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November 02, 1980 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-11-02

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i i U
age4 Sunday, November 2, 1980 The Michigan Daily

IT huuwfQ

but we choose



TIMMY CARTER is hardly any-
one s conception of an American
fsidential ideal. His four years of
at onalistewardship have been
acked by indecision, contradiction,
ind philosophical betrayal of
4rogressive ideals. He is, however,
gur reluctant choice for re-election.
In other circumstances we would
ave been delighted to drop President
Carter like a hot potato; unfortun-
tely, the times we live in and the
ire threat posed by rival candidate
Ronald Reagan dictate no choice
ther than to once again give Carter
our support. The world stakes of peace,
o war, of mere survival are too high
'do otherwise.
Our decision is not a happy one.
mmy Carter took office four years
1 as an outsider, a non-Washington
ce whose neo-populist
ystique-however 'vaguely
cused-seemed an elixir to
mericans disillusioned with Viet-
nam, with Watergate, with the whole
mercenary syndrome of Capitol Hill
politics. Carter was a fresh presence,
an anti-establishment battler whose
farm-spun common sense would in-
spire and educate all those cynical
rascals in Washington.
Carter's drift into confusion
We should all have known better.
Once settled in the White House, ut-
terly lacking the friendships and
congressional alliances so necessary
for effective government, Carter em-
barked on a slow drift into national
confusion and enervation. His
domestic economics-when coherent
at all-have veered dismayingly to
the right, fawning at the feet of the
'g-oil conglomerates at the expense
virtually all social welfare
tion. .Pro0sa for nationl
Ah care ' id. rmant; our
orities continto to suffer; urban
light spreads like a plague. Yet the
ancid concept of benign neglect has
ow become an entrenched, if un-
tated, political gospel.
The twin ogres of inflation .and
ecession-theoretically antithetical
$o each other-continue to race
kyward, cutting a swath of financial
eprivation. A national energy policy
almost non-existent; our natural
esources have eroded relentlessly,
et we do next to nothing. Carter's
ng procession of economic gurus
ave exhibited not the slightest
bility to cure our ailments-it has
en worse than the blind leading the
While the president's foreign policy
as been interspersed with successes,
its predominant tone has been one of
nonsistent purpose. We have con-
used and progressively alienated
flies and antagonists alike with a
ind of diplomatic schizophrenia-by
4urns threatening, recoiling, then
laying tepid mediator. Our inter-
tional prestige has never sunk
ower; our ability to facilitate
sitive change in the world has been
righteningly blunted.
Rational wisdom would clearly

mandate a change-any change. Yet
these are hardly rational times
olitically: The Republican Party has
its benighted wisdom bequeathed
4s Ronald Reagan-an affable,
]rosaic man equipped neither in
Th e m.
NDER THE circumstances, it
might seem strange that the
aily Editorial Board would want to
4ettlefor either of the two major par-
contenders. Carter's first term has
ideedcost him most of our respect,

Il .,

philosophy nor aptitude to handle the
paradoxical complexities of the Oval
Reagan a throwback
to Goldwater
He is a younger (by three years)
clone of BarrygGoldwater,another
amiable personage rightly perceived
and rejected by Americans in' 1964 as
the propagator of a politically sim-
plistic, morally brute philosophy. Six-
teen years later Reagan still warbles
the same retrograde songs, yet the
nation has lately lurched radically
rightward and cloaked him in respec-
Reagan has yet to project the
slightest evidence that he would be
capable of mastering the office he has
fervently sought for over a decade.
He dutifully parrots the conservative
catechism with all the showbiz
charisma he can muster, yet his sub-
stantive reasoning fails him un-
ceasingly-whether he is attempting
to define parity or to determine the
name of the president of France. He
is a lightweight running for a
heavyweight job, a well-meaning sof-
tie who would almost certainly be
dominated by the kingmakers around

him-bright, crafty, far-right
ideologues who would mold and twist
America into conformity with their
own malevolent doctrines.
As generally abysmal as Jimmy
Carter's record has been, it is im-
measurably preferable to the patter-
ns of change Reagan and his cohorts
would impose upon us. The president
has resolutely supported labor on
most issues, while Reagan, for all his
puffery about heading his actors'
union, remains a relentless labor foe
on virtually all counts. Carter suppor-
ts aid to higher education; Reagan
would like to see most of it abolished.
Carter supports (albeit mutedly) the
Equal Rights Amendment; Reagan
vehemently opposes it.
Carter has been largely sensitive to
environmental and job safety concer-
ns; Reagan would prefer to see the
Environmental Protection Agency
and the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration disem-
boweled. Carter hammered through
the windfall profits tax; Reagan would
turn the oil conglomerates loose with
no constraints whatever on profit.
Carterhas strongly backed the Con-
sumer Protection Agency; Reagan

