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