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January 09, 1969 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1969-01-09

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E4r Sfrdi gta Duil j
Seventy-eight years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the Uhiversity of Michigan
under authority of Board in Control of Student Publications

Students for an authoritarian society

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Doily exp ress the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 9, 1969

NIGHT EDITOR: RON LANDSMAN

The Nixon cabinet:
First impressions

THE PRESIDENT - ELECT'S meet-the-
Cabinet show last month sounded
annoyingly like the kind of television
commercial his top advisers must have
become accustomed to making for J. Wal-
ter }Thompson. There was all this unsub-
stantiated talk of an "extra dimension,"
the words repeated and stressed as an an-
nouncer's voice would, fondle the magic
ingredients of some revolutionary new
toothpaste.
Nixon gave the eerie impression that
if only he could say the words often
enough, the quality would spring into
existence, the large block letters "Extra
Dimension" gleaming on the forehead
of each designated cabinet member.
Nixon's past record. for showanship
having' been based on the Checkers
Speech and the infamous Last Press
Conference, the slick quality of the cab-
inet introduction performance wasn't
surprising. What is unsettling is the poor
sales resistance of the American press.
Of NixOn's choices, only interior secre-
tary-designate Walter Hickel has failed
to win widespread acclaimi.
From newspapers and magazines of
every ideological stripe the praise has
spewed ;forth. The new cabinet members
have been lauded for technocratic com-
petence, for bringing open minds and few
pet schemes to 'their duties. The Nixon
men have been pictured in these sym-
pathetic appraisals as top-flight techni-
cians, men with much organizational
ability and little imagination.
]VHETHER SUCH forecasts will prove
accurate remains to be seen. They are
obviously the impressions Nixon hoped to
convey, and it is aggravating that so
much of the American press seems to
have accepted his implicit assurance
that there is virtue in non-ideological
bureaucratic efficiency, These men bring
few ideas. to Washington indeed, and at
a time when imagination more than mere
technical competence is needed. .
'Underlying this obsequiously courteous
reception is a skewed; conception of fair-
ness. The "wait-and-see" diplomacy sur-
rounding cabinet appointments does not
require studied praise; it merely advises
against not - yet - warranted criticism.
Given the importance of the positions, it
would seem better to err on the side of
rudeness. The argument that most of the
Nixon appointees are relative unknowns
(and, by implication, can't be fairly ap-
praised) holds little water. Many of them
are published authors; all of them are
presumably fluent in conversation. If
they have ideas, they surely can be un-
covered somehow. Never before has the
American press seemed so hampered by
a failure of exegetical enterprise.
JNDEED, THE cabinet appointments are
not all that bad. William Rogers, for
example, is a fine choice for secretary of
state. George Romney could be an effec-
tive salesman of Nixon's plan for the
cities. Several of the nominees are better
than their counterparts in the Kennedy
and Johnson administrations.
Yet the judging of the appointments
should not be made by comparison, unless
it is to be argued that yesterday's mis-
takes justify today's. And in absolute
terms, the Nixon cabinet falls something
short of inspirational.
TWO OF THE appointments should be
strenuously opposed. Walter Hickel

