Former Vice President Mondale calls upon his five decades of experience in public office to address today’s dangerously polarized political process.
In 1964, when the author came to Washington to fill Hubert Humphrey’s vacated Senate seat, “[a]cross the South, African-Americans couldn’t eat at a lunch counter, couldn’t drink from a public drinking fountain, often couldn’t register to vote.” The Cold War was also a frightening reality, and “nearly 20 percent of Americans lived in poverty.” Liberals in both parties fought together against Southern Democrats and Goldwater Republicans to pass civil-rights legislation. Mondale attributes ending the war in Vietnam to intervention by Senate liberals, which finally forced Lyndon Johnson and, later, Richard Nixon to address the increasing debacles on the ground. The author also examines the significant role of the bipartisan Senate commission—on which he served—in bringing Nixon to account on Watergate and its attendant criminal activities. The author deplores the failure of the Senate to conduct a similar investigation of the actions of the Bush/Cheney administration for what he believes to have been constitutional violations—attempting to use the president’s role as commander-in-chief to “set policy without answering to anyone but themselves,” and employing torture in defiance of the Geneva Accords. Though Mondale argued against many of President Carter’s decisions, he believes that history has yet to give Carter his due. It was Carter, he notes, not Reagan, who first cut back on government programs and “deregulated the airline industry, the trucking industry, and the prices of oil and gas.”
An absorbing insider’s view of more than 50 years of U.S. history.