would let the buyer beware. Carter.
supports existing gun control laws;
Reagan and the Republican platform
woul abolish them across the board.
The Supreme Court
Most important, a Reagan presi-
dency would debut at the precise
moment several Supreme Court
justices hover on the brink of
retirement. The bitter legacy of
Richard Nixon's appointments to the
Court haunts us to this day, as
William Rehnquist and Co. continue
to wreak havoc upon civil and
criminal rights-often by 5-4
Jimmy Carter has yet to appoint a
justice during his tenure; yet his con-
tinued sensitivity in selecting women
and minorities to federal judgeships
is clear evidence that his future High
Court appointments would be far
preferable to those of Reagan, who
has publicly vowed to appoint legal
minds unswervingly in the Rehnquist
mold-minds that would negatively
shape our destinies into the next cen-
Yet any speculation on the future
pales before the gut immediacy of the


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present international situation. The
world is moving headlong into. a
perilous decade likely to be fraught
with famiine in food and energy alike,W
nuclear proliferation, and political
and religious fanaticism that
threaten to plunge the planet into
The march to war
However drab and contradictory
Jimmy Carter's foreign policy has
been, at the very least it has bee
tempered by a sober restraint that
Ronald Reagan shows no signs 4
emulating. The president's
achievements in relations with China
and the Israeli-Egyptian accord have
been genuinely exhilarating.
Although SALT II progress has groun
to a halt, Carter has reiterated his uv-,
swerving commitment to the treaty.
In contrast, Reagan would sumn-
marily scrap SALT II, then proceed
in the fantasy that the Soviets would
be willing to negotiate.a totally new
weapons agreement. He insults the
Chinese by clinging to the noble-
Taiwan rhetoric of the '50s Right. He
debunks Carter's Mideast record,
lauds the sovereignty of Israel, yet
presents no specific peacekeeping plan
for the area whatsoever.
While the president's handling of
the twin crises in Iran and
Afghanistan has been woefully incon-
sistent, there is no evidence those
policies have moved us significantly
closer to world war. Reagan, by con-
trast, is an inveterate saber-rattler, a
member of the bellicose, two-fisted
school of diplomacy inclined to wade
into the most sensitive foreign im-
broglios with six-guns out, if not
blazing. Carter's Panama Canal
Treaty involved the most delicate,
patience-laden negotiations; it is dif- i
ficult to conceive of Reagan main-
taining a similar diplomatic cool- n-
deed, his manifest-destiny orthodo
would preclude even the cor
sideration of such a treaty.
While Carter's draft registratioi
plan carries sinister rumblings 0J
military resurrection, it is minot
compared to Reagan's jabbering$
about nuclear "superiority," abyi
the "noble cause" of Vietnam, an
about blockading Cuba in retaliation
for the Afghanistan invasion. Th
governor's admonitions embody
stone-age America-right-or-wrong
credo terrifyingly out of touch with 4
world community hellbent on ir;
dependence from superpowe
We have no cause to rejoice ovei
the choice facing us on Tuesday.
The two major candidates personify
desolate testimony to the contem-
porary political evolution that deter
mined these men were the best out
nation had to offer. This election isO
not a choice between good and evil-it
is a choice between mediocrity and
disaster. The prospect of another fout
years of Jimmy Carter fills us with
long-range trepidation; the prospe(
of Ronald Reagan's finger anywhere
near the nuclear button fills us with
immediate, unmitigated horror.'
Considering the melancholy ciri

cumstances, a vote for President Car-
ter may prove-literally-a vote for
ie rest?

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Why not th

ficacy and wisdom of any protest
vote. 1980, quite simply, is the wrong
It is clear that many Americans
remain strongly tempted to vote for
John Anderson, Ed Clark, or Barry

fered the only evidence (since the
party conventions, at any rate) that
the Democratic and Republican par-
ties are not ethically bankrupt. An-
derson stands opposed to Reagan's ex-
tremist views on the Equal Rights

very much a Republican.
Libertarian Ed Clark also offers
some attractive proposals, though we
think his overall philosophy unsound.
He and his ideological kinsmen quite
simply want to get government out of

munists, there is only Barry Com-
moner of the Citizens Party left on tlie
Michigan ballot. He supports slashink
the national defense budget and the
profits of big business and trar-
sferring those moneys to sociql
nrncoramQ andi government lobs. h

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