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Houston Breakthrough 1980-05
Page 14
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Houston Breakthrough 1980-05 - Page 14. May 1980. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. August 27, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/5534/show/5516.

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.

(May 1980). Houston Breakthrough 1980-05 - Page 14. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/5534/show/5516

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 1980-05 - Page 14, May 1980, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed August 27, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/5534/show/5516.

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 1980-05
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date May 1980
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 32 page periodical
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location 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 the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 14
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
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 the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name femin_201109_560am.jpg
Transcript W-MMM WHY KENNEDY? Billie Carr is one of Houston's leading progressive liberals, a Democratic national committe- woman, and strong Kennedy supporter. Victoria Smith: In 1976 you backed Jimmy Carter and, now, you're supporting Kennedy. Why? Billie Carr: I was an uncommitted delegate to the 1976 Democratic National Convention, but I worked for Carter. I had some hopes for him and that hope turned into excuses and apologies and finally disappointments. I don't think he kept faith with the party platform or with what he personally told me he would do. I think we have to put him back on that track through a Kennedy candidacy, or replace him with a Kennedy nomination. VS: But what about November? Who has the better chance to beat Reagan? (U.S. Rep.) Mickey Leland has come out with the party unity theme that Carter stands the best chance of beating Reagan. BC: Well, Mickey is now an elected official and, unfortunately, he has gone the way of most party officials of whom Bob Dylan once said, 'just want to be on the side that's winning.' I'm disappointed in Mickey. But back to your first question. I think that if Kennedy could get the nomination, he would have as good a chance of beating Reagan as Carter would have. It will be difficult, but I think it is going to be very difficult to re-elect Carter. VS: You think his bubble's going to burst over the inflation issue? BC: Yes. What's happening in Iran has saved him, for patriotism reasons, but that's deteriorating. It's not going to be too long before the American people are just going to get pretty disgusted about that whole economic situation. Things are getting worse every day, and not just for the poor-it's always been bad for the poor-and not just for the low-income, but even middle class people. A couple called me just the other day. They're both working and they've been turned down for three mortgages in the last few months. They can't buy a home in Houston, Texas! And they are mad, frustrated, upset. Those kinds of people are being put in a squeeze, and they can't understand it. I spoke with a wealthy oil and gas man who said, 'God, even rich people are getting hurt, I'm just like the man in Fourth Ward, Jimmy Carter's going to put me out of business.' See, the crunch is going all the way up, and something has to happen. All those chickens are going to come home to roost on Jimmy Carter at some point. I don't share Mickey's fear about electing Kennedy, I fear trying to elect Carter. VS: So you're saying that the deterioration of the economy under Carter may very well be the issue to pull Reagan into the White House-if Carter wins the nomination? BC: It's not as bad in Texas as it is in some other places, but we're not far behind. But by November, my dear... I just don't know that Carter is re-electable and I would hate to see Reagan win the presidency of the United States. VS: But if the choice is Carter and Reagan, will you support Carter? BC: I certainly would be working for Carter over Reagan, but not with a happy heart, a clear mind, or a clear conscience. And only because I'm afraid of what Reagan would do to the nation. I think Reagan is a fool, and he is much too conservative for anything I have in mind. But I have very little hope for Carter either, so it's really a dilemma, a very big dilemma. VS: A lot of Democrats who are not enthusiastic over a Carter nomination, nonetheless, have some serious doubts about Kennedy. How have you resolved those "moral" issues? BS: Kennedy is a man who for 16 years in the Senate has stood for the things that I believe in, and has worked very hard for all the issues I'm concerned about. His criminal bills bother me a bit, but other than that, I have no problem with Kennedy's programs. As far as his personal life is concerned, that's just ridiculous. The only way you can evaluate the way a person would behave in an emergency is to put