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Houston Breakthrough, November 1980
Page 11
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Houston Breakthrough, November 1980 - Page 11. November 1980. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. September 2, 2015. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/3680/show/3662.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(November 1980). Houston Breakthrough, November 1980 - Page 11. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/3680/show/3662

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, November 1980 - Page 11, November 1980, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed September 2, 2015, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/3680/show/3662.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, November 1980
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date November 1980
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women
  • Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 28 page periodical
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
File Name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 11
File Name femin_201109_565i.jpg
Transcript voting for Anderson is worth it. The second is that Anderson does not have a chance, but either voting for him or "going fishing" will lead to reforms in the Democratic Party or in the nominating system generally. The third argument, most often espoused by those who do not plan to vote at all, is that Reagan, if elected, will simply play Tweedle Dum to Carter's Twee- die Dee. If you've seen one major-party candidate, you've seen 'em all, as Gerald Ford once remarked about slums. Each of these arguments deserves scrutiny. To begin, what kind of chance does Anderson have? It is a fact that a third- party candidate has never won the presidency since the present two-party system was established in the middle of the 19th Century. It is a fact that the last third-party candidate to win as much as 17 percent of the popular vote was Robert LaFollette in 1924. But times change. So what about John Anderson in the fall of 1980? Just six weeks before the election, he was showing about 13 percent in the polls. But a CBS-New York Times poll taken after the televised debate that was supposed to have established him as a serious candidate showed his overall support had dropped to nine percent and voters who watched the debate said they developed stronger negative feelings about him. But is he so superior in his campaign stances that a progressive voter, as a matter of conscience, should back him even at these long odds? New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis recently observed that Anderson is running against most of his record as a congressman, his years of conservative voting. He has recently moved toward the center, but when the shift comes so soon after the announcement of candidacy, is it the result of sincerity or tactics? In Anderson's case, it is probably both. As a Republican from Illinois' 16th District, he came out openly against Nixon's broad view of executive privilege early in the Watergate crisis. He was on Nixon's back before many Democrats. Yet, while acknowledging Anderson's courage and decency on this and various other issues, the authors of the Almanac of American Politics went on to say in the 1978 edition that "Anderson is very definitely a Republican, not a Democrat in disguise. He believes that Republican economic policies are sounder and better for the nation in the long run, that the defense budget should remain high or be raised even higher, that the federal government is too big and remote and clumsy and should be cut back." Anderson once backed the Kemp- Roth 30 percent tax-reduction bill, although during his campaign he has criticized Reagan for supporting it. He was strong for nuclear power until last year, although he now advocates extreme caution in further nuclear licensing. He has a terrible labor record. AFL- CIO leaders did not even discuss him during their recent endorsement meeting. His rating by the National Association of Businessmen was consistently high. In 1976 he scored 80 out of a possible 100 points. (Republican Bill Archer of Houston scored 91; Henry B. Gonzalez of San Antonio, 8.) Before his support began to crumble this summer, his big donors included the Rockefellers and other "moderate" Republicans such as Robert Anderson, chairman of Atlantic Richfield oil company, who has now switched to Reagan. Looked at closely and unsentimen- tally, John Anderson is not the sort of person who deserves the support of progressives. Suppose that you agree up to this point, but you believe that a vote for An derson , or a vote not cast at all, will somehow result in a better choice of candidates in 1984, or even 1988? A similar argument was used to justify not voting for Hubert Humphrey in 1968, because he would not disavow Johnson's Vietnam policy. The result was the election of Richard Nixon, whose Vietnam policy was at least as bad as LBJ's and whose domestic policy was a good deal worse. Four third-party candidates in this century obtained at least some electoral votes: Teddy Roosevelt in 1912. La Fol- lette in 1924? Strom Thurmond in 1948; and George Wallace in 1968. None of these bolters can be said to have transformed the kind of choices the electorate was offered subsequently. It is unlikely that results would be different in the 1980s. Finally, we come to the Tweedle Dee- Tweedle Dum argument, as venerable a theory as exists in American presidential politics. So we must ask: Is it simply the overwrought imagination of brass-collar Democrats (led on by clever Carter campaign propagandists) that depicts Reagan as presenting fundamentally different options? I don't believe so. In spite of Carter's record that on many counts progressives find disappointing and sometimes outrageous, a Reagan presidency would make Carter's most severe critics — liberals and moderates alike — yearn for the good old days of the late seventies. Carter, after all, belongs to the Democratic Party, whose platform is far more progressive than the Republicans'. One response to this, I am well aware, is that party platforms are meaningless, and have no impact on candidates' policies once they are in office. Barry Goldwater said it pithily in 1964: "At best," he said, "political platforms are a packet of misinformation and lies." But as with many other Goldwater insights, the facts are not so simple. In a classic study, Nominating the President, political scientist Gerald Pomper examines whether platforms influence presidential behavior. He finds that every president ignores or repudiates some planks, but very few have repudiated the genral philosophy the platform embodies. Carter's performance confirms this view. Once in office, he convinced Congress to enact job programs for the unemployed. In foreign policy, he negotiated an arms limitation agreement with the Soviet Union and the Panama Canal treaties. These were major platform planks. Carter also proposed other 1976 planks — welfare and tax reform promises, for example, but the Democratic- controlled Congress rejected them. His Republocrat anti-inflation measures, on the other hand, were not in the platform at all. A party platform is not a precise blueprint for presidential policy. But neither is it meaningless. This is especially true when two platforms are worlds apart on numerous key issues, as they are this year. The constituencies of the two parties