seems to share the Reagan philosophy of
"Seen one redwood, seen them all." While
not committed to destruction of natural
resources for the sake of destruction, he
seems unimpresed by the need for aggres-
sive conservation. The interior depart-
ment under a Hickel administration is a
potential disaster area.
Far more serious than the proposed
appointment of Hickel is the designation
of Melvin Laird -as secretary of defense.
Laird's nomination, praised by many for
the Wisconsin Congressman's expertise in
defense matters, and reports that Nixon's
first choice for the defense post was Sen.
Henry Jackson of Washington, bode ill for
peace in the next four years.
Laird is an unrepentant hawk, an out-
spoken advocate of aggressive American
postures in foreign policy. His book, pub-
lished seven years ago, contains stern
warnings that the United States must be
ready to strike first with nuclear weap-
ons and be prepared to include nuclear
weapons in its operational arsenal both
offensively and defensively. If carried
out, that policy would be an open invita-
tion to nuclear holocaust.
DEFENDERS POINT to his statement of
opposition to the Viet Nam War last
year as an indication that Laird has soft-
ened his views since 1962. Yet surely
everyone is opposed to the war the way
it has been conducted. Laird's opposition
to Johnson's conduct of the war was the
military view that it should have been
waged more aggressively. That kind of
anti-war sentiment does not belie a soft-
ening of the hard crust.
Indeed, Laird has been a consistent
critic of the one positive achievement of
the McNamara years in the defense de-
partment. Cost-effectiveness was praise-
worthy not so much for bringing rational
administration to Washingtonas for the
clear implication that defense expendi-
tures should be subjected to marginal re-
turns analysis. Our country was not so
threatened that every proposal for mili-
tary expenditure had to be whisked
through. One fears little of that spirit
will remain in the Pentagon with the
Laird take-over.t
THE DEFENSE secretary-designate is
likely to get along far better with the
military than did his predecessor.
Through the years, he has often com-
plained that the military's view was
heard too seldom in formulating defense
policies.
Uhfortunately, the military has had far
too much to say in making American
policy recently. They have convinced a
President who probably needed little con-
vincing that, given only a few more
troops, they could win an unwinnable
war. The scariest thing about Laird's
designation is the thought that propo-
nents of such views will gain rather than
lose influence over future decisions.
If principles mean anything, those Sen-
ators who oppose the policies represented
by Walter Hickel and Melvin Laird should
fight to block their appointments. The re-
sponsibility to oppose unfortunate nomi-
nations must override considerations of
political bargaining and etiquette in the
cases of these disastrous nominations.
-URBAN LEHNER

By DANIEL OKRENT
Feature Editor
SDS HELD a national conven-
tion here just after Christmas,
at the end of December.
Nine hundred delegates from
chapters across the country gath-
ered in the dining room of South
Quad, in meeting rooms in the
SAB, on couches, in extra beds,
and in left-over floor space in
apartments and old houses up and
down Division Street. In five days
they convinced me that the
American left is so hopeless that
we might as well resign ourselves
to Nixon-and maybe even like it.
We are all very insulated here
in Ann Arbor. For years, in fact
going back to the early '60's when
SDS broke off from the League
for Industrial Democracy and ac-
tually started right here on the
University campus, we've been
hidden from the SDS they write
about in Fortune.
It has all been very hard to be-
lieve-that the SDS the national
press told us was planning a re-
volution and becoming, in t h e
process, undeniably violent, was
congruent to the Michigan chap-
ter. Voice-SDS, originally just a
campus political party that ran
people for SGC, was what we
knew; its leaders, people like Eric
Chester, Barry Bluestone, M i k e
Zweig, Ted Steege, were the Ann
Arbor radicals.
THESE WERE PEOPLE w h o
practiced rational rkdicalism, who
saw that building a base through
effective education programs was
vital and necessary to the suc-
cess of The Movement. They con-
tinually expressed, for all their
loud noises, a true belief in demo-
cracy and the rights of others.
They recognized-always-the will
of the majority of pre-eminent.
When the classified research re-
ferendum was overturned, they
quietly acceded to the voice of the
student body. Student power was
real, not a platitude; if students
wishes to exercise it badly, there
was little Voice-SDS could do-
or would do. Radical politics gen-
erally worked, Voice fluorished,
and the campus genuinely improv-
ed.
But this wasn't the real SDS,
this group; that we grew up with.
Fortune and Time and U.S. News
and World Report and that grin-
ning idiot Bob McBride on TV2
were closer to the truth. For SDS,
as represented by the delegates
who gathered here two weeks ago
and the current leadership of the
local chapter, is an undemocratic,
authoritarian, autocratic, destruc-

