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October 26, 1990 - Image 51

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-10-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I ELECTION '90

U.S. Senator Carl Levin discusses issues of crime and public safety with the Jackson, Mich., police force.

POLITICAL CONNECTIONS

Events In Washington
Keep Sen. Levin
Off Campaign Trail

.

PHIL JACOBS

Assistant Editor

Incumbent Michigan
U.S. Senator Carl Levin,
steeped in difficult floor
debates on the budget
and the Persian Gulf, is
finding it hard to get
back to his state to
campaign against
challenger
Rep. Bill Schuette,

arl Levin did not
want to campaign
this way.
He'd spoken to cam-
paign fund-raisers in banquet
halls with hundreds of sup-
porters on hand . . . by phone.
He'd missed pressing the cam-
paign flesh and eating the
obligatory "rubber" chicken.
Even an interview with
The Jewish News,
promised as a day-in-the-life
meeting of several hours'
duration, was reduced to 15
minutes by phone from his
Capitol Hill office and five
more on the Senate floor
during a floor discussion and
a vote. .
At this point, however,
when the country is mired in
a potentially crippling
budget crisis and war could
happen with each passing
volatile moment in the Mid-
dle East, Sen. Levin is long-

C

ing for a taste of "rubber"
chicken, the hometown
variety. Instead, he
apologized to The Jewish
New s,saying that he is
behind in meetings with the
editorial boards of at least 10
other Michigan newspapers.
He was hoping to finish his
7:30 p.m. interview with The
Jewish News, go to the floor
for a vote on the civil rights
bill, catch a 9 p.m. flight to
Detroit, interview- with a
Flint newspaper the first
thing the next day, and then
fly back to Washington. He
warned that if a buzzer went
off in the background, it
meant he was being
summoned to the Senate
floor. If that should happen,
he said, he'd call back later
that night from the
Baltimore Airport.
Carl Levin is well over 20
points ahead of his Repub-
lican challenger, Rep. Bill
Schuette. In his two previous
Senate campaigns, Sen.

Levin won with 52 percent o f
the vote. He worries out lou d
about his campaign, and i i
the few minutes he has fo
an interview, he talks abo ut
the crisis in the Middle East
Israel and the need for a
different national energ y
policy.
"This has been ver y
difficult for me," Sen. Levi n
said. "I've not been able t 0
campaign now the way I' m
accustomed to campaigning •
In the 12 years I've been i n
Washington, I've alway
been able to get back t 0
Michigan when I needed to •
But based on what is hap -
pening here, it's just no t
possible.
"By now, if this was a
normal campaign, I would
have met with the editoria 1
boards and electronic medi a
of all the major cities in th e
state. But to this point, I'v e
only met with the Detroi t
Free Press and Detroit News.
"It's very, very
frustrating, because it
reduces me to campaigning
over the telephone. And
that's not the ideal way to
campaign. It would be much
better if I was actually
there."
But the senator added that
Capitol Hill is exactly where
he needs to be these days,
especially since Israel has
once again drifted under the
negative focus of the world
microscope. Sen. Levin said
that the mood among his col-
leagues is still positive
towards the Jewish state as
this country's best and most
true Middle Eastern friend.
He said that confidence in
Israel is solid even though
the Bush Administration
sponsored a U.N. Security
Council resolution condemn-
ing Israel for use of excessive
force in last week's killings
of 21 Arabs at the Dome of
the Rock. The killings oc-
curred after a hail storm of
rocks were thrown by Arabs
at Jewish worshipers at the
Western Wall.
Sen. Levin said that the
Iraqi invasion of Kuwait
strengthened Israel's posi-
tion in Washington. While it
bolstered the Israeli posi-
tion, it all but wrecked the
PLO.
"What happened last week
in Jerusalem was a
tragedy," Levin said, "But
in the long term, it's not go-
ing to hurt Israel. The focus
of the world will soon be
back on what is happening
in Kuwait, you'll see. What
you are going to see happen-
ing also is the elimination of
the PLO in Lebanon by the
Syrians.
"But when you talk about
the Middle East, you talk

about double-edge swords,"
he continued. "In this case,
the issue is how far Syria
goes in Lebanon, and what
their power base becomes,
especially in light of our new
alliance with Syria against
Iraq. But the most signifi-
cant issue is the dislodging
of Saddam Hussein."
He said a major fear on
Capitol Hill among pro-
Israel politicians is a long-
term growth in Islamic fun-
damentalism. He said the
American government has
to be careful how it par-
ticipates in any armed con-
flict with Iraq, because the
country does not want to in-
stigate or whip up any
events that could make
Israel an immediate victim.
Sen. Levin said that
besides re-establishing its
strong support for Israel, the
current conflict with Iraq
should also make Americans
demand a better energy
policy, one that places less
emphasis on Middle Eastern
oil.
"During the 1980s, we
blew it," Sen. Levin said in
regard to a national energy
policy. "We blew it because

"This has been very
difficult for me. I've
not been able to
campaign now the
way I'm
accustomed to
campaigning."

Senator Carl Levin

we really didn't have an
energy policy. Instead of de-
veloping innovations in
areas such as solar energy,
we increased our dependence
on oil."
Sen. Levin talked about
the need to reduce the U.S.
military presence in Eastern
Europe now that the Cold
War is all but over. He swit-
ched gears into condemning
the Bush administration for
the growing trade deficit,
and then he started talking
about the differences bet-
ween himself and his oppo-
nent, Rep. Bill Schuette. The
words were coming over the
phone at a quick beat.
That's when the buzzer
went off, calling him to the
Senate floor. The Senator
apologized, promising to call
back from the Baltimore-
Washington International
Airport. When the phone
rang at 10:30 p.m., it was
Sen. Levin, only he was still
on the Senate floor, unable
to leave for the airport.
Continued on Page 54

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

51

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