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: