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October 07, 1983 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-10-07

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I

OPINION

Page 4

Friday, October 7, 1983

The Michigan Daily

- I - -----......

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Liberals cheer for

James Watt

Vol. XCIV - No. 27

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

Russian roulette

Here was the same human
being before the same court. On
Ionda because he didn't in-
3 :yoke the right words and right
4heory, the court was going to
'et him die. Then he said the
f ight words and the court gave
him life.
So said attorneys for James Autry
;after they were able to obtain a stay of
eaexecution only minutes before his
death sentence was to be carried out.
; Autry's case is a testimony to the
serious problems with capital punish-
ment.
In the waning moments before Texas
officials were to have killed Autry
yesterday morning, Supreme Court
Justice Byron White stayed the
- execution until an intimately related
case can work its way through the
system. American Civil Liberties
Union lawyer persueded White to delay
i the execution until another court
decides whether Autry has the 'right to
have his sentence compared to others
o assure that it is proportional to
punishments for simliar crimes.
6 Walesa
RESIDENT RONALD Reagan ac-
curately called it a victory for
S"moral force" over "brute force."
Pope John Paul II offered his
: congratulations. Polish Archbishop
i Josef Glemp simply said, "Good,
good."
go Certainly, the Norwegian Nobel
Committee could not have picked a
more worthy recipient for the 1983
Nobel Peace Prize than Lech Walesa.
D He earned the prize because of his con-
tributions to not only his own labor
:: movement, Slidarity, but to the
;o worldwide movement for human
5 rights. Equally important, though, is
the method Walesa chose to pursue his
°o union's goals: negotiation and
Y cooperation with a government not
,W known for such toleration.
l Walesa became the second person
from an East bloc nation to win the
peace prize - the first was Russian
w dissident Andrei Sakharov. As in
Sakharov's case, the communist press
1 shamelessly claimed the award was
;s motivated by politics.
: In Walesa's case, though, the award
ay ',
tI

The incident, however, was
dangerously close to becoming a
classic "what if" case.
What if the A.C.L.U. attorneys had
not replaced Autry's court-appointed
lawyers, who had an appeal for a stay
of execution on different grounds
denied only the day before?
What if the processing of the appeal
had taken only 25 minutes longer?
What if the related case in the court
had been further behind and had not
yet reached a hearing?
Undeniably, if anything had gone dif-
ferently than it did, Autry would be
dead. And the courts would be won-
dering if they had made an irrevocable
mistake.
The incident exposes the luck and
skill involved in death sentence ap-
peals; Autry was lucky to have skillful
lawyers. But more than that, he was
lucky the appeals procedure operated
as quickly as it did, and lucky that the
other court case came to his attorneys'

By June Taylor
WASHINGTON - When
President Reagan refused to fire
controversial Interior Secretary
James Watt last week, audible
sighs of relief rose in some offices
here. But with few exceptions,
the relieved parties weren't
Watt's onetime Republican sup-
porters.
Instead, the sighs came from
Watt's staunchest enemies -
Democrats- and environmen-
talists who consider him a major
political asset.
"AT THIS POINT, Watt is a
greater threat to the Reagan ad-
ministration than to environmen-
talists," explains Louise Dunlap
of the Washington-based En-
vironmental Policy Center. .
Said one gleeful critic in the
Democratic Party: "Every time
James Watt opens his mouth, he
registers 20,000 Democrats."
There certainly is no doubt that
Watt has been a growth industry
for environmentalists. Thanks
largely to public concern over his
policies, membership in the Sierra
Club doubled to 360,000 in the first
18 months of the Reagan ad-
ministration while Friends of the
Earth recorded a 50 percent in,
crease.
THUS, A QUIET debate ac-

tually is underway -in some en-
vironmentalist circles over
whether it is better to get Watt
out now - or to keep him right
where he is. Advocates of the lat-
ter position claim that Watt inad-
vertantly had become their best
lobbyist, attracting constant at-
tention to administration
programs which they regard as
harmful.
Counters Liz Raisbeck,
legislative director for Friends of
the Earth, "If he doesn't get fired
now, he'll slip away to the cam-
paign trail in a few months
without ever having been accoun-
table for his . outrageous
policies."
Nevertheless, many, environ-
mentalists feel that Watt's power
has been so badly undercut - by
a combination of outside pressure
and his own gaffs - that the bat-
tle has been won even if he stays
in office. "His credibility is
destroyed, and there has been a
bipartisan move to block his
policies," says Louise Dunlap.
"We have his wagon surroun-
ded."
LAST WEEK THE Republican-
controlled Senate rejected Watt's
coal-leasing policies - his first
major defeat in that body. It was
an issue on which he had lobbied
heavily, aided by personal phone
calls to key senators by President

Reagan.
Many political observers
believe President Reagan can not
afford to fire Watt because of the
strong support he enjoys with the
GOP right wing - not for his en-
vironmental positions
necessarily, but for his stands on
social issues. This factor has
helped make him the largest
Republican fund-raiser after
Ronald Reagan and George
Bush.
But some Republicans fear that
the Interior secretary is capable
of arousing such intense
animosity among those who
disagree with him, that he also is
responsible for a tidal wave of
funds and voters to the other side.
After Watt's most recent flap -
set off by his description of the
federal Coal Commission's
makeup as "a black, a woman,
two Jews and a cripple" - power -
ful GOP members of Congress,
including Senators Howard
Baker and Robert Dole, led the
campaign for his ouster.
AS THAT CONTROVERSY
suggests, Watt's negative impact
extends far afield of the en-
vironment. But Ann Lewis,
political director for the
Democratic National Committee,
notes that environmentalism
remains the chief focus of his
damage to the administration.

