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Houston Breakthrough 1980-05
Page 15
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Houston Breakthrough 1980-05 - Page 15. May 1980. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. April 20, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/5534/show/5517.

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 15. 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/5517

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 15, May 1980, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed April 20, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/5534/show/5517.

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 15
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_560an.jpg
Transcript voters by 51-47 per cent. A few weeks earlier, the odds were in Carter's favor 53- 39 per cent. Senator Kennedy has made some limited gains in recent weeks. As Breakthrough goes to press on the eve of the April 22 Pennsylvania primary, followed by the Michigan caucuses April 26, it is possible the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination might take on a new look. But Dr. Murray maintains that Kennedy's chances of winning the nomination are extremely slim. "The opinion gap may close over the next few months," he says, "but the senator is in terrible shape as far as delegate strength goes." Yet, the Carter people admit they are cautious. "The Carter campaign here is a very nervous one," Pool says. "A little less than a year ago, it looked as though President Carter was politically dead, and then four or five events occurred and the whole picture changed. If Kennedy does well in Pennsylvania, he could do well in Texas," he says. Pool, however, contends that "Chap- paquidick is a serious issue. It concerns the deep personal traits of a candidate," which cannot be dismissed lightly, he says. Dr. Murray feels it will be more of an issue in Texas and the Southern primaries. "The personal character of candidates is becoming increasingly important to voters," Kennedy's personal life, particularly the Chappaquidick incident, seems to present an immense stumbling block, even to many enlightened liberals. One Houston journalist admits that he simply finds it hard to support or trust a man whose moral character appears to be so deeply flawed. But, he adds, "If it were Reagan versus Kennedy, redemption could come mighty fast." As might be expected, Carr has a rebuttal on Chappaquidick. "It's just ridiculous and unfair to use an incident like that as a way of evaluating whether a man is capable of being president," Carr says heatedly. "No one can predict how he or she will react in a life-threatening situation. I just want to take all the presidential candidates and have them have an accident and see how they handle it. Then, you might have grounds for taking that into consideration," she says. Carr, who professes a deep faith in Kennedy and his programs, says that his 16-year Senate record is what voters should look at instead. His record indicates that he is a relentless "force for the liberal progressive movement." Since his election in 1976, President Carter has "gotten off the track we nominated him for and the things he promised he would do," she reminds us. "I think we have to put him back on that track, through a Kennedy candidacy, or replace him with a Kennedy nomination." She says she intends to stick with the senator's campaign up to the eleventh hour. "It's just mind-boggling, that out of some 245 million people in this country, our choice for the President of the United Stated might well boil down to Carter or Reagan!" Carr shudders at the thought, saying "I think this is the most frustrating time in my political life." Mo?t committed Democrats here admit that the danger of a Ronald Reagan victory in November ultimately eclipses innerparty struggle. "This country is in serious, serious trouble, probably the most serious trouble it's been in since World War II," says Anne Greene, chair of the Harris County Democratic Party. "The economy is an unbelievable disaster, international events are getting out of control, and we, the Democrats, are going to need absolutely everyone we can get to win the election in November, regardless of who receives the Democratic nomination," she says. Greene is publicly supporting Senator Kennedy's nomination. At this stage, however, it's the Carter supporters who seem to be sounding the call for party unity. Congressman MickeyLeland feels that Reagan poses a serious threat to his constituency, and that only Carter is strong enough to defeat the former California governor in November. Through his aide Jo Anderson, Leland says he believes it is crucial for Texas Democrats to get organized and united early in the race, well before the Democratic National Convention in August. Hofheinz and the Kennedy people, on the other hand, fear Carter may not be able to defeat Reagan come November. "Carter is a dismally weak President," charges Hofheinz, "probably the weakest president of the 20th century. He has no sense of his real power, he doesn't know how to make the presidency work. He cannot relegate authority, to his cabinet members, his advisors, to anyone." Pool takes exception. "You may disagree with his head, but you can't disagree with his heart and Carter's heart is in the right place." "This president needs to be challenged," Hofheinz says with a sense of urgency, and then concluding his thought he adds, "He's a screw-up." 1H6 Pols v&d t* PICK W Pf^lD^TuVL MofAiMWi irt ^W& \o\] mv WHAT imt>% Havc pn*pifc6p a &mn WW We V&reP* picfi ftf£ floftoHe& IN A $lptt of f(LiM'H£ YfLMWCS I THE CAUCUSES In this interview Billie Carr explains why she thinks the Democratic party should abandon presidential primaries and move toward a convention system from the precinct system on up as a means of selecting delegates to the national convention. Victoria Smith: There seems to be a lot of confusion about this upcoming Texas presidential primary on May 3. Only the insiders seem to know that it's just a preference poll, or a straw vote. Is it going to help anybody-liberals or conservatives? Billie Carr: This oddball preference primary they threw at us might tend to hurt everybody. I mean, people will think that since they voted that day they won't have to. do anything else and they might be less likely to come back that evening for the precinct convention. VS: What about political analyst Dr. Richard Murray's remark that the conservative turnout might be lower this year? BC: Well, we expected the Republicans to draw about a million people if Connally was on the ballot. If Bush still is in, they could draw as many as 650,000 to 800,000. If