Today is a day about nothing. Sundays are a day about being with family, watching football (lord, let it be September already), and going outside on a sunny day. It is not a day for being indoors typing a political column, hence my typing furiously, mistakes be d@mned.
Given how difficult it is to write a column when nothing is occurring (yes Al Queda is plotting our deaths, but there is no unique news about it today), I can only imagine the backflips that the Jayson Blair Times and its ugly kid sister the Washington Post are doing to convince people to read their papers today. Their first option is to completely fabricate stories, but that has gotten them into trouble in the past. The other option is to come up with human interest stories, or as I call them, disinterest stories.
Therefore, the Washington Post has decided to party like it’s 1979. Dusting him off from obscurity, Walter Mondale…yes, you read that correctly…Walter Mondale…is concerned about…stuff. Apparently whatever reporter failed to get the Lindsay Lohan interview for the paper was relegated to this story. Walter Mondale is displeased with Dick Cheney.
For those of you expecting me to file this under the, “water is wet” category, I am not sure it is any more if this is the best that the news has to offer today.
For those of you who do not know Walter Mondale, he was by most people considered to be an honest, decent man who was the Vice President to Jimmy Carter, the worst President since possibly before the Civil War. They stumbled into the White House in 1976, and were defeated by Ronald Reagan in 1980 44 states to 6. In 1984, after promising to raise taxes (again, he was honest), he was defeated in his quest for the Presidency 49 states to 1. Out of mercy, Reagan did not schedule one more visit to Minnestoa (Mondale’s home state), which would have given Reagan the clean sweep. Hey, unlike Al Gore, at least Mondale won his home state. To some, that gives him relevance.
Mr. Mondale states, “Under George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, it (The Vice Presidency) has gone seriously off track.” So Walter Mondale is considers Dick Cheney a failed Vice President. Given that I disagree with a controversial 2001 football game between the Raiders and Patriots, I am declaring Tom Brady’s 3 Super Bowl rings irrelevant. He is now a failure as a football player. See how easy it is?
What is it about people like Carter, Mondale, Geraldine Ferraro (Mondale’s VP candidate), and consultants such as Susan Estrich (Michael Dukakis’s campaign manager), Bob Beckel (Mondale’s campaign manager)? How can they fail in such spectacular fashion and then have the nerve to think they should be take seriously as critics? Michael Dukakis did what people in that situation are supposed to do…disappear, keep quiet, and find a sanctuary where liberals are tolerated, in his case education.
Again, Walter Mondale was never seen as a bad person, but his claiming how relevant he was seems like a desperate cry for relevancy. How many people would recognize him on the street?
As for his criticism of Dick Cheney, he writes, “Rather than subject his views to an established (and rational) vetting process, his practice has been to trust only his immediate staff before taking ideas directly to the president.”
So to put this into English, Dick Cheney does not consult and get the approval of the Jayson Blair Times or Walter Mondale himself before making decisions. He trusts those closest to him. Perhaps he is a normal person that relies on close confidants rather than complete strangers that do not have the best interests of the administration at heart. It seems any vetting process Mr. Mondale disagrees with is irrational.
“Many of the ideas that Bush has subsequently bought into have proved offensive to the values of the Constitution and have been embarrassingly overturned by the courts.”
What courts? Federal courts with entrenched liberal judges hired during the Carter-Mondale debacle years? What constitution? The evolving one liberals like Mondale believe in or the strict constructionist version that brilliant men like John Roberts and Sam Alito believe in? For those keeping score, President Bush hired them.
Every President wants more power, and every Supreme Court sometimes has to tell the President no. For a true constitutional dictatorship, one should read about FDR.
“The corollary to Cheney’s zealous embrace of secrecy is his near total aversion to the notion of accountability. I’ve never seen a former member of the House of Representatives demonstrate such contempt for Congress — even when it was controlled by his own party. His insistence on invoking executive privilege to block virtually every congressional request for information has been stupefying — it’s almost as if he denies the legitimacy of an equal branch of government. Nor does he exhibit much respect for public opinion, which amounts to indifference toward being held accountable by the people who elected him. ”
Mr. Mondale, have you heard of Hillary Clinton? Perhaps you remember her disastrous attempt at health care reform. As for Cheney’s desire for secrecy, the issues he has tried to keep secret are issues that should be kept secret. It is difficult to conduct a War on Terror when the Jayson Blair Times decides to publish troop movements, getting American soldiers killed. Yes, Mr. Cheney actually has the nerve to not reveal secret information to people who cannot keep their mouths shut, aka bloviating Senators.
Openness in government is vital, but national security is only a cliche to people who think the War on Terror is a bumper sticker. Dick Cheney is not going to go on Oprah, have a good cry, and reveal everything for the sake of healing. Anyone who has friends knows we want the big picture of their lives, but we do not want every painful gory detail. The bottom line is results, and getting things done. If anybody knows what it is like to fail to deliver results, it would be Jimmy Carte and Walter Mondale.
Saving his best comments for last, Mr. Mondale writes, “Since the Carter administration left office, we have been criticized for many things. Yet I remain enormously proud of what we did in those four years, especially that we told the truth, obeyed the law and kept the peace.”
Hey dad…remember when I got an F on that report in school? Aren’t you proud of me that I did not cheat and earned that F the honest way? Was that not a fine moment for both of us? Remember the ticker tape parade you gave me for it?
Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale may have obeyed the law. Big deal. They are supposed to do that. Comedian Damon Wayans rightly points out that people who brag about taking care of their kids are pathetic because “people are supposed to take care of their kids.”
They did not keep the peace. They surrendered. They allowed hostages to be taken. The economy was a disaster, and it took Ronald Reagan to bring dignity back to America.
Walter Mondale is as exciting and relevant as ever. As I said, in a world with nothing else going on, on a beautiful sunny Summer day, on a day when I wanted to write a quick column that most people would not read, I took pity on him and gave him a few moments of attention.
Perhaps the Jayson Blair Times next Sunday can print an article detailing the late Lady Bird Johnson’s opinion of President Bush. Or maybe they will get that Lindsay Lohan interview and admit that they just needed to fill space on a page.