Almost singlehandedly, Watt has
turned the environment into a
partisan issue, Lewis contends.
Polls, she says, indicate that even
Republicans believe the
Democrats would implement bet-
ter policies on the environment.
Lewis believes that Watt's
"abusive attitude towards
natural resources" and his
"human insensitivities" create :a
political handicap for
Republicans in registering young
voters, women, and minorities.
All of these groups give strong
weight to environmental concer-
ns in polling data and are likely to
play an important role in next
year's election.
If her suspicions are correct,
the Democrats have every reason
to want James Watt in office
when the 1984 campaign begins
in earnest, keeping Reaganism
and "Wattism" connected in the
voters' minds. Says Environmen-
tal Policy Center's Dunlap, "this
administration is so dangerous
and so abusive we want them out'
- not because they are
Republicans but because of their
environmental policies."
Taylor wrote this article for
the Pacific News Service.

I

Wasserman

attention.
There is too much chance in
system where mistakes
irrevocable.

this
are

a//K
[7l;

A
w.
t1 h)

's

prize

I

could not have come at a better time.
The Polish authorities were in the mid-
st of a smear campaign aimed at
discrediting Solidarity's leader and the
man who is the symbol of the push for a
better way of life for Poland.
Poland's people have not been
swayed by the ugly campaign. When
news of the prize was announced
people in train stations, restaurants,
and the streets stopped to cheer their
hero.
Unfortunately, it is uncertain
whether the Polish government will
allow Walesa to accept his award in
person and then return to his home. As
in Sakharov's case, Walesa might have
to send his wife to Norway to speak to
the world for him.
That illustrates the differences bet-
ween this side of the iron curtain and
the side on which Walesa lives as much
as anything. But even if Lech Walesa is
not allowed to accept his Nobel prize in
person, the spirit of Poland's proud
people will understand the significance
of this award.

WNLTE4
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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Letter misdirected on Hart criticism.

4

To the Daily:
If I understand Karl
Edelmann's letter ("Hart
misdirected on Central
America," Daily, September 21)
on Central America, the nations
consist of "...self-sufficient
people..." yet poverty is their
number one problem. Ad-
ditonally we can help them if the

military stays in power but "...we
won't be able to help them
anymore" if rebels ascend to
power. I trust Mr. Edelmann is
not a logic major.
Most of Centra America is very
poor with the resources concen-
trated in a few upper class and
the military. That is why there is
a long history of revolution in

thought and action throughout
the region.
Secondly, contrary to popular
misconception, most of the leftist
leaders start out as socialists,
with Marxists dominating only
after repeated oppression by the
United States. If we were to
financially back popular leftist
groups from the outset they
would depend on us and we
wouldn't have to worry about
Marxist--"Soviet domination.
Furthermore we do have to
worry about world opinion. Sup-
porting the Contras trying to
overthrow a legitimate gover-
nment in Nicaragua and suppor-

ting right wing dictatorsips
without requiring human rights
improvement as in El Salvador
brings much negative opinion.-
We have to tie aid to human
rights everywhere, because
without human rights the aid
cannot help the people for which
it is intended. We have to stop
supporting every right wing
group because we mistakenly 4
believe all leftist groups are
Soviet dominated communists.
The candidate supporting these
positions should receive our
votes.
- Robert Murden
Brooklyn, New York
October 6

Who's team is that?

To the Daily:
I was pleased to find out that
the Daily provided coverage of
the women's rugby club this past
Saturday ("Ruggers bask in
variety, wins," Daily October 4).
I was also pleased to discover
that we would be included in an
article about the men's and
women's rugby clubs.
So, when I opened to the back
page of Tuesday's Daily, I was
expecting, not too much, just a
little promotion. Never mind that
the women received a single
paragraph in the entire article -
I was ready to look over that
minor detail because what
caught my eye was a large
nhotnuranh of nn nf the women

Michigan colors are maize and
blue - not red and grey! You
may say in defense that the pic-
ture is black and white, and well,
it was an honest mistake. I know,
but really, even the design of the
shirts are different. Ah well,
perhaps if it were not an OSU
player - but it seems the final in-
sult. Next time feel free to ask if
you are at all unsure of picture
identification.Wewill be glad to
help. In the meantime, thanks for
trying kids.
- Julie Silverstein
Silverstein is the president of
the Michigan Woman's Rugby
Football Club.
UT _rU5 I-I T t TWUr

Unsigned editorials appearing on the left side
of this page represent a majority opinion of the
Daily's Editorial Board. Letters and columns
represent the opinions of the individual author(s)
and do not necessarily reflect the attitudes or
beliefs of the Daily.

4

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