Walter Mondale for U.S. Senate

Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race has become perhaps the most closely watched race in the country and voters must be especially considerate when selecting a favorite candidate. Because of the complications of the race and all of the volatile, unexpected events that have recently transpired, many voters will be influenced by several different factors. Some might vote to honor the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, others to protest what they considered a partisan memorial service. Some might vote to ensure Republican Norm Coleman does not get elected, while others might vote to ensure that one of the two third-party candidates gets elected. Ultimately, however, there must be one choice, and the outcome of almost any calculus is the same: Democratic former Vice President Walter “Fritz” Mondale is the best candidate for the future of Minnesota.

Wellstone’s death was unfortunate and tragic, but it was yet another unexpected event during a period of bizarre political occurrences. Few predicted in 1998 a former professional wrestler referred to as “The Body” would win as an independent over two popular, primary-party candidates. And even afterward, during the 2000 election, fewer still would have predicted the months of legal challenges or the ultimate result. Although the crash occurred so close to Election Day, it is important Minnesotans remember his service to our state and that we participate in the democratic process.

Mondale is the best choice in this process because of the length and breadth of his experience and his adherence to Minnesota’s values. He was appointed to the Senate for the two-year remainder of Hubert H. Humphrey’s term and was elected for two remaining terms. He served as vice president under President Jimmy Carter and was considered one of the most involved occupants of that office, as he traveled to Africa, Asia and Europe representing that administration. In 1993, President Clinton appointed him as ambassador to Japan, a post he held until 1996. While Coleman is subtly, indirectly criticizing Mondale’s age, it is this fact that has actually made him so experienced and well-prepared. Mondale’s 14 years of experience in the Senate alone indicate that he knows something about how it works, and he would immediately be elevated in to the leadership of the Senate. In comparison, his three challengers don’t have even close to the same combined experience.

Mondale is also the best choice because of his position on all of the important issues. Like Wellstone, Mondale was against authorizing the use of force against Iraq without first securing U.N. authorization.

“The U.N. is an imperfect body, but we should use it whenever we can because it gives us legitimacy and gives us moral authority as well as political authority,” Mondale said. He would have voted against school vouchers, as well as the George W. Bush administration’s $1.35 trillion tax cut, which he said was too generous to the wealthy and would not improve the economy. He is against privatization of Social Security, as he argues that this would be a “dreadful idea, as the recent stock market trends have demonstrated” because the program should provide a moderate level of economic security, not wealth.

Mondale has consistently supported abortion rights as well, remaining an unequivocal supporter throughout his political career. And although Mondale supports international trade agreements, and Wellstone was one of the most formidable opponents of NAFTA and GATT, they do share the same concerns. Mondale has long supported environmental protection as well as equal trade practices. As ambassador to Japan he was a vocal opponent of the practice of “dumping,” as Japan flooded U.S. markets with underpriced goods while limiting the import of U.S. goods.

Because of the complexities of the race, there are other considerations as well. Minnesotans are fortunate to have four major party candidates to choose from, two of which will help decide the future of the Independence and Green parties. Green Party candidate Ray Tricomo does have some unique perspectives, as he is the only one articulating that perhaps pharmaceutical companies are encouraging Americans to be overmedicated. Independence Party candidate Jim Moore was considerate about diverting funding from a national missile defense system to strengthen the U.S. Coast Guard in order to more effectively respond to more likely chemical or biological attacks.

Ultimately, Minnesotans must consider all of these factors when selecting the best person to represent the state in the next election. However, after all of the factors are considered and all of the candidates compared to one another, the experience of Walter Mondale is most suitable for Minnesota.