ACRU

Ken Blackwell: November’s Coming: Give ‘Em Fritz

ACRU Senior Fellow Ken Blackwell wrote this column appearing September 23, 2010, on the The American Thinker website.

Fritz Mondale has weighed in. Jimmy Carter’s vice president surely has not helped President Obama. He just gave an interview to the fashionably liberal New Yorker Magazine. That famously with-it publication titled its Mondale piece “Back to the Seventies.” Oh my. If there’s one comparison that President Obama hopes voters won’t make, it’s likening him to President Carter.

Mondale, like Yogi Berra, says it’s like déjà vu all over again. When the public sours on you, Fritz says, “it’s like a unique four-year marriage contract, in which divorce is not an option.” Mondale offered a reprise of his stormy tenure as vice president during Jimmy Carter’s unhappy single term. “People think the president is the only one who can fix their problems. And, if he doesn’t produce solutions, I’m telling you — when a person loses a job, or can’t feed his family, or can’t keep his house, he is no longer rational. They become angry, they strike out — and that’s what you have now. If you’re President, they say, ‘Do something!'”

Can this possibly help the embattled Obama administration? Does anyone want to have his administration linked to the misery index of Jimmy Carter? Fritz went on. And on.

“The public expectations are so outsized.”

Really? Now whose fault might that be? Who was it who promised that “the planet will begin to heal. The oceans will cease to rise”? The oceans have been rising, scientists tell us, for about twelve thousand years. Even King Canute eventually knew enough not to expect to stop the tides.

We were supposed to be entering the post-partisan era. Then why did Mr. Mondale’s party nominate the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate in 2008? The signature piece of legislation passed by the Obama administration was the health care takeover. It was so liberal that it could not get a single Republican vote. The only thing bipartisan about ObamaCare was the opposition to it.

Fritz Mondale is out with a new book of memoirs. They should be significant. No other politician in American history can match Mondale’s record. He lost forty-nine states to Ronald Reagan in 1984, carrying only his home state of Minnesota. And he carried that by only a whisker. Not content with that, he came out of retirement in 2002 to run for the U.S. Senate seat that had been held by the late Sen. Paul Wellstone. Mondale managed to lose that race, thereby becoming the only man in U.S. history to lose statewide elections in all fifty states.

Mondale titles his book The Good Fight: A Life in Liberal Politics. I have to salute our former veep. At least he’s willing to man up and accept the title of “liberal.” His fellow liberals have been running away from that name like scalded dogs. They call themselves progressives. Of course, that’s a bit like saying rattlesnake is really good, that it tastes like chicken. Pretty soon, it ruins the taste of chicken.

It’s fascinating to see Mr. Mondale take his title from Scripture. St. Paul used it first:

In Second Timothy, the Apostle wrote: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

In his golden years, it’s good to see Mr. Mondale unafraid to incorporate biblical language, but I suspect that his “good fight” has been keeping the faith in every liberal cause, not for the faith in a Savior whom St. Paul described.

This is the same Fritz Mondale who criticized President Reagan for publicly quoting the Bible, for such acts as declaring 1983 the Year of the Bible. Mondale then was worried about breaching the famous wall of separation between church and state.

Mondale, however, is a living example of Minnesota Nice. It was, after all, Mondale’s Unitarian forbears who, Garrison Keillor tells us, tried to convert the Ojibwa Indians using interpretive dance.

I’m hoping Mr. Mondale will explain his sponsorship of a famous child care bill back in 1971. That bill — vetoed by President Nixon — would have eliminated home-based and church-based child care in America. It would have taxed all Americans to create a federally run, secular system of raising little children.

Liberals continued to beat the nationalized child care drum for decades. When Reagan’s Education Secretary, Bill Bennett, appeared before a liberal committee chairman on Capitol Hill, the congressman demanded to know why the U.S. was so far behind other countries. Why, the progressive complained, even the Soviet Union provides free day care for all its workers’ children.

Secretary Bennett was ready. He informed the Chairman, with respect, that Raisa Gorbachev tells us why the USSR provides free, secular day care. They don’t want little Ivan and little Anna being raised by their grandmother and grandfather, who teach them to believe in God.

If Mondale had had his way back then, we might have seen two generations of Americans children raised without ever being allowed to say grace over cookies and milk. Wouldn’t that have been special?

With undimmed faith in liberal policies like these, President Obama has tried to govern America from the far left. Even secular liberal Fritz Mondale thinks it’s time to go to confession. He says: “We’re going through this drama again. November might be a disaster.”