Source:Mark Russell PBS– political satirist Mark Russell talking about campaign 1980.
Source:The Daily Times
“Political comedian & musical satirist Mark Russell looks back at the 1980 presidential campaign. Remember when George H.W. Bush was against Reagan before he was for him? Do you remember when Ted Kennedy fought President Carter for the Democratic nomination? If you’re too young to remember, forget about the history books and wikipedia; take a hilariously historical look back with your host, Mark Russell.”
From Mark Russell PBS
I agree with Mark Russell that the two most important parts of the 1980 campaign season, was the primary fight in the Democratic Party between a sitting U.S. President in Jimmy Carter and a sitting U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy. For multiple reasons, but I think the two most important and interesting reasons are the facts that a Democrat would challenge another Democrat in The White House, knowing that he could lose and hurt his own party and perhaps even his own future.
The 1980 campaign was also interesting because the Democratic campaign was a contest between someone who didn’t know why they were running for President in the first place, who at least privately didn’t even want to be President, (which might explain why he didn’t know why he was running for President) against someone who didn’t know why they should be reelected President again, because he couldn’t sell his own program, agenda, and successes that he had in his 1st term as President, in Jimmy Carter.
But then go to the general election campaign where you had a former Governor of California in Ronald Reagan whose basic campaign was to make America work again, get tough on Russia, and oh by the way, I’m not Jimmy Carter. But other than the Reagan economic plan of across the board tax cuts, I don’t think American voters got much of an idea of what a Reagan presidency would look like.
Ronald Reagan running against a President Jimmy Carter, whose basic campaign theme seemed to be, he’s not Ronald Reagan. He’s not going to slash Medicare and Social Security or force poor people out of their public housing and kick them off of Welfare.
I think the 1980 political campaign season can be summed up this way: the last two years (1979, 80) were really bad. The problems the country we’re facing were really bad. Americans want a change and new direction. They’re not sure Ronald Reagan is the man to make America work again, but he’s a decent, likable, funny guy and he’s not Jimmy Carter. So they’re going to take a chance on an ex-b-movie actor, who bombed as a b-movie actor, who thinks he can now play President of the United States, over a peanut brain, I mean peanut farmer (understandable mistake) and we’ll see how the country is doing 2 years later when Congress is up for reelection.
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