had circulated a few days ago, and blurted out, predictably, by Jimmy Carter, about whom Mondale said on many occasions after 1980, “I never understood how Carter’s political mind worked. Carter’s got the coldest political nose of any politician I ever met.”
It is still not well known that Mondale considered resigning as Vice President during Carter’s infamous navel-gazing Camp David retreat in July 1979 that gave us the awful “malaise” speech. Mondale was conventional enough to know Carter had lost his grip.
Mondale was, to be sure, an old New Deal/Great Society liberal, and it is easy to arrange a catalogue of things he was wrong about. In 1971 Mondale said that “The sickening truth is that this country is rapidly coming to resemble South Africa,” which is ridiculous, but would fit in well today with the required Black Lives Matter slogans. But in other respects he was a moderate, and in person said to be a charming person with a great sense of humor. Like Al Gore, electronic media was not kind to him. Robert Bartley, the legendary editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page who knew Mondale personally from serving with him on the board of the Mayo Clinic, wrote: “The great mystery of the man is how and why he contrived to keep his personal wit and humor, readily apparent in even short conversation as vice president, from showing itself on the campaign trail.”
One of the more interesting stories of Mondale is how he invited a number of the prominent “neoconservative’ Democrats to meet with Carter at the White House in January 1980, when many of them were still longing to be loyal to their old party. The meeting was a total disaster, because Carter was clueless. And Mondale knew it. Jeane Kirkpartrick was in the group, along with Norman Podhoretz, Midge Decter, Ben Wattenberg, Elliott Abrams, Max Kampelman, retired admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Austin Ranney, and Penn Kemble.
Perhaps, the group told Carter, he would now include some of this group in his administration, having spurned them before. Austin Ranney, speaking for the group, told Carter that they were encouraged by the change in Carter’s view of the Soviet Union, and hoped he would now appoint officials who were in harmony with a tougher policy.
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