In Time of Change, Nostalgia Has Appeal

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WASHINGTON — The most noted trend leading up to next week’s elections, of course, has been the emergence of a new generation of conservative leaders — so-called Tea Party candidates who have overturned the old political order in states like Kentucky and Nevada and who vow to confront the aging establishments of both parties in Washington.

And yet, a less noticed undercurrent is pulling politics in the opposite direction, too. The latest polling suggests we may see the election of several venerable politicians to offices they held before, including some who haven’t governed since the days when “apple” and “blackberry” referred primarily to fruit. And this suggests that as much as we talk about closing the book on the last era of American politics, we may be having some trouble letting go.

The poster septuagenarian for this new crop of resurrected office-seekers is Jerry Brown, who was the youngest governor in the country when Californians elected him to the first of two terms in 1974. (Mr. Brown was famous then for dating Linda Ronstadt. You can Google her, or just ask your mom.)...

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