Video: Romney Locks Up 1980s Lying Car Salesman Vote

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2d7dKEfB7dU&feature=youtu.be">Screenshot courtesy of YouTube</a>

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

It’s an October surprise—October 1988, maybe: Reagan-era TV pitchman “Joe Isuzu” has endorsed Mitt Romney!

In a series of iconic commercials, Joe Isuzu was the Japanese car company’s ballyhooed on-air spokesman through the late ’80s, as well-known and zeitgeisty as later ad stars like “the most interesting man in the world” and the “Can you hear me now?” guy. Played by longtime character actor David Leisure (you know, the Hare Krishna in Airplane), Joe was an amusingly upbeat liar, making ever-more mendacious claims about Isuzu vehicles and capping them off with the tagline “You have my word on it.” (Relive shaky YouTube clips of his greatest hits at the bottom of this post.)

Apparently, Joe Isuzu finds a lot to like in Mitt Romney’s fast-and-loose approach to political truthiness. Thanks to Leisure and comedy producer Martin Lewis, the car salesman is back to endorse the GOP presidential candidate with some more Joe-like promises:

Of course, this isn’t the first time Joe Isuzu has penetrated the American political consciousness. The pop-culture character inspired this line of attack against Vice President George H.W. Bush’s pie-in-the-sky fiscal plan by Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis in a 1988 presidential debate:

Given how that race turned out for Dukakis, Joe Isuzu’s political influence was as effective as an underpowered compact pickup truck.

For some blasts from the past, check out these vintage Joe Isuzu ads:

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate