The Magazine


Oct 5, 1998, Vol. 4, No. 04 • By TUCKER CARLSON
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But what about the 1988 column in which Lamm suggested that legislators impose "a weight limit" on newborns "under which no heroics would be permitted"? Would she take the same argument to the Senate floor? And how about the column she wrote a year earlier in which she suggested that lawmakers "impose an age limit of 55 for public funding and insurance payments for the more expensive [organ] transplants"? How will that play with the AARP? Jabara doesn't miss a beat. "She would never, ever advocate legislation on that. That would be outrageous."

Not surprisingly, no one in the Lamm campaign wants to spend a lot of time talking about the candidate's former career as a pundit. Instead, Lamm is hoping to undermine Campbell's support by pointing out that as a senator he has moved steadily rightward since switching to the Republican party in 1995. During the 1992 campaign, for example, Campbell boasted of his "100 percent rating with the National Abortion

Rights Action League." (That year, NARAL spent at least $ 200,000 in his behalf.) Once he became a Republican, Campbell voted to restrict access to abortion for women on overseas military bases. Lamm describes this as a "flip-flop," and it may be. Yet few Campbell supporters are likely to care.

Campbell's popularity in Colorado seems to have more to do with his image as a western man of action than with specific votes he has cast. And Campbell's image is one thing that hasn't changed since 1992. Ads that ran during his first campaign stressed Campbell's tough early life and subsequent personal achievements. "Imagine this," began one such spot. "A young Native American. His mother the victim of tuberculosis, his father of chronic alcoholism." By the time the ad was over, viewers had learned about Campbell's experiences in an orphanage, as a Korean War veteran, schoolteacher, paramedic, Olympic athlete, military policeman, agricultural worker, husband, father, and rancher. Just when you thought Campbell's c.v. couldn't get more packed, the ad went on to say that Campbell was an Indian chief (of the Northern Cheyenne), as well as a committed environmentalist. The commercial ended with Campbell riding his horse across an open prairie.

It was a winning image, and the 1998 Campbell campaign is likely to emphasize that the senator is still the rough-hewn individualist he's been since the beginning. "I've always had motorcycles," Campbell told the Rocky Mountain News this summer. "I've always worn a ponytail. I haven't owned shoes since 1964 [only boots, one gathers]. Why should I stop all that just because I'm in public office?"

Dottie Lamm, meanwhile, is still trying to define her image for Colorado voters. The latest Clinton scandals may have helped. A longtime Clinton supporter, Lamm now says she would not welcome a fund-raising visit from the president, despite the fact her campaign badly needs the money. What the president did with Monica Lewinsky, she says, was simply too "immoral." And, Lamm explains brightly, "the whole theme of my campaign is moral values. We've got a crisis of moral values in this country."

Dottie Lamm as Bill Bennett. It may be the unlikeliest image of all.

Tucker Carlson is a staff writer for THE WEEKLY STANDARD.