Former vice president Walter Mondale makes a passionate, timely argument for American liberalism in this revealing and momentous political memoir.
For more than five decades in public life, Walter Mondale has played a leading role in America’s movement for social change—in civil rights, environmentalism, consumer protection, and women’s rights—and helped to forge the modern Democratic Party.
In The Good Fight, Mondale traces his evolution from a young Minnesota attorney general, whose mentor was Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, into a U.S. senator himself. He was instrumental in pushing President Johnson’s Great Society legislation through Congress and battled for housing equality, against poverty and discrimination, and for more oversight of the FBI and CIA. Mondale’s years as a senator spanned the national turmoil of the Nixon administration; its ultimate self-destruction in the Watergate scandal would change the course of his own political fortunes.
Chosen as running mate for Jimmy Carter’s successful 1976 campaign, Mondale served as vice president for four years. With an office in the White House, he invented the modern vice presidency; his inside look at the Carter administration will fascinate students of American history as he recalls how he and Carter confronted the energy crisis, the Iran hostage crisis, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and other crucial events, many of which reverberate to the present day.
Carter’s loss to Ronald Reagan in the 1980 election set the stage for Mondale’s own campaign against Reagan in 1984, when he ran with Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman on a major party ticket; this progressive decision would forever change the dynamic of presidential elections.
With the 1992 election of President Clinton, Mondale was named ambassador to Japan. His intriguing memoir ends with his frank assessment of the Bush-Cheney administration and the first two years of the presidency of Barack Obama. Just as indispensably, he charts the evolution of Democratic liberalism from John F. Kennedy to Clinton to Obama while spelling out the principles required to restore the United States as a model of progressive government.
The Good Fight is replete with Mondale’s accounts of the many American political heavyweights he encountered as either an ally or as an opponent, including JFK, Johnson, Humphrey, Nixon, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Senator Gary Hart, Reagan, Clinton, and many others.
Eloquent and engaging, The Good Fight illuminates Mondale’s philosophies on opportunity, governmental accountability, decency in politics, and constitutional democracy, while chronicling the evolution of a man and the country in which he is lucky enough to live.
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 40s and 50s, 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.
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The Good Fight
The selection from Goodreads which was Walter Mondale's description of his work as attorney general on many influential cases including civil rights, consumer protection and limits to governmental intrusion violating the Bill of Rights makes the book, in my view, essential reading for anyone with a passion for the law and for the judicial system. Good jurisprudence has certain standards which our country has had to relearn repeatedly but which we should not forsake, according to the author. Mondale does not write as if he were the only good thinker but continually points out the people with insight, both in his home state of Minnesota and in other places, who informed his understanding of the role of Attorney General.
The book is dedicated to Joan and to his family, but gives special consideration to those persons who went on the road with him as he campaigned for other political candidates, and this selection about his travels makes the book lively and entertaining. One can detect ominously droll remarks about some of the real hardships put upon those who, like him, were having to
draw a very fine distinction between justice and overreaching which would cause damage. The bleacher incident in Northfield, Minnesota is one tiny case which puts Northfield on his map.