Carter in a car, and have an accident, and see how he handles it. It's silly to think that what happened in an automobile wreck has anything to do with how effective you're going to be as president. And as far as "morals" are concerned, for God's sake, Thomas Jefferson had seven children by his sister-in-law, even Eisenhower had a mistress, Roosevelt died with his mistress of all those years. In movie stars, we think it's glamorous, but in politicians, we think it's disgraceful. And in our own families and private lives, we excuse it, but we expect a politician to be above all that, and they're not, they're not. I don't care about Kennedy's personal life, only he and his wife ought to be concerned about that. His record in the senate is what people need to be looking at, and in what he is saying and what he could do for us. VS: Still, the Chappaquidick affair sticks in people's minds, and seems to affect even highly intelligent and astute voters. BC: That's just ridiculous. I'd like anyone who has had an accident to ask themselves if they handled it in the best way they thought they would have. None of us knows what we're going to do, despite what we think we might do beforehand. I think it's just an unfair thing to use that as a way of evaluating whether someone is capable of being president. VS: You say Carter hasn't lived up to his com- paign promises. What makes you think Kennedy would? BC: Kennedy has a 16-year record in the senate of living up to his commitments. I've analysed those commitments pretty well. Now, nobody lives up 100 per cent to anything, but I think he has lived up to them better than most any elected official I've had anything to do with. I am satisfied with his record. VS: In Houston, it seems that Kennedy is most popular with the Chicano community. Is that true? BC: Kennedy is very well respected among Chicanos. Our Kennedy meetings have been well attended by Chicanos. We have a Chicano organizer working the valley and other places in Texas, and we've had just excellent response from the Chicano community. They very strongly support Ted Kennedy. VS: What about the black community? BC: Blacks seem more inclined to support the incumbent president. There seems to be a kind of patriotism that exists in the black community, of being "good Americans" by continuing to support the president through thick or thin, right or wrong. If Kennedy were doing better, I think that would be different, but then, it would be different in the Anglo community, so it's not strictly a black question. It gets back to that wanting to be on the side that's winning. And it's the Carter people who are raising the fear of a Reagan victory. VS: I suppose Leland's endorsement of the Carter/Mondale campaign influenced some blacks. BC: I think Mickey's decision is going to do more harm to Mickey than it is to the Kennedy campaign, to tell you the truth. It's interesting, because even some blacks who themselves are for Carter were very disappointed in Mickey. It's the whole idea that Mickey is supposed to be pure of mind and pure of heart. It's like expecting your leaders to be better than you. It's like a Ralph Nader. You'd hate ever to hear that he drove a Pinto or a Corvair. You may. That's okay, but if he ever did, you'd be greatly disappointed. The people that supported Leland in money, marbles and chalk, are disappointed he went with Carter. He's the only congressperson with a safe district, and he can do anything he wants to do, and people expect him to be above the crowd. Also it would have been better for Mickey to have made his own announcement instead of having Vice President Mondale announce it publicly and it would have been better for him to at least have talked to some of his Kennedy friends and let them know. VS: Have you talked to him since then? BC: He called me the morning after the announcement (at a banquet honoring the Democratic State Chair Billy Goldberg on March 27). He said he'd stayed up all night, didn't sleep and I said, That's called a conscience. It kept you awake this time, but next time it will be easier to sleep, and the time after that you won't have any trouble at all? Mickey's situation is more serious than just a presidential campaign. VS: Isn't it called the Gammage Syndrome? BC: Yes. It's like you have three chances (and it gets easier each time). Like Bob Gammage, he made his first mistake, and then his second, and then his third, and then after that he was voting the same way Ron Paul was voting. So you worry when someone flakes off to some position, and then tries to justify it. VS: I also think of Hubert Humphrey, who got progressively more conservative as he went along. I grew up in Minneapolis and Humphrey was a real radical when he was mayor of Minneapolis! BC: Well, what happened to Humphrey was Lyndon Johnson, and that's what's happening to Mondale. Mondale's repeating the same thing. He's now serving with Carter, and when Carter's through, you won't be able to elect Mondale to anything. He's exactly repeating the Humphrey thing, he's got himself tied to Carter the same way Humphrey got himself tied to Johnson. And it killed Humphrey politically and it's going to kill