Walter Mondale RIP - 93

Heavily engaged in domestic and foreign policy, Mondale was the first vice president to have an office in the White House and had unprecedented, frequent access to the president.


Dear Team,

Well my time has come. I am eager to rejoin Joan and Eleanor. Before I Go I wanted to let you know how much you mean to me. Never has a public servant had a better group of people working at their side!

Together we have accomplished so much and I know you will keep up the good fight.

Joe in the White House certainly helps.

I always knew it would be okay if I arrived some place and was greeted by one of you!

My best to all of you!


The first time I’d ever heard of Walter Mondale was when they were passing out kiddie ballots for the '84 Presidential Election in our school. I was in the first grade. I didn’t know who I should vote for, Reagan or Mondale, but then the teacher mentioned that Mr. Mondale was from Minnesota, and that plank was all that was needed to secure my vote. You might have heard that he lost the real election, though.

He got an honest to goodness vote from me many years later. Senator Paul Wellstone was about to win reelection – probably, possibly not – when his plane went down in some cold Minnesotan woods. It was eleven days before Election Day. The local DFLers buzzed in their back rooms (smoky? No, everyone had to smoke their cigarettes outside by this point in history) trying to come up with someone, anyone who could fill Paul’s small yet inspiring shoes. There was a five day moratorium on campaigning. There was a controversial memorial service and rally, and then good old Fritz was announced as the successor nominee. His platform was “hey, I was Vice President, and a two-term Senator before that.” He had six days to campaign against the Republican stuffed shirt and managed to get one debate in. Election Day came and went, and Mondale lost to the stuffed shirt by about fifty thousand votes, or 2ish percent of the vote. Absentee votes that had gone to Wellstone still counted for Wellstone, but that was only about ten thousand voters and 0.5% of the vote. Maybe enough Minnesotans were angry at how partisan the Wellstone memorial wound up being that they voted for the other guy. Maybe they were still so freaked out about 9/11 that they wanted to stick with W. and the GOP crew. Maybe they were already salivating at the chance to go jump on Iraq and Mondale would have wagged his principled finger at that.

The world would probably have been better off if he had won instead of lost all those times. But that’s politics.

Sorry that Minnesota is taking up so much of the news lately. We do think we’re pretty interesting, but it would be nice to calm down for a few years.

Walter Mondale was a genuinely good man.