Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Former Vice President Walter “Fritz” Mondale Has Died

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 19, 2021

Former Vice President Walter F. Mondale, photographed at his Mill District condo on April 30, 2019, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In 2007, former-Vice President Walter “Fritz” Mondale (1928-2021) was asked to describe his proudest accomplishment in President Jimmy Carter’s administration.

He said, “We told the truth, we obeyed the law, and we kept the peace. It may not sound like much, but if you’ve got that, you can handle the rest.”

Fritz Mondale died peacefully in his sleep, April 19, 2021, of natural causes, surrounded by family, at his Minneapolis, Minnesota home, aged 93.

President Biden acknowledged Mondale’s passing in remarks made from the White House, and said in part that,

“Through his work as a Senator, he showed me what was possible. He may have been modest and unassuming in manner, but he was unwavering in his pursuit of progress; instrumental in passing laws like the Fair Housing Act to prevent racial discrimination in housing, Title IX to provide more opportunities for women, and laws to protect our environment. There have been few senators, before or since, who commanded such universal respect.

“He not only created a path for himself, he helped others do the same. Walter Mondale was the first presidential nominee of either party to select a woman as his running mate, and I know how pleased he was to be able to see Kamala Harris become Vice President.

“In accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination for President, he described the values he was taught to live by: “to play by the rules; to tell the truth; to obey the law; to care for others; to love our country; to cherish our faith.”

“As a Senator, an Ambassador, a Vice President, and a candidate for President, he lived and spread those values.”

Then-former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, LEFT, and Vice Presidential running mate Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale celebrate Democratic primary victories at Mondale campaign headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on March 13, 1984.

Walter Mondale made history by being the first candidate of any party to name a female as a Vice Presidential running mate.

He chose U.S. Representative Geraldine A. Ferraro of New York, as his running mate when he campaigned as the Democratic nominee for President in the 1984 General Election.

Carter also fundamentally changed the Vice Presidency. Up until his term of office, he thought the Vice Presidency had historically been a “wasted national asset,” and was determined to change the nature of the office.

He was the first to promise that the Vice President would have full access to all classified documents, and that Mondale would be allowed to participate in any meeting he wished, whether it was in the Oval Office or elsewhere.

Some pundits have negatively criticized the Carter administration, citing economic woes wrought earlier by the Saudi oil embargo, then the Iran oil crisis which affected jobs and the economy, and later, the hostage crisis in the last year of his term, most notably, though there were other domestic matters for which he is criticized.

However, he tackled the Saudi oil embargo problem by obtaining promise from Saudi Crown Prince Fand that Saudi Arabia would not embargo oil to the United States, and would contribute $50 million for a joint solar‐energy research program with the United States, which amount would be matched by the United States.

Carter practically initiated the renewable energy sector, energy conservation, and increased energy efficiency efforts, and set an example to follow by placing solar collectors atop the White House. In 1978, he also initiated an increase in the 1975 CAFE standards which raised fuel economy in automobiles. And now, we bemoan cars that don’t get at least 20mpg on average. And production of renewable energy through research and development has brought new jobs, economic opportunities, and reduced energy costs to many.

He famously bailed out Chrysler Corporation, which then roared back to life under CEO Lee Iacocca’s leadership and direction.

He also returned control of the Panama Canal to the Panamanian government.

He signed the Camp David Peace Accords with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and Israeli President Menachem Begin.

POTUS Carter signed the Airline Deregulation Act, which some say has been a mixed bag, but Federal deregulation of control over fares, routes, and market entry of new airlines allowed airlines to lower prices, establish routes, increase air carrier business opportunities, and has increased airline service overall.

And beer… in 1978 POTUS Carter signed HR 1337 authored by CA Senator Alan Cranston, which eliminated Prohibition Era laws forbidding homebrewing of beer at the Federal level, thus allowing private citizens to legally brew their own beer at home. As such, he could be considered the “father” of modern craft brewing, which is now a multi-billion dollar industry.

On the whole, as Fritz stated, truth-telling, obedience to the rule of law, and peace keeping are indeed fundamental, and often-overlooked points, which are also frequently taken for granted in administrations, for which we have yearned the past 4 long years.

Perhaps the Biden administration will make the Presidency boring again.

We can only hope.

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