Tags: Mondale: | Haunted | Carter | Era | and | High-Tax | Anti-Defense

Mondale: Haunted by Carter Era and High-Tax, Anti-Defense Past

Monday, 04 November 2002 12:00 AM

In turning to this politician whose time has passed, Democrats might be reminding voters that Jimmy Carter’s vice president slept through the Cold War.

While President Ronald Reagan was laying the plans for the downfall of the Soviet Union, Mondale charged he had "ceded the moral high ground to Moscow.”

In his failed attempt to oust the Gipper from the White House in 1984, the Minnesotan complained Reagan was "the first president since Herbert Hoover” who had not met with the Soviets.

What he did not know, of course, was that at that very time, Reagan was putting in place the strategy that would bring about the Soviet Union’s downfall. In his second term, Reagan did meet with the Soviets, but not before restoring America’s military strength, which the Carter-Mondale administration had eroded. While Reagan was working toward negotiating from strength, Mondale was calling for annual meetings.

The Mondale campaign is not playing up the candidate’s role in the disastrous Carter regime.

Drawing on accounts of Anatoly Dobrynin, longtime Soviet ambassador to the U.S., Peter Schweizer’s book "

The Senate candidate apparently won’t talk about this. Efforts by NewsMax to get his campaign to say whether Mondale was aware of these maneuvers by Carter and whether he approves of them were not successful as of press time.

However, in his memoirs, Reagan’s Secretary of State George Schultz cites a New York Times account of Sept. 28, 1984 that "Mondale reported that he had told Gromyko that if elected, he would order a freeze on all new weapons developments for six months to give an incentive for the Soviet Union to agree to a summit.” Never mind that the Soviets had shown time and time again that they viewed that kind of diplomacy as a sign of weakness and a green light to go full speed ahead on their own arms buildup.

One of Mondale’s commercials during the 1984 presidential race tried to paper over his soft approach to military strength by featuring him standing on the deck of the Nimitz watching F-14s take off.

That gave Reagan a perfect opening during the Oct. 28, 1984 debate in Kansas City.

"If he had had his way when the Nimitz was being planned,” said the president, "he would have been deep in water out there because there wouldn’t have been any Nimitz to stand on. He was against it."

"He was against the F-14 fighter, he was against the M-1 tank, he was against the B-1 bomber, he wanted to cut the salary of all the military, he wanted to bring home half of the American forces in Europe, and he has a record of weakness with regard to our national defense that is second to none.

"Indeed, he was on that side virtually throughout all his years in the Senate, and he opposed even President Carter when, toward the end of his term, President Carter wanted to increase the defense budget.”

When President Reagan intervened in Grenada and saved that hapless state from the jaws of a planned communist takeover and beachhead for another Soviet surrogate in this hemisphere, Mondale whined that the action "undermines our ability to effectively criticize what the Soviets have done in their brutal intervention in Afghanistan, in Poland, and elsewhere.” Talk about moral equivalence.

With "axis of evil” forces working toward nuclear missile capability, voters in Minnesota might recall that Mondale took up the left-wing battle cry against Reagan’s proposal for the Strategic Defense Initiative, which he ridiculed as "Star Wars.” Candidate Mondale might be required to explain this stance given that America today has absolutely no defense against a missile attack, either from terrorist states or from hostile nations such as China.

Lou Cannon’s "President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime” reports that when pollsters tested the Mondale team’s "Star Wars” commercials, it was found that "they actually helped Reagan.”

Walter Mondale never saw a tax he didn’t like. When nominated by the "San Francisco Democrats” to head their ticket, he promptly promised to raise taxes and go after the "rich.” Never mind that the Reagan tax cuts had put the country in the midst of what one writer later defined as "seven fat years.”

Later someone asked him, how he defined "rich.” Any family making more than $60,000, the Democrat candidate replied.

That prompted Los Angeles executive John Adams to respond in Newsweek’s "My Turn” column: "Me rich? Good Lord, I live in a three-bedroom home in a nice but hardly chic neighborhood. Our family car is a ’79 Mercury station wagon. The children attend private schools, but to offset part of the cost, my wife keeps a sharp eye out for sales and shuts off the air-conditioner on all but the worst summer days to save on energy expenses. I inherited nothing from my parents when they died, did not attend a money-college with an old boy network, and have basically worked like a Trojan to get where I am and own what I do.”

The Mondale campaign is not recalling these positions. If they are brought to the attention of Minnesotans, the voters there may come to see their retread candidate as another Wellstone without the energetic humor. Add to that the turnoff of the frenzied partisan "memorial service” supposedly in Wellstone’s honor, and Mondale ends up with considerable baggage.

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In turning to this politician whose time has passed, Democrats might be reminding voters that Jimmy Carter's vice president slept through the Cold War. While President Ronald Reagan was laying the plans for the downfall of the Soviet Union, Mondale charged he had ceded...
Monday, 04 November 2002 12:00 AM
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