They're back

Posted: Nov 01, 2002 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Hollywood is suddenly infatuated with the 1970s -- and apparently so is the Democrat Party. Tinseltown's flashback fascination is evidenced in shows like "American Dream" and "That '70s Show." And the opposition party's passion for the past is manifest in this year's "off year" election campaigns. Across America, elderly Democrats who should have hung it up years ago have emerged from bell-bottom laden closets to foist upon America the same bad ideas that were rejected over two decades ago. It's like "deja vu all over again." Hanoi Jane Fonda is back. She's this year's biggest soft money contributor to pro-abortion feminists. Seventies icon Phil Donahue is back -- using his new prime-time television show to spew liberal venom at conservatives. In Montana, Democrat Sen. Max Baucus, who's been around since the 1970s, had to go back that far to find a television commercial insinuating that his Republican opponent, Mike Taylor, is a homosexual. And in New Jersey, when the ethically challenged Bob Torricelli lagged in the polls, the Democrats broke the rules, turned back the clock and recycled the geriatric multimillionaire, Frank Lautenberg. Lautenberg, whose previous 18-year Senate run was devoid of statesmanship, claims his signature act of legislation is banning smoking on domestic airline flights. Yet, his liberal credentials are secure. In 1984, he voted for Teddy Kennedy's "nuclear freeze" and, in 1991, opposed military action against Iraq. He voted a dozen times against marriage tax relief and supported the Clinton-Gore 1993 tax increase -- the largest in history. When he stepped down in 2000, he confessed that, "The fact of the matter is the years spent in the Senate have been a large personal inconvenience and effort." Now he's back. But the best example of Democrats turning "back to the future" is the rerun of the dynamic duo that gave us the biggest expansion of the Soviet Empire since World War II, 444 days of hostages in Iran, a communist dictatorship on the mainland of the Americas, gasoline rationing, explosive tax rates, cultural upheaval, stagflation and "malaise." That's right -- that famous '70s mod-squad: Carter-Mondale. A few weeks ago, the liberal-loving Nobel Peace Prize Committee ignored the present, dredged up the past and honored Jimmy Carter for promoting democracy by appeasing despots like those in North Korea and Cuba. Unfortunately for the hapless Europeans who bestow the Peace Prize, a few days after their announcement, the North Koreans had a revelation of their own: Despite personal assurances by dictator Kim Il Sung to Carter in 1994, they really hadn't stopped building nuclear weapons. Darn. Duped again. Just like in the '70s, when Carter was "shocked" by the Ayatollah Khomeini's Iranian-Islamic revolution, "stunned" by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, "surprised" by the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and "disappointed" by the presence of Cuban troops in Africa. And last week, not to be outdone by the Nobel Prize Committee, the Minnesota Democrat Party decided to add insult to injury in the way they chose to replace their Senate candidate after he was killed in a plane crash. No conventional memorial service for this crowd. Instead, they packed the national leadership of their party into a university sports arena and held one whale of a foot-stompin', heart-thumpin', hand-clappin', barn-burnin', get-out-the-vote funeral for Paul Wellstone -- and unveiled their replacement: that 1970s liberal, Walter Mondale. The "retro" Democrats are hoping Mondale can improve on his last effort in 1984, when Ronald Reagan captured 525 electoral votes to Mondale's paltry 13. To make sure he got off to a good start this time, the incredibly tasteless leaders of the Democrat Party turned the Wellstone memorial service into a political shindig. "Mourners" chanted on command, cheered calls to "keep fighting" and booed Republicans -- including Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott. The only thing missing from this shameless circus was a convention-style balloon drop. As he watched, Teddy Kennedy must've been kicking himself for not realizing 40 years ago that funerals are a great way to collect soft money contributions and distribute yard signs. The tawdry display at the Wellstone/Mondale Funeral/Rally was too much for Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura. No stranger to rowdy crowds, the man who once made a living wearing a feather boa while romping around in steel cages with grown men in colorful tights said he felt "violated" by the political tone of the event and was "duped" into attending. But it may be harder to deceive the voters about the Mondale record on Nov. 5. He received a 100 percent rating from the leftist Americans for Democratic Action for his opposition to the F-14, B-1 bomber, MX missile and higher military pay. After Brezhnev invaded Afghanistan in 1979, Mondale said: "It just baffles me why the Soviets these last few years have behaved as they have. And why do they have to build up all those arms?" Now, this same Walter Mondale, older, and apparently no wiser, wants to make a comeback. In New Jersey, Frank Lautenberg wants the same. And liberals, desperate to retain control of the U.S. Senate, are hoping that the voters won't remember their losing legacy. Instead of trying to foist upon us dinosaurs like Mondale and Lautenberg, Democrat leaders should recall the words of Jimmy Carter's vice president back in 1989. When asked to re-enter politics then, Mondale dismissed the suggestion, saying: "One of the requirements of a healthy party is that it renews itself. You can't keep running Walter Mondale for everything." Indeed.