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October 8, 2010
America's Biggest Loser Advises Obama
How bad have things gotten for President Obama? This bad: He's even getting political advice from Fritz Mondale. The former Vice President lost forty-nine of fifty states to Ronald Reagan in 1984.
That was after he got the bright idea of putting Rep. Geraldine Ferraro on the ticket. Ferraro was the first woman on a major party ticket and the liberal media went delirious. The Gender Gap was born and talked up endlessly. The Gender Gap, we were told over and over, was the disparity between the support given by men and women to Ronald Reagan in the polls. Liberals were convinced that women would storm the voting booths to make one their own sex Vice President.
Mondale had been put down as a "polenta" by his supposed friend, Mario Cuomo. The New York Governor said his momma from the old country told him Mondale was like that bland Italian dish-filling but not thrilling.
So, Fritz naming Geraldine was like Fred Astaire teaming with Ginger Rogers. He gave her class; she gave him sex appeal. That's how it was supposed to work. But Reagan's "Morning in America" dawned bright and hopeful and Mondale-Ferraro got buried 59-41%.
They not only lost forty-nine states, they lost Ferraro's New York State, they lost Catholic voters, they lost Italian-Americans, they lost her own congressional district in Brooklyn-and they lost women voters. Granted, there was a Gender Gap. But that only meant that while women voters gave about 55% of their votes to Reagan, men went over the top for the Gipper.
Not content with losing statewide elections in those 49 states in 1984, Fritz Mondale came out of retirement, like "Rocky," in 2002. He ran against Norm Coleman for the U.S. Senate in his home state of Minnesota. Mondale lost that race, thereby becoming the only man in American history to lose a statewide election in all fifty states.
Now, America's biggest loser is advising President Obama to ditch those "Idiot Boards." He says the President is very bright. Ooops. That's not laudatory enough. Brilliant. The President is brilliant, Mondale says, but those teleprompters get between him and his audience. To really connect, get rid of the Idiot Boards, Mondale says.
Ronald Reagan was the first to use these teleprompters. He surprised even Labour Party Members of Parliament in 1982 when he became the first President of the United States to address the House of Commons. They were astonished that the man they'd been taught by New York media to despise as an idiot could deliver such a polished and compelling address.
Mondale also misunderstood Reagan's use of radio commentaries. He visited President Reagan in the White House in 1982. This was two years after Reagan had trounced Mondale's hapless boss, Jimmy Carter.
The President was gracious, as ever, and on leaving the Oval Office, Mondale hailed Reagan's man, Mike Deaver. He wanted to talk to Deaver about those 3-minute radio commentaries Reagan had done for several years while preparing his eventual run for President.
"Certainly, Mr. Vice President," Deaver told Fritz, "I'd be happy to tell you about them. But be prepared to spend 40% of your work week doing them."
"Oh, no," Fritz responded, "I'm only talking about those short, 3-minute radio messages
Reagan did to stay in touch with his base. I'm thinking about doing something like that myself."
Deaver told the man who would become President Reagan's next opponent that his boss researched, wrote, and rehearsed every word of every commentary. He labored over getting his message just right.
Mondale never understood that. He doesn't understand it today. So, go ahead President Obama. Take all the good advice Fritz Mondale can offer. Invite him into the Oval Office. Take notes. Maybe you, too, Sir, can match Fritz' record.