Bush falters and is out in Pennsylvania then, I think, they're back to about 500,000. VS: And then where do the conservatives go? BC: Well, they either come over to the Democratic primary and vote, or they just stay home and put a pox on everybody's house, and that's probably what Murray is saying. The conservatives probably don't have much incentive for voting in this primary. The conservatives really don't like Carter much either because they don't think he's one of them. Carter's a man without a country, when it comes to a label. VS: You're an advocate of the precinct convention system. You view it as the purest form of democracy and prefer it as a means of selecting presidential candidates to the primary system. Why is that? BC: Well, when you come to your party's precinct convention with your neighbors, you're in a forum where you can talk openly. You can say, 'I'm for Kennedy because' or 'Let me tell you why I think we all ought to be for Kennedy in this precinct.' And your neighbors can say, 'Well, yes, but look at what Carter has done,' and then they make their points. At a convention after people hear you present your case you may win them over to your candidate. I think that's a pretty good system, that's really grass roots. But, if you go by the media, what you see on TV, what you've read in the daily papers and what you pick up through all kinds of PR gimmicks then you go in there, blind, and you vote for whomever Roger Mudd or Dan Rather told you to vote for. During the Iowa caucuses, David Brinkley really surprised me. He made the statement on the news, that 'Gee, isn't that something, people get together in buildings, in their homes, in places and precincts all over Iowa, and they sit down and talk about what they like and dislike about candidates and issues, and maybe that's a better system, maybe that's the way it ought to be.' I picked up on that, and thought, 'Doesn't he know that's what the caucuses and convention system is?' Well, this has been going on for a long time but the media has never picked up on the fact that democracy is at that convention, when you have a chance to exchange ideas, pass resolutions, and talk about the hot issues. It's not walking in a voting booth after work when you're tired, and traffic was bad, and you just pull a lever, and go home and flop. VS: Many liberals will disagree with you, because they believe that it's more democratic to let everyone off the street come in and vote and then the people have had their say. BC: The people who are willing to come back Saturday night to attend the convention are the people who really care. Everybody can come back to that convention and have their say. And that seems to me to be a fairer system than the primary system. Then, in the general election in November, you can vote. If you don't like our choice, you're free to vote, in the privacy of that voting booth, for anyone you want -Republican, Democrat, independent, third party. VS: What are the shortcomings of the primary system? Can you give examples from recent elections? BC: McGovern was good, but couldn't win a general election. The primary system gave us a false sense of strength of his candidacy. People were willing to support him in the primary, but not in the general election. Next time, the primary system gave us Jimmy Carter, basically a complete unknown. And he became president-kind of a "30-days-and- you-too-can-become-president." This is the result essentially of having moved more and more to primaries. And I'm thinking that we ought to move to a convention system all along the way. It's a better system. VS: How do you plan to get people to come to the precinct conventions? BC: We're encouraging our people to be at all the polling places and to have a table out front or some way to identify themselves as a Kennedy Information Center. Then when people come out of the polls and if they're interested in supporting Senator Kennedy they'll tell them to come back to the precinct convention that night. They'll identify the floor leaders for them, tell them whom to watch for and then give them a button or some i.d. to wear to the convention. Prior to that, we'll be polling the precincts, and hunting people who support the senator. VS: So, that's the general strategy? BC: That's part of it. Carter people will do that, Kennedy people will do that, uncommitteds will do that. In certain precincts, where we know we haven't a very good chance-like a River Oaks box, or a box with lots of conservative Democrats-you work quietly and sort of tip-toe around, and try to turn out only your people and hope that the opposition doesn't know where the conventions are. The name of the game is to win as many delegates as you can. It's like any other campaign, you're naturally not going to encourage other people to come and vote against you. The truth is that everyone is going to fish in the pond where the most fish are, and we're all going to work the hell out of the precincts we think we can win. This isn't a game, it's not a tea party, this has something to do with what happens to the country, and it's for real, and we're really trying to turn out our people to be for Kennedy. VS: In a way, though, it does seem like a game. Isn't a primary poll supposed to be the "people's choice?" BC: What we want to know is what the people think in November, when the people vote, when we have a general election, but this the primary is different. It's like a club, like any other club or organization, and within our club, we are trying to pick candidates who best represent our ideology and our platform. Then, we run them against the Republican party, which is another club. In the State of Texas we don't have "party purity," so that in our "club" anyone can be a member who wants to. You don't have a way to protect your issues. For instance, the Right to Life people can come in and influence our nominations on a single issue. That isn't allowed in the Boy Scouts of America, or the League of Women Voters. They're not going to let you come in and participate unless you're a member of their club, but in the Democratic party, people get this all confused with the nation that "we the people" have a right to tell you, the Democrats, whom to run. But I disagree with that. The Democrats wnat to promote the candidates whom we think will best represent what »■ think that party should be, through rules, r rrns, resolutions and proposals. I am a progressive liberal, a ant to see that candidates are the most prog ;ive liberal- thinking people vt3 can get. I -A/am people who are not going to be too eager to push a button, or say things like George Bush, that we can win a nuclear war, and other stupid things. MAY 1980 15