are still quite different. Forty-six percent and 42 percent of the Democratic delegates in New York described themselves as liberal and moderate, respectively, and only six percent as conservative. By contrast, only two percent and 36 percent of the Republican delegates in Detroit called themselves liberal and moderate, while 58 percent called themselves conservative. John Anderson is correct when he describes his own Republican Party as "a party captured by the ultra- conservatives." Some of Reagan's more moderate backers, such as oilman Robert Ander son, predict an Eisenhower-like administration if Reagan wins. I have a different prediction to make. I think Reagan would be one of the most conservative presidents of the 20th century — certainly since 1928 — and the most dangerous one ever, given the awesome power he will have over our military system. He will be under constant pressure from extreme right-wing supporters who have backed him for a decade or more, especially in states like Texas and California. Balanced against the moderate wing of the party — most of whom are now excluded from the official party organization — is the clamorous New Right, a rapidly-emerging combination of militarists, newly-politicized evangelicals, anti-abortionists, anti-gun control advocates and genteel racists. Two of these groups are particularly disturbing. The militarists have recently dominated the debate over the nation's military capacity. The Veterans of Foreign Wars for the first time in its history this year endorsed a presidential candidate — Reagan. The ultra-right wing of the evangelicals, while still in a minority of "born again" Christians is growing rapidly in numbers and influence. One group of them, the Moral Majority, was founded 15 months ago by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, whose religious prorams are watched by millions of TV viewers. The organization now has 400,000 members, including 72,000 ministers. In its first year it received $1.5 million in contributions. Falwell is now setting up political action committees in every state to raise money for candidates. Most Falwell supporters will back Reagan. A staff member of the National Republican Committee told reporters recently that the political emergence of the evangelical rightists had a "significant impact" on the writing of the party's platform. They will try to call in their chits if Reagan wins. Much is made, in the Tweedle Dee- Tweedle Dum theory, of the restraining influence of Congress, which at this moment seems likely to be controlled by Democrats. Here, too, there are seeds of truth, but it would be a serious mistake for progressives to underestimate the damage Reagan could do nationally and internationally as the occupant of the White House. Teddy Roosevelt called the presidency a "bully pulpit." In Reagan's words, "the voice from that podium is louder than any voice there is in the countryside." His conservative enthusiasts know he is right. From that podium he will be able to exploit ideological conflicts that have not been politicized since the end of the Vietnam War. We have already been given a preview of this in his recent remarks on Vietnam and evolutionary theory. While in that pulpit, Reagan will also appoint hundreds of key officials, most of whom will naturally agree with his political outlook. Reagan will have unusually wide latitude in two areas, whatever the makeup of Congress: Supreme Court appointments and foreign affairs. The Burger court has, for the last few years, teetered on an ideological tightrope, handing down split decisions that reflect the public indecision of our times. Reagan's election could change this situation dramatically. The Court is largely comprised of elderly men. Five are past 70 and four have had health problems in recent months, including the two liberals, Brennan, 74, and Marshall, 72. Rehnquist, the most conservative member, is also the youngest, at 56. If Reagan is elected, if he manages to win re-election in 1984, and if he lives to the end of his term in 1989, the next youngest man now on the Court will by then be 69. Reagan will probably be able to appoint at least four justices. If most of them resemble Rehnquist, who some observers describe as the closest philosophically to Reagan, the United States could have a fundamentally right-wing Supreme Court into the 21st Century as a result of Reagan's appointments alone. Carter has not had a chance to make any Supreme Court appointments, but he has named more women and members of minority groups to the federal judiciary than any previous president, by a wide margin. In foreign affairs, Reagan comes on very strong, compared to Carter's usually low-key approach. The President has great power in crisis situations, and where no crisis exists, he has extraordinary power to create one, as LBJ demonstrated in the Gulf of Tonkin incident. In a balanced and sober report to its readers, Business Week made this assessment of Reagan's probable behavior in foreign affairs. "Convinced that frustration with declining U. S. fortunes abroad will turn voters toward his hard-line anti-communist views, Ronald Reagan is ready to scrap the noninterventionist 'Nixon doctrine,' shelve detente, and return to aggressive U.S. containment of Soviet influence. At the heart of the policy is a buildup of U. S. strategic and conventional forces unprecedented in peacetime. "Reagan's tough foreign policy stance marks a sharp departure from President Carter's battered policy of 'cooperation and competition' with Soviets and from the efforts of Republican Presidents Nixon and Ford to ease East-West tensions and normalize relations with the People's Republic of China. Reagan . . . discounts warnings that U. S. allies, who are often contemptuous of Carter as moralistic and naive, are unwilling to abandon the comforts of detente for a new cold war." (Business Week, July 28, 1980). Reagan's "crash program" to restore nuclear superiority will likely include several disturbing features. Along wit abandonment of the strategy of nuclear parity, there will be new pressure on European allies and Japan to follow the United States in world politics. The status of Taiwan will be upgraded. Cold War security alliances will be refurbished, including those with right-wing dictatorships. Development and deployment of both the Missile X and the cruise missile will in all likelihood be accelerated. And Carter's decision to scrap the B-1 bomber is probably going to be reversed. John Lehman, one of his key military advisers, estimates that his plans for the "rearming of America" could necessitate raising fiscal 1981 spending by $15 billion above Carter's budget, as well as increasing it 10 percent, after inflation, foreach year in the foreseeable future. Business Week estimates that it could "rapidly push" defense spending beyond $200 billion each year from $131 billion in fiscal 1980. We live in difficult times. They are times in which we confront many intractable problems, and others that cannot be easily resolved, even by very able politicians. While Carter should rightly be blamed for many of his failures during his first term, many others can be attributed to trends and events largely beyond his control. I am worried when I think about Jimmy Carter's ability to respond sensibly, cautiously and humanely to the unforeseen crises at home and abroad that will confront the President in the 1980s. I would also be worried if Ted Kennedy were the president, or FDR, reincarnated NOVEMBER 1980 11