This 1985 Democratic Party response to President Ronald Reagan's State of the Union address is, if nothing else, a vivid reminder that the state of our national production values has improved tenfold since then:
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UPDATE: Not so fast, Buzzfeed! Reason's Jesse Walker wrote about that video back in 2010. Excerpt:
Every now and then, someone tries a different approach [to responding to State of the Union addresses]. A few times in the '80s, for example, the Dems decided to fill their slot with what amounted to infomercials for the Democratic Party. These tone-deaf programs reached their nadir in 1985, with a show hosted by a young Arkansas governor named Bill Clinton. Just two months before, Ronald Reagan had defeated Walter Mondale in a landslide. The stars of the State of the Union response were a series of purportedly typical Democratic voters, each of whom seemed to have been selected to appeal to those young, upwardly mobile Americans who wished the party had nominated Gary Hart instead. Indeed, the evening's only reference to Mondale came when one of the interviewees attacked the candidate's pledge to raise taxes. A spokesman for the Democratic National Committee explained the strategy to the press: "We needed to tell the American people we were wrong."
Did it work? That spokesman's name is Terry Michael; these days he considers himself a libertarian and occasionally contributes to Reason. "I think it was really dumb," he tells me. "In the aftermath of the slaughtering we took in November '84, there was this zeitgeist within the party 'leadership' that we were being out-communicated by the Great Communicator and his communication wizards." Aside from backing down from Mondale's suicidal tax pledge, it "never occurred to our brilliant thinkers that it was the message, not the medium, that did us in."