9

ri

-Daily-Jay Cassidy

tive force that hopefully has be-
gun to die. The old Voice-SDS was
a too-good anachronism.
IT WAS THRILLING to watch
SDS in action at their convention.
Dissident groups-like the local
Radical Caucus--were purged. De-
bate on the floor was carefully and
successfully stage-managed. Pol-
icy matters were dictated by a
cabalistic group of national offi-
cers who, rather than represent
the political forces within t h e
membership, have 'established,
themselves as a political force of
their own. And ideology was bur-
ied in shoddy reasoning and some
embarrassing sloganeering that
was more reminiscent of the hap-
less old Communist Party of the
t.S.A. than of allegedly intelli-
gent products of the American
'60's.
They look to a radical conscious-
ness in the American middle-class
that simply isn't there; local Jesse
James Gang kingpin Jim Mellen
said at a regional caucus that
America cringes when police
nightsticks crack SDS heads. Mel-
len sees things that the Gallup
Poll has surely missed.
They talk in Leninist terms

about organizing the working
class, and plan grandiose pro-
grams toward the eventual pro-
letarian revolution. Yet they
don't recognize that the trade
union movement has created a
situation in which the American
"proletariat" is the $10,040-a-
year backbone of the mi d d le
class.
THEY EXHORT the words of
Mao Tse-Tung, who encouraged
"sharp ideological struggle" in re-
volutionary movements. The quote
came up countless times at the.
convention, and was used to illus-
trate the need for internal tol-
erance of varying views within the
organization. Yet, by using par-
liamentary subterfuge and hypo-
critical oratory, they urged weak
dissidents.
They denounce the idea of the
charismatic leader, yet Mark Rudd
is dispatched by the national of-
fice on a nation wide speaking
tour.
They pay lip service to the ideal
of participatory democracy, yet
the "new" Ann Arbor chapter, the
Jesse James Gang, has policy dic-
tated to it by a triumvirate of
Mellen, Bill Ayers, and Stu Dow-
ty. The three refer to the process
as "concensus"; they have never-
theless lost members who didn't
particularly care for the bullying.
THEY ROSE to national sta-
ture on campuses by virtue of the
student power issue, yet they now
eschew it-apparently because the
students believe in using the
power differently than do the
SDSers.'
They call meaningless events
(the election day strike), and
when no one shows up, they claim
success because the events are
"fun."
They boast of great "successes"
like -the San Francisco State de-
bacle and scoff at the behavior
of men like S. I. Hayakawa.hSan
Francisco State is not an admir-
able institution and Hayakawa
may be a thoroughly despicable
individual, yet the school is bare-
ly functioning., SDS calls this
progress but the Hayakawa
(whom they call a fool) has as-
tounding public support.
THEY HAVE, for the six years
of their existence, expanded onto
over 250 campuses, have garner-
ed an incredible amount of press
play in the national media, have
established themselves as the lead-
ing leftist group in the nation, and
and have reached the point where
they represent no one-and de-
finitely should not.
It's time that any alternative
to SDS is established, and it
should be the type of organiza-
tion that looks to realities, not to
wishes and egos. But, before that
type of group is started, we might
have to abolish the group that
now exists.

