The Walter Mondale Lesson


Core philosophy of the Democratic party, summed up in 11 seconds. Less money in your pockets, more money for the federal government's entitlement programs.

Of course, the Republicans sound more like the Democrats today. Even Reagan didn't fully "walk his talk" - but he did have the right message on some issues:


The following article appeared in the Albuquerque Journal of May 31, 1985:

"Reagan Urges 'Rebellion' On Taxes, Government

WILLIAMSBURG, VA. President Reagan, promoting his new tax plan on the 22Oth anniversary of a revolutionary speech here by Patrick Henry, urged "rebellion" against Washington Thursday and expressed sympathy for the "cult of cheating" among American taxpayers.

"It's not considered bad behavior," Reagan said of tax cheating and referring to modern American morals. "After all, goes this thinking, what's immoral about cheating a system that is itself a cheat? That isn't a sin, it's a duty.

"Our federal tax system is, in short, utterly impossible, utterly unjust and completely counterproductive. It has earned a rebellion. And it's time we rebelled."

The outdoor crowd of several thousand, assembled on a sunny, picture-postcard day, erupted into cheers and applause as the president issued his now-familiar call for "a second American revolution."

In Williamsburg, Reagan seemed to equate his own campaign for tax simplification with the revolutionary cause of Patrick Henry, who on May 30, 1765, dramatically stood in the Virginia House of Burgesses and demanded repeal of the Stamp Act that recently had been imposed on colonists by their mother country England.

Henry's call for "tax reform" prompted immediate cries of "treason," but his speech fueled a revolutionary fervor that culminated 13 months later in the Declaration of Independence.

Speaking on the steps of the colonial capitol where Henry had orated, Reagan said the federal income tax is "so rigged, so unfair, that it corrupts otherwise honest people by encouraging them to cheat.... The current system just doesn't work anymore. The underground economy and the cult of cheating prove this is so."

Reagan recalled that the Founding Fathers argued, "Why should the fruits of our labors go to the crown across the sea?" He added, "in the same sense, we ask today, why should the fruits of our labors go to the capital across the (Potomac) river?"

The president declared, "Now is the time, in short, to get the federal government off our backs and out of our way."

Attacking both Washington and the income tax as symbols of each other will be a key feature of Reagan's strategy for selling his tax plan, particularly when he travels to middle class, family-oriented communities.

Leaving the ghost of Patrick Henry, Reagan flew later to the Main Street world of Sinclair Lewis in Oshkosh, Wis..

Speaking at the Winnebago County Courthouse Reagan asked: "Do the people of Oshkosh want our tax system to be complicated and unfair?"

"No," came the shouted reply.

The president asserted: "the answers are just the same every place I know of except for one city - Washington, D.C. Sometimes folks back there are a little slow to catch on. I may need some help."