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Discussion for article #241910

What really ought to be reassessed is how much Reagan’s place in history was fluffed up to cover how shitty it really was.

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Hillary Clinton’s frontrunner status for the 2016 nomination has many antecedents to be sure. But none looms larger than Ferraro’s role in the 1984 campaign, a role that embodies the goals of social justice and equality for which her presidential running mate has fought throughout his long and influential career.

The stain of Gerry Ferraro’s deeply ugly role in the 2008 campaign being an irony best left unexamined.

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What was that? I don’t remember.

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Amen to that.

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That was a very low point for Ferraro (and the Democratic Party) in many ways, and I appreciate your adding it into this conversation. I would only add that in the aftermath Ferraro argued that her own VP candidacy had been likewise socially/culturally significant (noting that if her name had been Gerald Ferraro, she never would have gotten the nod), and thus was seeking (again, in an overarchingly awful way to be sure) to think about that side and legacy of her own political history. Which is worth remembering as something positive, I’d argue (without minimizing the awfulness of the 2008 comments, I agree).

Thanks,
Ben

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Note that Walter Mondale is still alive even though a “life and legacy” retrospective event hints that he has passed.

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I spent my summers in Minnesota. Who’s Walrer Mondale?

Not only alive, but speaking at the DC event right now! Streaming here:

http://hhh.umn.edu/news/humphrey-school-hosts-two-washington-dc-events-honor-life-and-legacy-walter-f-mondale

Ben

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Well, I said it was best left unexamined . . .

Seriously, it really tainted her legacy beyond possibility of redemption as far as I was concerned.

I’ve managed to get over some of the more troubling incidents in that primary. I think there was a belief by some in her terrible no good awful 2008 campaign team that cake could be eaten and had as well–that is, there was a belief by people who were, in fact, very much not racist that the racism of a certain segment of white working class Democrats in several key northern rust belt states could be cynically exploited for Hillary’s benefit without it actually tainting the candidate or her husband. But Ferraro demonstrated how very, very misguided that bit of cynicism was.

The thing I’ve come to appreciate about Hillary since 2008 that I did not appreciate then is that she learns, really, really learns, from her mistakes. And not simply mistakes about policies. I expect any Democrat to recognize when their policy choices yield unanticipated and undesirable outcomes and adjust them and likewise discard policies that are no longer consistent with current socio economic circumstances. That is, I expect a Democrat to reject dogmatic thinking. That’s the bare minimum necessary to maintain credibility in the only remaining more or less reality-based party.

But Hillary has shown me that she also learns from her tactical political mistakes, from her personal mistakes about who to trust, from her administrative mistakes about how to run an organization, and from her moral mistakes. And it was, I think, Gerry Ferraro who first opened the eyes of some of the Old Clinton Hand knuckleheads as to the depth, breadth and potential for destruction of the forces they were beginning to toy with. And, in the end, they (mostly) flinched and walked away from it. (Though I suspect that Mark Penn was urging them to consider the benefits with some particular micro demographics without regard to the potential for harm right up until the end.)

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Very well said, Esteban

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Mondale gets blamed for his giant 1984 loss, as if some other candidate might have done better. But a dispassionate look at the prevailing economic and demographic realities of 1984 ought to disabuse the notion that Dems were at all competitive in presidential races at that point. From 1972 through 1988, we saw massive electoral losses for Democrat after Democrat, with the sole exception being Carter’s bare win in '76 on the heels of Watergate and Ford’s Nixon pardon. Republicans utterly dominated presidential politics during that era, with huge advantages among white and suburban voters. On top of that Reagan had the economy helping him. Mondale was finished before he started.

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Mondale is a mensch.

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Growing up in the household of a prominent democratic socialist on the Scandihoovian model (who coordinated lumber-mill-union support for the projects and programs for the Great Builder of California, Governor Pat Brown, before joining his cabinet and then directing his staff), Walter Mondale was always a hero. As western “liberal” democrats, so did we always support Frank Church.

And John Garamendi, who rounds out a long and distinguished career in California with a seat in the Dysfunctional Congress. Garamendi for Coalition-for-Function Speaker.

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With all due respect to Walter Mondale, it really is Reagan’s place in history that’s in dire need of a reassessment.

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If a true assessment is made, it is we, the American middle and below that lost to Reagan. Reagan’s win has been our loss ever since. It even ruined his own Party because they can’t see beyond the legend they created so that they could have a legend that they so lacked.
As a group, the Republican mind died when Reagan won.

Mondale was a very accomplished guy unbeknownst to many of us besides myself I suspect.
Thanks Ben for the info and update.

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Don’t forget Ferraro’s congressional district in Queens, basically the flyover shot in All in the family was white ethnic with a few black and Latino enclaves. She might have been quite apt at navigating the politics of it in the 70’s and 80’s but still no excuse for her boneheaded comments.

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Please assure me that Penn has no current or future role in her campaign(s)?

Hell, I think she never paid his bill from last time.