-Daily=~-Jay. Caasidl r

H OWARD KOHN
The new semester,
moon and'me
THE YEAR BEGINS anew with promises of change, if not in the
meaning of life at least in the character of lifestyle.
The years of Johnson and bar-b-qued policymaking are passing.
And though the future smirks of Nixon and lemon-oiled policybaiting,
it is hardinot to hark happily at the exodus of an administration which
so successfully doublecrossed itself and its public.
Students for a Democratic Society have sounded the deathknell for
SDS which was torn asunder by its own closefisted squalls of'sharpened
ideological nonsense. Eugene McCarthy calmly dismissed his lean
following by supporting Russell Long over Edward Kennedy for major-
ity whip in the Senate.
Solidly-administered groups like ADA seem likely to inherit the
radical/liberals to hold in store for yet another Kennedy willing to put
up his life for a chance to change ours.
Whether or not anyone can change our lives for the better without
our help is naturally doubtful. But the pretences of democracy die
slower than the realities. So we are not yet without hope although our
stubborn attempts to lead where we can't follow should be enough for
hope to give up on us.
THINGS WILL be more off the crossroads. People will be- more
inattentive. All of us will be more uncertain in our certainty that
things will never be the same.
This is the year for waiting.
Some blacks give us cause for concern. Because they can afford
to question the motives of our work-and-profit system and live ac-
cording to the answers.
We aren't safe anymore. Pat Nixon assures us that we are, of course 'l
But the name on Pat's birth certificate is Thelma.
That's the difference. We've been told about our illusions. We've
even been told how wrong our illusions are. But we can't forsake the
comfort of living as if we had never been told.
Black capitalism is only colored power. But black power is not
people power even if it is closer than any we've seen in alifetime or two.
OUR SPIRITS AREN'T dampened by thoughts of passivity, only
lolled over and bedded down with the terror of African lead manu-
factured in America flying in Asia which we may pass over despite
our birthright.
Over 90 per cent of us who qualify under the Constitutional bylaws
and the Gallup Poll entrance exams believe the killing should end
everywhere, here and over there. It's a damn good feeling that so many
of us set forth such noble opinions. But the daily death rates still com-
mand time prime with Dave and Chet (the preposterously inflated Cong
totals only add to the macabre gap between good feelings and good-
ness).
We're afraid now that we may not be able to show that our might
is right, which should turn out to be a wonderful awareness of the
worth of history. But we want our might more than our right.
Our enduring salvation is that we are ashamed of knowing that
and might someday do something about it.
Someday always seems longer than forever because the insistence
of putting it off saps our strength more than the finality of putting
it away. But our choices are limited. And our decision has already been
made.

Editorial Director

-Daily-Jay Cassidy

STEVE WILDS TROM":ri.---
Hickel: Interior motives o a devis advocate

THE GENERAL reaction to
Richard Nixon's selection of
cabinet secretaries has been one
of boredom, both among politic-
ians and in the press. Most pun-
dits have concluded that Nixon
selected safe, competent men with
whom he will feel comfortable.
It is difficult to be so sanguine
about one of the appointees, Sec-
retary of the Interior-designate
Walter Hickel.
In recent years, a concept of
administration has d e v e 1o p e d
which views a cabinet secretary,
at least those below state and de-
fense, as largely an advocate for

ca's conservationists. As such, he
worked tirelessly for the preserva-
tion of w h a t little remains of
wilderness in the United States.
He was a man who took seriously
the Sierra Club motto, "In wild-
erness is the preservation of man-
kind."
Walter Hickel, governor of
Alaska, comes from this nation's
last vast wilderness preserve. One
might therefore expect him to ap-
treciate the need for areas where
man can go to realize his true re-
latton to the world, to understand
the awesome forces that dwarf
the petty works of humans, to al-

On the other hand, Hickel is
not without friends. His liberal
policies toward the development
of Alaska's yet unfanthomed oil
wealth has made him very pop-
ular with domestic petroleum in-
terests. He has represented their
interest well, publically stating
that the U.S. should check the
flow of imported petroleum into
the country.
In fact, Hickel has been cozy
enough with the oil companies to
raise serious questions about his
fitness to head interior, debate
about conservation policy aside.
According to Newsweek, Hickel,

two important questions of gov-
ernment policy concerning the pe-
troleum industry are almost cer-
tain to arise. One, involves de-
velopment of the "North Slope"
field in Alaska. The development
may prove immensely profitable,
but it will be very expensive and
the domestic companies may not
be willing to undertake it unless
they have assurances of protec-
tion against cheap imported oil
coming into the country.
The net result of such protec-
tion for the domestic producers
would be increased development
of the highly developed dcomestic

perhaps billions, of barrels of
crude oil. The transfer of land has
the potential to become a bigger
scandal than Teapot Dome and a
public fight over it is sure to come
soon. When it does, Wally Hickel
will be right in the middle.
But Sen. William Proxmire (D-
Wis.) has served notice that he is
not at all happy about the nom-
ination of Hickel and that he may
push to block the appointment.
THE AMERICAN people have
recently demonstrated a growing
impatience with the continued de-
struction of what remains of the

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