CAMPAIGN '80 ! ! PRESIDENTIAL
'Despite the obstacles, his candidacy will not go away.
-BY FRANCES FARENTHOLD-
I am voting for John Anderson for president. I consider him the superior candidate. And I am endorsing his candidacy
because I value my vote and, ultimately,
it is a free vote focused on his election and
in support of a candidate. I do not prejudge other voters or predict outcomes.
And I reject the manipulation of my vote
by strategists in my own political party
whether the rationale is fear, i. e. of Reagan or gratitude, i. e. appointments of
women by Carter.
To me, John Anderson is talking sense
to the American people. He proposes constructive measures addressing the issues
of inflation and energy and forcefully promotes the rights of women. John Anderson
is the only major candidate that is not a
saber rattler. He opposes the extravagant and mindless MX missile and the
first strike philosophy that the other two
candidates approve. He actually says that
there should be exacting standards of efficiency and accountability for defense
expenditures and, most importantly, he
would take the necessary steps to complete the Salt II process and, therby, lay
the groundwork for Salt III.
In this election year I have traveled
many miles to arrive at an endorsement
of John Anderson.
I first heard John Anderson in the Iowa
debates and listened. I thought what
judgement the Republican Party would
demonstrate by having him on the ticket.
But that was not to be. To me, he was
someone sensible but distant — distant,
for I am a lifelong Democrat that has been
committed to working within the Democratic Party. In the past, my choices for
Democratic presidential nominees were
not always the ones selected — Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and Eugene McCarthy in
1968, but so be it. I supported the party
nominees freely and openly: a Democrat
was preferable to a Republican because a
Democratic nominee would reflect the
philosophy and advocate the programs of
the Democratic Party.
Almost four years of a Carter administration have altered my perspective. I
do not feel any obligation to the present
Democratic nominee on the basis of party affiliation. For Carter repudiated the
1976 platform and he swallowed significant additions to the 1980 platform by
forced feeding. In other words, his commitment to party platforms are election
A colleague of mine in the Texas legislature once told me that the public has
a week mind. Week. As I observed example after example of Carter's public in-
eptness, I determined that whatever in
tervened I would not have a "week mind."
The accumulations of his record were such
that I could not defend it and felt that
based on his own record a second term
should be denied him. I had come to this
conclusion by the summer of 1979 and
there I stand today.
Without John Anderson's candidacy,
I would have taken a sabbatical from the
electoral process in 1980. With him in
the race, I take a sabbatical from the
Democratic Party. Despite the obstacles,
his candidacy will not go away. The obstacles have included the quasi official
status of the two major parties, the presidential efforts to denigrate the candidacy,
party expenditures to keep him off the
ballot and others. Because Anderson's
candidacy was not moribund by Labor
Day, the proposition now emphasized is
that a vote for Anderson is a vote for
Reagan. Of late, the argument has been
carried a step further to terrify liberals
with the specture of Reagan Supreme
Court appointees. Suffice to say, there is
a Senate Judiciary Committee and a U. S.
My commitment to John Anderson is
reinforced by his advocacy of feminism.
Yesterday and today, it involved grave
political risk for office holders or candidates to stand resolute on feminist issues.
Why? Because opponents of equality are
persistent and supporters are frequently
in disarray and other loyalties pull on
feminists. John Anderson has not only
used the rhetoric of equal rights, he has
consistently voted accordingly. He voted
for the extension of the ERA time-limit.
And on the most basic feminist issue he
has voted consistently for federal funding
of abortions for poor women. It has been
a high risk performance and I intend to
respond to it with my vote.
