Ever-searching for an edge in the coming presidential campaign, the Democrats have taken a sticky page out of the Abercrombie & Fitch catalog and issued a calendar for 2004 featuring scantily-clad Democrat women. Egad, where are the feminists on this?

I hate to say this, but I have seen a few pages of this calendar and I must say I am disappointed. Is this the best team the Ds can field? Are these the best-looking babes the left could produce?

There was a time when the party of fun and babes was the Democrats. It was the party party. The party of hemp and Heinekens. The Democrats were the bell-bottomed proletariat. The Republicans were the elite, starched-collar bourgeoisie. But the times they are a changin'.

These days, hip Dennis Miller is stumping for George W. Who have the Dems got? Bombastic Al Franken? That old retread James Carville? Tune in Fox News Channel and brilliant, blonde, babes of the Republican persuasion parade as if on an intellectual runway most of the day. The closest thing the Dems have to Ann Coulter is Ariana Huffington or maybe Jeananne Garafalo.

Susan Estrich looks like she must have been a flirtatious party girl in her youth, almost the same vintage as Gloria Steinem. Right now, she's flirting with the political right. No wonder the Democrats are in trouble. The Republicans have actually become the party of the young people featuring such lights as Kelly Anne Conway and Michelle Malkin. The Democrats are the old, effete, failed socialists of the last century. They're still muttering in their beer that they wuz robbed in 2000. They're offering us what, Molly Ivins? Helen Thomas?

The problem is the Democrats have not moved with the times. Their babes are now crones and their Kennedyesque firebrands are wearing toupees and popping Viagra. Bill Clinton, last of the tie-died lovers, who is working his former presidency for all it's worth, is just vacuuming up all the money from the same sources Democrat candidates are trying to tap. He's got his bachelor retirement pad in Ireland all set up.

Ideologically, Democrats are still working the same played-out mine, denouncing the worst economy since we chased King George out of the colonies. And, of course, they're complaining about budget cuts that cause people across the nation to die of starvation like North Koreans, and undercut critical diversity and gender studies in the public schools and universities.

Their venerable tactic of giving away everything to everybody has been trumped n stolen — lock-box and barrel by George (The Spender) Bush, who asserts he can increase revenue by cutting taxes, give oldsters all the health care they deserve, and still create the most spectacular economic recovery Alan Greenspan ever saw. And the heck of it is he seems to be doing it.

Note that the perception of spending is now minimized by comparing it not to the size of the budget, but to the entire gross domestic product of the nation. Will the day come when spending will be compared to the distance from the earth to the moon as expressed in centimeters? What's a Democrat to do? So far, it seems only to complain that Bush is spending either too much or too little or both.

Their candidates, called by some The Nine Mondales, have the stink of desperation about them. In their state meeting in Florida, all they could do was hiss about the election of 2000. Griping about the past and griping about the present won't win them any more control over the future.

We all know that you can't beat something with nothing. And the only thing they have to nourish them is their hatred for George Bush. Listen to the music they sing, "We got plenty of nothin'." And who is that singing "Happy days are here again?" It's the Republicans. And you thought they didn't even know how to carry a tune.

Lionel Waxman's Flashpoint commentaries are heard daily on radio stations nationwide, including KJLL AM 1330 in Tucson and are published in The Daily Territorial. He can be reached at territorial@waxmanmedia.com.