Activist Dick Gregory recently gave a speech for the Ford Hall Forum that was recorded by NPR. Today, Fresh Air will play an excerpt of that speech, on the subject "Are Minorities Really Powerless?" The topics addressed in the excerpt are the 1980 presidential election, Gregory's distaste for the concept of "voting for the lessor of two evils," and the "choicelessness" the common voter feels. The speech was given prior to the election.
The civil rights leader is running for president as a Democrat on a platform of supporting racial minorities and the economically disadvantaged. Despite the appeal of his positions, many in his party doubt whether he has the ability to defeat Ronald Reagan.
Activist Eleanor Smeal was the president of the National Organization for Women (NOW) from 1977-1982. She is also the author of "Why and How Women Will Elect the Next President." Smeal's book examines the political "gender gap," women's political issues, organizing women, getting out the vote, and women running for election. Smeal joins the show to discuss the women's movement and the upcoming election in which Smeal endorses Walter Mondale.
Former Democratic congressperson and presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy has a new memoir about his political career called Up 'til Now. He talks to Fresh Air's Terry Gross about the tumultuous Vietnam War years.
Television Critic David Bianculli previews the HBO spoof of political campaigns, "Tanner 88: The Dark Horse." Unlike earlier fabricated campaigns like "Pat Paulsen for President," "Tanner 88" takes its politics seriously. The script is written by "Doonesbury" cartoonist Garry Trudeau, and the direction is by Robert Altman.
The first of a two-part interview with comedian and political satirist Al Franken. Along with partner Tom Davis, Franken has written for and performed on "Saturday Night Live" since 1975. This first part focuses on Franken's political satire, which is in full bloom during the current presidential primary season.
Film director Robert Altman. He's best known for the 1975 film "Nashville," a free-form mosaic of American life as seen through 24 characters involved in a political rally. His other films include "3 Women," a hypnotic film about the troubled friendship of three troubled women. Altman has been working in television recently, directing the remake of the classic 1953 movie "The Caine Mutiny" that aired earlier this month on CBS.
Columnist Christopher Matthews. His first book, Hardball: How Politics is Played, is a humorous, anecdotal account of the 24-hour struggle for power and position that politicians happily immerse themselves in. The book has been described as a modern version of The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli. Matthews is a former speechwriter to President Jimmy Carter and senior aide and spokesman to former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill.
TV critic David Bianculli compares the recent Bush/Dukakis presidential debate to a boxing match, filled with verbal jabs. He considers the efficacy of their attacks -- one-liners, put-downs, and pre-written ad-libs -- in highlighting their policy differences.