We have an unabashed feminist in
John Anderson who is the superior candidate who has stepped forward in a year
of leadership crisis and in a year when the
two major parties have floundered and offered the electorate two inadequate candidates. And I ask what feminists are
doing about it? Are we prepared for such
a phenomena? Are our minds sufficiently
free of the two party tradition? Women
have not yet shown a willingness to abandon party ranks and traditional class loyalties. We are mired in our traditions of
timidity. We will only be a constituency
and be recognized as one when we vote as
one. Look again at our choices and the
consequences if we don't in this wearisome political year cut loose from our
If the many Republican women
who support the ERA consider it more
important to elect the Republican nominee than the set-back such an election
constitutes to the women's movement,
this will be an indication that the proponents of equality manifest their irritation
in rhetoric alone.
As the alternative, I ask is Carter
worthy of feminist support? Some will
argue that Carter's lack of commitment
has been a detriment to the ratification
of ERA. Or is it, as I suggest, one more
example of his ineptness? Typically, the
White House announced less than three
weeks before the election that there would
be a reorganization of the White House
staff to push the ERA efforts. One indeed
would have to have a "week mind" to
forget his words in the summer of 1977
after the Supreme Court decision against
federal medicaid for non-therapeutic
abortion: "There are many things in life
that are not fair, that wealthy people can
afford that poor people cannot."
Need I remind feminists of the freeze
treatment directed toward Midge Costanza
and the crude dismissal of Bella Abzug.
Carter has made some worthy appointments of women. Women's groups have
been better organized to push for these
appointments. Welcome as these appointments are for me, they do not create the
burden of undying gratitude. Appointments have been the traditional pattern
to lock-in minority support. The pattern
is to finess the basic issues and obligate
loyalty by appointments.
For several years I have spoken of the
20th Century somen's movement and
compared it to the 19th, bemoaning our
timidity, our hesitancy, our unwillingness
to step out of line and contrasted it with
the stalwartness and tenacity of our fore-
mothers and their willingness to be conspicuous in their cause. I consider the 1980
election a glorious opportunity for us to
be worthy decendents of our foremothers,
to utilize the 19th Amendment to forcefully move toward the 27th Amendment
by voting for John Anderson.
Frances "Sissy" Farenthold is a former
member of the Texas House of Representatives and a former president of Wells
College She was a U. S. vice-presidential
candidate in 1972 and is now an attorney
in private practice in Houston.
"Progressives can vote for Carter. Or they can help elect Reagan."
-BY CHANDLER DAVIDSON-
"The Democratic Party is one of privilege
and special interest, living off the bounty
of the federal government. It's the Democratic Party supporters who are on the receiving end of everything from food
stamps to government jobs, all paid for by
hard-working taxpayers . . . The Republican Party is the party of producers and
working people of this country."
- John Connally addressing the 1980
National Republican convention
"Most Republican leaders have bitterly
fought and blocked the forward surge of
average men and women in their pursuit
of happiness. Let us not be deluded that
overnight these leaders have suddenly become friends of average men and women.
You know, very few of us are that
—Edward Kennedy quoting FDR at the
1980 National Democratic convention
Barring improbabilities, one of two men
will be elected president as a result of the
November election: Jimmy Carter or
Ronald Reagan. This is true even if the
contest is thrown into the House of Representatives. So the question of who to
vote for (or whether to vote at all) reduces
very simply to this: Who do you want in
the White House next January. Carter . . .
Progressives, liberals and moderates
therefore have a painfully narrow set of
options Nov. 4. They can vote for Carter. Or they can help elect Reagan. There
is no third option. There are simply various ways of helping elect Reagan.
The most straightforward one is to
vote for him. Another is to vote for a third
party candidate. Or one can refuse to
vote. All of these actions will help put
Reagan over the top.
This is not big news, but I belabor the
point because otherwise astute people
still talk as though John Anderson had a
Of course, in a strictly mathematical
sense he does. But it isn't great enough
to risk electing Reagan by voting Anderson, whose true practical chances are exceedingly remote.
Actually, there are three currently
fashionable arguments that some progressives and moderates advance against
voting for Carter.
The first is that Anderson does have a
fighting chance, and he is so superior to
Carter that the risk of electing Reagan by