Mondale, more than likely. But I've not seen that in Kennedy. His senate record is a good indication of the way Ken- ded. VS: And you haven't had any indication that Kennedy would compromise his liberal views to be more electable? BC: Now, if you want to talk about how a candidate stands up under pressure let me give you an example ... When Kennedy was losing so badly [in the early primaries], he announced he was going to make the big Georgetown speech. I always expect the worst. I thought here it comes, I almost said alligator because that's what I call politicians at that point of desperation who turn away from liberal progressive programs, and start trying to change their image so that they will be more electable, more winnable. For a moment I thought Kennedy would try to kind of out-Carter Carter, in being a kind of "me-too" candidate. That's what generally happens with candidates. Or it's a time when most alligators would be scrambling to get out from under. He didn't do those things. When he made his Georgetown speech, it was the most liberal progressive statement, and I think it set the tone for what we ought to be about in the 80s. I was proud of him then, because he didn't do what the pressure from the media, and the Carter victories would have done to most people. That's what I evaluate Kennedy on. He didn't give in and say what people want to hear, he didn't turn on his own programs, if anything he got more progressive. About the Olympics he said, 'Let's go over there and win the gold and come back home, gold's valuable these days.' I mean, he's even going against public opinion by telling us what we ought to be hearing, rather than maybe what we want to be hearing. That's why I'm proud of his candidacy. al constituency." He says that while the senator may have Chicano support in some parts of the country—Arizona, for instance—prominent Chicanos here like Carter appointee and former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) head Leonel Castillo and McConn aide John Castillo are working actively for the Carter/Mondale campaign. Hofheinz admits that Carter has "locked up the support of virtually all the Democratic elected officials in Texas. Of course, this is traditional, that the elected officials support the man in office." (Congressman Bob Eckhardt still remains neutral at this time.) Art Wiese, Washington bureau chief for the Houston Post, recently made mention of the success the Carter/Mondale team has had in Texas. He says they've been able to accomplish "what generations of the state's feuding Democrats have failed to produce—an alliance, however fragile, between the party's left and right wings." The political endorsements are "an enormous tent covering a broad sweep of ideologies" from former U.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough to Texas House Speaker Billy Clayton. Carter's strength in the black community is formidable, at least in Texas, as even the most ardent Kennedy supporters concede. "Blacks seem more inclined to support the incumbent president," Carr says frowning. "There seems to be a kind of patriotism that exists in the black community, of supporting the president through thick or thin, right or wrong. There are blacks who are for Kennedy, of course," she stresses but concedes, "that situation is getting kind of tough for us." When Carr says tough, she means tough. At a banquet honoring Texas Democratic chair Billy Goldberg (March 27), Vice President Walter Mondale announced U.S. Representative Mickey Leland's endorsement of President Carter. Leland had been uncommitted and many felt he was a natural for Kennedy, citing Leland and Kennedy's camaraderie on health care legislation. However after flying in from Washington with Mondale that night, the freshman congressman allowed the vice president to break the news to the crowd. It stunned the Kennedy people and angered some of them to hear from the pulpit that Leland would be a co-manager of the Texas Carter/Mondale re-election campaign. Billie Carr does not hide her feelings on the matter and says she was openly disappointed. Leland even surprised some Carter people, she says. "They understand why they have to be for Carter, but even they expected Mickey to be pure, a progressive liberal. "He's the only Congressman with a safe district. He can do anything he wants to do." She thinks Leland's decision "will do more harm to Mickey than it will to the Kennedy campaign." Carr feels if Kennedy were doing better nationally, he would probably enjoy more support among black Texas Democrats. And if former UN Ambassador Andrew Young's assessment is correct, Carr is right on target. In a recent address here to a predominantly black audience, Young encouraged blacks to vote for Carter since he was almost a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination. Voting for a winner, Young suggested, was the politically prudent route for blacks to take. Of interest in the midst of all the black politicians voicing their support for the administration is a Harris poll in mid- April that shows Kennedy leading Carter nationwide among black Democratic HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH